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Places to Give Birth In Chicago: Birth Center of Chicago

birth center of chicago logo taken by doula during birth

There are so many places to give birth in Chicago. I'm starting off this series with one of my all time favorites! BCC is currently the only freestanding birth center in the city. The Chicago South Side Birth Center is raising funds to open their doors. Read more and support here.


Birth Centers are meant to marry a home-like, comfortable setting with medical equipment and expertise to handle most complications. If you want a home birth, but you or your partner are unsure about being outside of a medical setting, a birth center might be the right fit for you.


Birth Center of Chicago Experience

Birth Center of Chicago is on N Lincoln Ave in North Center, so there is a lot within walking distance, including a Trader Joe's. You can usually find free street parking, but there is also a paid parking lot across the street. You will come in for all of you prenatal care with the midwives, which includes 30-60 minute appoints (unlike in a medical setting, where you usually get about 5-15 minutes). They offer a range of excellent classes and doulas are both welcome and encouraged. They are LGBTQ+ inclusive and welcoming.


Sometimes in a medical setting declining something is "protocol" can be a lot of conversation and work. With the Birth Center of Chicago, they only use IVs when medically necessary, you can birth in any position you want, and they do intermittent auscultation rather than continuous fetal monitoring. You can eat and drink freely and only have cervical exams that you want. Want to wait until your baby's umbilical cord is white before cutting it? Literally, no problem. You also get 3 postpartum visits in the first 2 weeks, whereas medical standard is 1 visit at the end of 6 weeks.


I've had clients who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Instead of immediately putting them on a path to a medicalized birth, the midwives offer resources and collect more data. Every client of mine has been treated like a whole person, and one that is fully capable of making their own medical decisions.


birth center of chicago labor and birth snacks in a fridge, inclduing apple juice, gatorade, and cheese sticks

Services & Amenities

The Birth Center of Chicago has such a good vibe. Excuse me, but just look at this fully stocked fridge. No need to even pack snacks. Want some freshly baked bread or cookies as part of your postpartum meal? We can make that happen in the full kitchen. Plus, the birth suites are dreamy. Big, comfy beds, giant tubs, showers, and a whole library of birth tools are all at your disposal.


Some of the services are hard to list. Imagine this: your labor is slowing down and picking up. Your water is broken so their is some sense that timing matters and you don't want to just wait for things to pick up and end up risking out of the birth center. Your doula and midwives leave you with your partner to get cozy and have a huddle in the hallway. Everyone is on the same page so you can just relax and lean on your partner. Your doula tiptoes back in and suggests some stair walking. You take their advice and labor is roaring just an hour later. Baby is in your arms shortly after that. At your postpartum visit, your doula shares that they strategized with the midwives about how to get baby into an optimal position.


pregnant person in labor at birth center of chicago sitting with midwife doula
midwife cracking up a laboring person

Or imagine that you're in transition, the most intense part of labor, your baby's heart tones sound a bit concerning. The midwives calmly help you change positions to give the baby a break from some of the pressure. You don't realize until days later that the suggested position changes were to help baby. Later, the midwife comes in and asks if you want to talk about what happened now, or later in your first postpartum visit.


I've seen midwives handle crises, talk patients through transferring their care due to a complication, and do a family-centered newborn exam. They always come in a just sit with clients during labor to get a feel of what is going on. Their care is excellent, and they alway put the client (and safety) first.


Insurance

Birth Center of Chicago is currently in network with BlueCross BlueShield PPO and United Healthcare PPO. You can read more about fees and costs on their website, and they do offer a payment program. Note that when you take a tour and pay their $200 registration fee, that covers a "verification of benefits" which will let you know how much you will owe out of pocket, depending on your insurance plan. Medicaid currently does not cover the Birth Center of Chicago.

birth center of chicago newborn exam with footprints in the foreground and a newborn infant in the background

Next Steps

If you are interested in learning more, and it can't hurt to check out a great community resource, you will schedule a tour. You'll get to see the public spaces, including a beautiful reception area with a full kitchen and a classroom where you can take classes on everything from Childbirth to Baby Wearing (spoiler, I teach both). If you are not pregnant, but looking for a Well Care visit, you can go see the midwives! I can assure you that they give the best pelvic exams. If you have already established care with another provider in Chicago, it may be possible to transfer care.



If you want personalized care that feels good, if you want to be treated like a rational adult capable of making health decisions, if you want all your questions answered in depth, the Birth Center of Chicago might be a good fit for you. Still not sure? Feel free to reach out to them or me to talk more! If you are looking to compare multiple settings in the Chicago area, check out Birth Guide Chicago, and stay tuned for more birth location spotlights.

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