After four long years, it looks like the women of Illinois will finally have the choice to give birth outside of a hospital.
Even before I had my daughter (eight years ago on August 1st!), I wondered why women had to go to hospitals to have babies. Yes, I then learned that some women had home births, but that idea never set well with me. What got my goat was the idea that going to a hospital felt like it signaled something was wrong.
The sense that birthing a child could go wrong may account for the rising Cesarean rates in Illinois. When I had my daughter, I was minutes from having one myself since she just wasn’t moving at the pact my midwives wanted. Luckily she stopped being so stubborn and there was no need for surgery.
The news that Illinois is one big step closer to opening free-standing birthing centers is much welcomed.
Birthing babies isn’t the only thing these centers will handle either. They will be able to handle prenatal care, labor & delivery, immediate postpartum & newborn care, family planning, and health education programs.
In summary, birthing centers will treat pregnancy as the natural process it is. They won’t see pregnancy as a medical problem in need of solving. By starting off with the idea that women will have a low-complications pregnancy, this may be another reason why their Cesarean rates are half that of hospitals. Birthing centers should make access to medical care easier for low-income women in Chicago and rural Illinois. They should also be more affordable as medical bills from centers are generally lower.
If Illinois had birthing centers when I was pregnant, I am certain I would have used one. I was quite jealous of friends in other states who used one. So I ask you, Chicagonistas…Would you use a birthing center? Are you excited to have a new option available?
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