[2022] COVID-19 UPDATE: Should I switch to an out-of-hospital birth? Do home birth providers and birth centers still have availability?

new family with newborn

 

Are you (re)considering giving birth at home or in a birth center? Here’s what you need to know about out-of-hospital birth options in the Chicago area.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Chicago-area home birth providers and all four of our local midwife-led birth centers have seen a surge in interest from pregnant women who are concerned about COVID-19. You may be thinking about switching providers because your hospital is not allowing you to bring both your partner and your doula. Or you may be concerned about going into the hospital because of fears of being exposed to the coronavirus. 

Of course, no one knows how long care will be impacted by the Omicron surge. If you’re in your first or second trimester, the situation will likely be normalizing by the time you’re due. If you’re in your third trimester, transferring care now will obviously be a challenge emotionally and your options will be more limited. But even if you’re due very soon, you may still have alternatives.

Whether you’re considering switching to out-of-hospital care or just starting to think about where to have your baby, here’s what you need to know.

Learn more about out-of-hospital birth

Out-of-hospital birth is a good fit for some women but it’s definitely not right for everyone: it requires that you take greater responsibility for your care and your decisions, so it’s very important that you educate yourself. There’s already lots of information about home birth and birth centers on BirthGuide. You can take the “where should I have my baby?” questionnaire to see if home birth or a birth center might right for you. You can also hear birth stories, learn more about the pros and cons of each setting, compare home birth and birth centers to hospital birth, and find home birth midwives and birth centers.

What a home birth midwife wants you to know

Here’s some advice from Sarah Simmons of New Life Midwifery Services, who is one of Chicago’s most experienced home birth midwives:

If you never considered home birth before, fear of coronavirus is not a good enough reason to switch providers.

Home birth requires a whole mindset. You have to want to be empowered to take charge of your health care, you need to be an informed  consumer. You definitely have to be planning a natural childbirth. For people who already have that mindset, maybe who were seriously considering home birth before coronavirus came along, then this could tip them over the edge to say “ah, ha, home birth!”  But if you never considered home birth before now, if you were planning an epidural, if you always thought you’d feel safer in the hospital, then you are probably not a good candidate for a home birth. For one thing, your likelihood of transferring is higher if you don’t instinctively feel safe birthing at home. There is a very complicated hormonal interplay going on during labor. Labor works best when the mother is relaxed and her hormones are functioning at their full efficiency.  If you feel anxiety, your fight or flight hormones are going to dominate and that’s going to inhibit your contractions and make you have a longer, more painful labor. Most women choose hospital birth in this culture, and that’s often because they feel safer having the technology of the hospital right there. If you’re in that category, you’re not going to feel safe at home and your labor may be harder and longer than it needs to be. You may even end up transferring to the hospital in labor, and that’s even less ideal because you’re coming in under more urgent circumstances and the transfer is very disruptive.

Consider the option of sticking with your current providers but leaving the hospital as soon as possible after your baby is born.

If you end up deciding that home birth isn’t for you, or if you can’t find a practice that has availability, then seriously consider demanding early discharge. Get out of the hospital as soon as you can, maybe within 4 to 6 hours after birth. Some of the home birth midwives are offering postpartum nursing care even for families who have hospital births. It’s a good middle ground.  The postpartum nurse or midwife can draw the baby’s newborn screening test and evaluate for jaundice and/or feeding difficulties.  She can also assess the mother for postpartum complications. You can limit your exposure in the hospital quite a bit that way.

Out of hospital birth availability [by due date month]

Updated 1/18/2022 Below is a running list of out-of-hospital options organized by the month of your due date. Be aware that you may or may not qualify for out-of-hospital birth, even where a practice has availability. You need to check with each practice to confirm that you are a good candidate for the care they offer.

Due in Feb?

CATCHING JOY MIDWIFERY

Serves Rockford to Quadcities, Peoria to Joliet.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (815) 221-4023

CHICAGO NURSE MIDWIFE

Not accepting patients for February

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 762-3322

CHILDBIRTH THE WAY NATURE INTENDED | DEBBIE BOUCHER CNM [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Not accepting patients for February

Email: Use website contact us form

Phone: (847) 223-8400

GENTLE BIRTH CARE [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 386-4292

MIDWIVES CARE LLC [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (815) 269-4344

MY MINDFUL BIRTH [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Not accepting patients for February

Email: [email protected]

NEW LIFE MIDWIFERY SERVICES | SARAH SIMMONS CNM [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Not accepting patients for February

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (773) 573-9100

BIRTH CENTER OF CHICAGO [FREESTANDING MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (773) 232-2299

BURR RIDGE BIRTH CENTER [FREENSTANDING MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 630-793-2676

THE BIRTH CENTER AT PCC [FREESTANDING MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 386-0845

Additional options to consider: 

West Suburban Midwife Associates attend births in the WEST SUBURBAN HOSPITAL ALTERNATIVE BIRTHING CENTER [IN-HOSPITAL MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]. This midwife practice offers care in a separate locked unit in the hospital where only low-risk women give birth. As of now, you can bring both your partner and your doula. Water birth and nitrous oxide are also both still being offered.

Email: [email protected] – Please provide as much information as possible.

Phone: (708) 848-3800 (preferred). Please say you are requesting possible transfer of care. A CNM will speak with you and gather information. Transfer of care decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

Note that The PCC Midwives, who attend births at The Birth Center at PCC (see above), can also care for you in the WEST SUBURBAN HOSPITAL ALTERNATIVE BIRTHING CENTER [IN-HOSPITAL MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER].

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 386-0845

Due in March?

CATCHING JOY MIDWIFERY

Serves Rockford to Quadcities, Peoria to Joliet.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (815) 221-4023

CHICAGO NURSE MIDWIFE

Not accepting patients for March

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 762-3322

CHILDBIRTH THE WAY NATURE INTENDED | DEBBIE BOUCHER CNM [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Email: Use website contact us form

Phone: (847) 223-8400

GENTLE BIRTH CARE [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 386-4292

MIDWIVES CARE LLC [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (815) 269-4344

MY MINDFUL BIRTH [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Not accepting patients for March

Email: [email protected]

NEW LIFE MIDWIFERY SERVICES | SARAH SIMMONS CNM [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (773) 573-9100

BIRTH CENTER OF CHICAGO [FREESTANDING MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (773) 232-2299

BURR RIDGE BIRTH CENTER [FREENSTANDING MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 630-793-2676

THE BIRTH CENTER AT PCC [FREESTANDING MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 386-0845

Additional options to consider: 

West Suburban Midwife Associates attend births in the WEST SUBURBAN HOSPITAL ALTERNATIVE BIRTHING CENTER [IN-HOSPITAL MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]. This midwife practice offers care in a separate locked unit in the hospital where only low-risk women give birth. As of now, you can bring both your partner and your doula. Water birth and nitrous oxide are also both still being offered.

Email: [email protected] – Please provide as much information as possible.

Phone: (708) 848-3800 (preferred). Please say you are requesting possible transfer of care. A CNM will speak with you and gather information. Transfer of care decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

Note that The PCC Midwives, who attend births at The Birth Center at PCC (see above), can also care for you in the WEST SUBURBAN HOSPITAL ALTERNATIVE BIRTHING CENTER [IN-HOSPITAL MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER].

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 386-0845

Due in April?

CATCHING JOY MIDWIFERY

Serves Rockford to Quadcities, Peoria to Joliet.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (815) 221-4023

CHICAGO NURSE MIDWIFE

Almost full for April.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 762-3322

CHILDBIRTH THE WAY NATURE INTENDED | DEBBIE BOUCHER CNM [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Email: Use website contact us form

Phone: (847) 223-8400

GENTLE BIRTH CARE [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Almost full for April.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 386-4292

MIDWIVES CARE LLC [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (815) 269-4344

MY MINDFUL BIRTH [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Not accepting patients for April

Email: [email protected]

NEW LIFE MIDWIFERY SERVICES | SARAH SIMMONS CNM [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (773) 573-9100

BIRTH CENTER OF CHICAGO [FREESTANDING MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (773) 232-2299

BURR RIDGE BIRTH CENTER [FREENSTANDING MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 630-793-2676

THE BIRTH CENTER AT PCC [FREESTANDING MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 386-0845

Additional options to consider: 

West Suburban Midwife Associates attend births in the WEST SUBURBAN HOSPITAL ALTERNATIVE BIRTHING CENTER [IN-HOSPITAL MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]. This midwife practice offers care in a separate locked unit in the hospital where only low-risk women give birth. As of now, you can bring both your partner and your doula. Water birth and nitrous oxide are also both still being offered.

Email: [email protected] – Please provide as much information as possible.

Phone: (708) 848-3800 (preferred). Please say you are requesting possible transfer of care. A CNM will speak with you and gather information. Transfer of care decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

Note that The PCC Midwives, who attend births at The Birth Center at PCC (see above), can also care for you in the WEST SUBURBAN HOSPITAL ALTERNATIVE BIRTHING CENTER [IN-HOSPITAL MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER].

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 386-0845

Due in May?

CATCHING JOY MIDWIFERY

Serves Rockford to Quadcities, Peoria to Joliet.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (815) 221-4023

CHICAGO NURSE MIDWIFE

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 762-3322

CHILDBIRTH THE WAY NATURE INTENDED | DEBBIE BOUCHER CNM [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Email: Use website contact us form

Phone: (847) 223-8400

GENTLE BIRTH CARE [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Almost full for May.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 386-4292

MIDWIVES CARE LLC [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (815) 269-4344

MY MINDFUL BIRTH [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Not accepting patients for May

Email: [email protected]

NEW LIFE MIDWIFERY SERVICES | SARAH SIMMONS CNM [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (773) 573-9100

BIRTH CENTER OF CHICAGO [FREESTANDING MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (773) 232-2299

BURR RIDGE BIRTH CENTER [FREENSTANDING MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]

Almost full for May.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 630-793-2676

THE BIRTH CENTER AT PCC [FREESTANDING MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 386-0845

Additional options to consider: 

West Suburban Midwife Associates attend births in the WEST SUBURBAN HOSPITAL ALTERNATIVE BIRTHING CENTER [IN-HOSPITAL MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]. This midwife practice offers care in a separate locked unit in the hospital where only low-risk women give birth. As of now, you can bring both your partner and your doula. Water birth and nitrous oxide are also both still being offered.

Email: [email protected] – Please provide as much information as possible.

Phone: (708) 848-3800 (preferred). Please say you are requesting possible transfer of care. A CNM will speak with you and gather information. Transfer of care decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

Note that The PCC Midwives, who attend births at The Birth Center at PCC (see above), can also care for you in the WEST SUBURBAN HOSPITAL ALTERNATIVE BIRTHING CENTER [IN-HOSPITAL MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER].

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 386-0845

To see other hospitals where your partner and your doula are both still allowed to be with you in labor, look for the hospitals with an asterisk in this list.

Due in June?

CATCHING JOY MIDWIFERY

Serves Rockford to Quadcities, Peoria to Joliet.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (815) 221-4023

CHICAGO NURSE MIDWIFE

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 762-3322

CHILDBIRTH THE WAY NATURE INTENDED | DEBBIE BOUCHER CNM [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Email: Use website contact us form

Phone: (847) 223-8400

GENTLE BIRTH CARE [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Email: [email protected]re.com

Phone: (708) 386-4292

MIDWIVES CARE LLC [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (815) 269-4344

MY MINDFUL BIRTH [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Not accepting patients for June

Email: [email protected]

NEW LIFE MIDWIFERY SERVICES | SARAH SIMMONS CNM [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (773) 573-9100

BIRTH CENTER OF CHICAGO [FREESTANDING MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (773) 232-2299

BURR RIDGE BIRTH CENTER [FREENSTANDING MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 630-793-2676

THE BIRTH CENTER AT PCC [FREESTANDING MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 386-0845

Additional options to consider: 

West Suburban Midwife Associates attend births in the WEST SUBURBAN HOSPITAL ALTERNATIVE BIRTHING CENTER [IN-HOSPITAL MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]. This midwife practice offers care in a separate locked unit in the hospital where only low-risk women give birth. As of now, you can bring both your partner and your doula. Water birth and nitrous oxide are also both still being offered.

Email: [email protected] – Please provide as much information as possible.

Phone: (708) 848-3800 (preferred). Please say you are requesting possible transfer of care. A CNM will speak with you and gather information. Transfer of care decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

Note that The PCC Midwives, who attend births at The Birth Center at PCC (see above), can also care for you in the WEST SUBURBAN HOSPITAL ALTERNATIVE BIRTHING CENTER [IN-HOSPITAL MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER].

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 386-0845

To see other hospitals where your partner and your doula are both still allowed to be with you in labor, look for the hospitals with an asterisk in this list.

Due in July?

CATCHING JOY MIDWIFERY

Serves Rockford to Quadcities, Peoria to Joliet.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (815) 221-4023

CHICAGO NURSE MIDWIFE

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 762-3322

CHILDBIRTH THE WAY NATURE INTENDED | DEBBIE BOUCHER CNM [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Email: Use website contact us form

Phone: (847) 223-8400

GENTLE BIRTH CARE [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Almost full for July.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 386-4292

MIDWIVES CARE LLC [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (815) 269-4344

MY MINDFUL BIRTH [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Not accepting patients for July

Email: [email protected]

NEW LIFE MIDWIFERY SERVICES | SARAH SIMMONS CNM [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (773) 573-9100

BIRTH CENTER OF CHICAGO [FREESTANDING MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (773) 232-2299

BURR RIDGE BIRTH CENTER [FREENSTANDING MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 630-793-2676

THE BIRTH CENTER AT PCC [FREESTANDING MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 386-0845

Additional options to consider: 

West Suburban Midwife Associates attend births in the WEST SUBURBAN HOSPITAL ALTERNATIVE BIRTHING CENTER [IN-HOSPITAL MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]. This midwife practice offers care in a separate locked unit in the hospital where only low-risk women give birth. As of now, you can bring both your partner and your doula. Water birth and nitrous oxide are also both still being offered.

Email: [email protected] – Please provide as much information as possible.

Phone: (708) 848-3800 (preferred). Please say you are requesting possible transfer of care. A CNM will speak with you and gather information. Transfer of care decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

Note that The PCC Midwives, who attend births at The Birth Center at PCC (see above), can also care for you in the WEST SUBURBAN HOSPITAL ALTERNATIVE BIRTHING CENTER [IN-HOSPITAL MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER].

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 386-0845

Due in August?

CATCHING JOY MIDWIFERY

Serves Rockford to Quadcities, Peoria to Joliet.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (815) 221-4023

CHICAGO NURSE MIDWIFE

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 762-3322

CHILDBIRTH THE WAY NATURE INTENDED | DEBBIE BOUCHER CNM [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Email: Use website contact us form

Phone: (847) 223-8400

GENTLE BIRTH CARE [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 386-4292

MIDWIVES CARE LLC [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (815) 269-4344

MY MINDFUL BIRTH [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Not accepting patients for August.

Email: [email protected]

NEW LIFE MIDWIFERY SERVICES | SARAH SIMMONS CNM [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (773) 573-9100

BIRTH CENTER OF CHICAGO [FREESTANDING MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (773) 232-2299

BURR RIDGE BIRTH CENTER [FREENSTANDING MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 630-793-2676

THE BIRTH CENTER AT PCC [FREESTANDING MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 386-0845

Additional options to consider: 

West Suburban Midwife Associates attend births in the WEST SUBURBAN HOSPITAL ALTERNATIVE BIRTHING CENTER [IN-HOSPITAL MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]. This midwife practice offers care in a separate locked unit in the hospital where only low-risk women give birth. As of now, you can bring both your partner and your doula. Water birth and nitrous oxide are also both still being offered.

Email: [email protected] – Please provide as much information as possible.

Phone: (708) 848-3800 (preferred). Please say you are requesting possible transfer of care. A CNM will speak with you and gather information. Transfer of care decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

Note that The PCC Midwives, who attend births at The Birth Center at PCC (see above), can also care for you in the WEST SUBURBAN HOSPITAL ALTERNATIVE BIRTHING CENTER [IN-HOSPITAL MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER].

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 386-0845

To see other hospitals where your partner and your doula are both still allowed to be with you in labor, look for the hospitals with an asterisk in this list.

Due in September?

CATCHING JOY MIDWIFERY

Serves Rockford to Quadcities, Peoria to Joliet.

Email: [email protected]tchingjoy.net

Phone: (815) 221-4023

CHICAGO NURSE MIDWIFE

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 762-3322

CHILDBIRTH THE WAY NATURE INTENDED | DEBBIE BOUCHER CNM [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Email: Use website contact us form

Phone: (847) 223-8400

GENTLE BIRTH CARE [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 386-4292

MIDWIVES CARE LLC [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (815) 269-4344

MY MINDFUL BIRTH [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Not accepting patients for September.

Email: [email protected]

NEW LIFE MIDWIFERY SERVICES | SARAH SIMMONS CNM [HOME BIRTH PRACTICE]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (773) 573-9100

BIRTH CENTER OF CHICAGO [FREESTANDING MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (773) 232-2299

BURR RIDGE BIRTH CENTER [FREENSTANDING MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 630-793-2676

THE BIRTH CENTER AT PCC [FREESTANDING MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 386-0845

Additional options to consider: 

West Suburban Midwife Associates attend births in the WEST SUBURBAN HOSPITAL ALTERNATIVE BIRTHING CENTER [IN-HOSPITAL MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER]. This midwife practice offers care in a separate locked unit in the hospital where only low-risk women give birth. As of now, you can bring both your partner and your doula. Water birth and nitrous oxide are also both still being offered.

Email: [email protected] – Please provide as much information as possible.

Phone: (708) 848-3800 (preferred). Please say you are requesting possible transfer of care. A CNM will speak with you and gather information. Transfer of care decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

Note that The PCC Midwives, who attend births at The Birth Center at PCC (see above), can also care for you in the WEST SUBURBAN HOSPITAL ALTERNATIVE BIRTHING CENTER [IN-HOSPITAL MIDWIFE-LED BIRTH CENTER].

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (708) 386-0845

To see other hospitals where your partner and your doula are both still allowed to be with you in labor, look for the hospitals with an asterisk in this list.