A clinic in the Chicago suburb of Berwyn may get the first permit to operate a birth center in Illinois.
A state board is set to consider Feb. 5 whether to grant the permit to the PCC South Family Health Center.
Birth centers operate in 37 other states. Illinois once prohibited them, leaving women to choose between giving birth at home or in a hospital. It took two decades of lobbying by midwives before a 2007 law authorized a pilot program.
Birth centers can look like homes or clinics from the outside. Inside, women can get prenatal care and deliver their babies in a homelike setting.
Cecelia Bacom has led the planning for the Berwyn center. She says only women with low-risk pregnancies will give birth at the center.
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