Water birth - It’s pretty awesome. Whether you’re pregnant or not, almost everyone loves that “ahhhh” feeling of sinking into a nice warm bath. Be it to relieve mental stress from a long day, to ease aches and pains from a sore body or to just slip away into a nice meditative state. So it’s no wonder that most laboring women find that hydrotherapy, aka soaking in a nice deep tub, helps relieve the pain of their labor and helps them mentally let go.
In the last year, the safety of water delivery was brought into question, but thankful it has proved safe and continues to be provided as a great pain relief and relaxation tool to laboring moms. Living in the Chicago metropolitan area, we are lucky enough at Windy City Doulas to attend water births at multiple birthing facilities. Here’s a break down of your Chicagoland options:
Out of Hospital Birthing
Delivering your baby at home or at a birth center has the highest guarantee of having a water delivery. If you have been cleared healthy enough for an out of hospital delivery, you are almost always healthy enough for a waterbirth.
Home birth- Home birth is alive and well in the Windy City. In Chicago and the nearby burbs, Gentle Birth Care and Sarah Simmons offer water birth in rental portable birthing tubs. These soft sided tubs are very large and offer enough space for partners to join if they want.
Birth Centers- That’s right: Birth centers are not only legal in Illinois, but they are up and running. I describe birth centers as having your baby at a bed and breakfast. You get the lovely non-hospital experience, but it’s not in your home. There is the brand new PCC Birth Center in Berwyn, operated by PCC Midwives.
As with any hospital birthing option, water birth regulations are different from practice to practice and hospital to hospital. Common barriers to water birth, include BMI, tub availability, previous c-sections and monitoring capabilities. It is important to discuss qualifying factors for water delivery with your specific provider.
Prentice Women’s Hospital-In downtown, Prentice has a handful of rooms that are capable of supporting labor tubs. The NMG midwives allow water birth if you meet the practice conditions and a tub room is available.
St. Mary’s- A Presence facility located in Bucktown, St. Mary’s has recently started offering water birth. The Aviva midwives have a portable tub that they can bring in for water births.
West Suburban-West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park has two rooms designed specifically for water birth. The tubs are nice and deep, and once baby is born you can be moved to a cozy queen sized bed to recover. These two rooms are used by the West Suburban Midwife Associates and the PCC Midwives mentioned above.
Elmhurst Hospital-The Midwives at Elmhurst have two lovely rooms with big jetted tubs designed to allow water birth. These tubs are roomy enough to allow all birthing positions and are great for taller women.
Little Company of Mary-LCOM, in Evergreen Park, is the first hospital on Chicago’s south side to offer water birth. Midwife Mary Kay Burke piloted this option a few years ago by getting a portable birthing tub for the labor unit.
Hinsdale Hospital-Hinsdale recently did a beautiful renovation of their labor and delivery unit. As part of this change, they added multiple large birthing tubs which are used by OMG mentioned above and West Suburban Women’s Health.
Rush Copley- Located in Aurora, the midwives operating out of this hospital have been offering water birth for years. It’s a great option for those living on the west and south outskirts of Chicagoland-check out their new birthing room.
In addition to offering actual water birth, there are a handful of hospitals who offer labor tubs, but not the option to deliver in them.
Swedish Covenant-Located on Chicago Northwest side, Swedish has labor tubs, with jets, located in every one of there labor rooms.
Evanston NorthShore-Evanston Hospital has one very large tub, great for relaxation in the stages of labor before pushing and is widely used by midwife and OB patients alike.
Alexian Brothers-Located in Elk Grove Village, Alexian Brothers also has a tub room on their labor floor.
UIC-Located in Chicago’s medical district, UIC offers a handful of large tubs on their labor and delivery unit, which can be used by most patients for laboring.
U of C- Big news, University of Chicago has placed labor tubs in their new labor and delivery unit opening soon!
Samantha Trebilcock BSN RN