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State

Health services board OKs state's first birth center

BOLINGBROOK (AP) — A state health services board has approved Illinois' first freestanding birth center.

Courtney Avery is administrator of the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board. She says members voted 7-0 Tuesday to approve a certificate of need for the PCC South Family Health Center in Berwyn.

Supporters have long pushed for birth centers in Illinois. The facilities operate already in 37 states and let women give birth in a homelike setting under the care of trained midwives, rather than in a hospital or at home.

Birth centers try to avoid medical interventions like drugs and cesarean sections, and offer alternatives like water births.

PCC South Family Health will take only women with low-risk pregnancies. Nearby West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park has agreed to take transfers if complications arise.

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