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UChicago Medicine opens state-of-the-art Family Birth Center in Hyde Park

Midwives, individualized birthing options cornerstone of new facility inside Comer Children's Hospital

September 19, 2016

The University of Chicago Medicine is opening its new 25,000-square foot Family Birth Center inside Comer Children's Hospital, bringing a more customizable birth experience to women on the South Side and south suburbs. The new state-of-the-art facility, replaces the hospital's labor and delivery unit inside Mitchell Hospital, beginning Sept. 19.

"We've always prided ourselves on providing high-risk, specialized obstetric care," said Ken Nunes, MD, Director of Labor & Delivery in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. "But we also knew we could do, and needed to do, more to serve the entirety of our community. The Family Birth Center makes sure all women -- not just those with complicated pregnancies -- are able to give birth the way they want to, in an elegant, comfortable, intimate setting supported by the region's best obstetric and pediatric experts. The obstetrics team at University of Chicago Medicine is committed to providing the best possible care for all pregnant women in the Chicagoland area."

The Family Birth Center includes nine private delivery suites that were designed specifically so women could give birth in a nurturing, pleasant and supportive environment with their family present. Expectant mothers can choose from customizable traditional and natural childbirth options, which include built-in warm water immersion tubs, special equipment designed to encourage movement during labor, drug-free pain management and hormone-free induction options. After birth, new mothers recover in private suites in the new Family Birth Center's Mother and Baby Unit, which opened in February. The unit provides a state-of-the-art setting for mothers to heal while bonding with and nurturing their newborns.

"The midwives at University of Chicago Medicine want women to know, though we have remarkable experts in complex pregnancies, we can also support women with their well healthy pregnancy and birth," said Erin Irwin, MSN, APN, CNM, a certified nurse midwife and director of midwifery services. "We are excited to have a beautiful new unit, with a group of experienced midwives, ready to help women feel strong and capable of having the birth they want."

The Family Birth Center is staffed by a well-rounded team of highly skilled obstetricians, midwives, obstetric nurses, obstetric anesthesiologists and lactation specialists. The academic medical center's care team also includes high-risk pregnancy experts and has all specialties available to support a new mother and her child. Meanwhile, its location inside Comer Children's mean babies will have immediate access to specially trained neonatologists in the Margaret M. and George A. Stephen Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

The first labor and delivery unit affiliated with the University of Chicago opened in 1895 and was the city's first outpatient clinic to provide maternity care for underprivileged women. Over the years, it grew to become a model for maternity hospitals around the country. Since a dedicated maternity hospital -- Chicago Lying-In -- opened on the UChicago campus in 1931, tens of thousands of children have been born on the medical campus. More than 2,100 babies were born at UChicago Medicine over the last twelve months.

The University of Chicago Medicine
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Ashley Heher
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