Birth can be a beautiful experience, made all the more comfortable in the care of a midwife. At PCC Community Wellness Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) with clinics throughout Chicago’s West Side and near west suburbs, families can choose to work with a midwife for safe, patient-centered care for birth and all reproductive health services.
“Being part of an FQHC means our mission is to provide equitable birth services to pregnant patients, regardless of their insurance status,” explains Annette Payot, Certified-Nurse Midwife and Director of Midwifery at PCC Community Wellness Center. “Whether you have Medicaid, commercial insurance, or no insurance, we are happy to see you and that’s what we are here for.”
PCC’s Midwives provide care in six of PCC’s locations and deliver babies at the Birth Center at PCC in Berwyn, and at West Suburban Medical Center on the border of Chicago and Oak Park.
In partnership with your PCC Midwife
Pregnant patients who work with PCC’s Midwives have many options for their birth experience — and their care begins with a conversation about their goals, Payot says.
“We follow basic standards of care for perinatal health care, but you should expect a visit that is a little longer and more focused on wellness and what you can do to improve your experience,” she says. “We focus a lot on nutrition and general wellness and we want to learn your hopes and dreams for your birth experience.”
Some pregnant patients seek a midwife for their tradition of low-intervention birth practices, but Payot says PCC’s Midwives want to meet patients where they are with regard to pain relief. Individuals on both ends of the spectrum — those who express the desire for an epidural the moment they arrive and those who say they want no pain relief at all — are encouraged to explore their options with their midwife and recognize the individual nature of birth experiences.
“Open-mindedness from the midwife and the client is super important,” Payot says, adding that at the Alternative Birthing Center rooms at West Suburban Medical Center, patients can elect to have pain medications during birth, including an epidural and nitrous oxide. They can choose a water birth experience at either West Suburban Medical Center or the freestanding Birth Center at PCC.
“To me, the best chance you have for meeting your birth experience goal is to be in an environment that will support that,” Payot says. “Where you have your baby is so important.”
And if a patient begins labor at the freestanding Birth Center at PCC but requires medical backup, “they are transferred into the arms of our hospital midwifery service, which is a nice holistic model,” Payot says. “We support patients who want a super low-intervention experience all the way up to those who are more high-risk, which we co-manage with physician colleagues.”
Payot shares that while there is a distinct private midwifery group that delivers at West Suburban Medical Center, the group is entirely separate from PCC’s Midwives. “Yet it shows that if a hospital has two separate midwife services, the culture of a low Cesarean section rate is strong. People come far and wide to deliver there,” she says.
First time or fifth, PCC’s Midwives can support you
Some patients elect to work with a midwife after a difficult previous birth and want to partner with a provider to reclaim the experience.
“Many people come to us after traumatic birth experiences. Or some come to us late in pregnancy when they have taken a birthing class and realized after they bring what they have learned to their provider in the hope they will match their birth plan, only to find out from their provider that it’s a nonstarter,” Payot explains. “You don’t want to be 8 centimeters dilated and fighting for the birth experience you want. Midwives are trained to be a partner in your care.”
Even if you don’t know whether you are a good candidate, talk to the midwives at PCC Community Wellness Center to learn more about your options. “At our hospital, we encourage a vaginal birth after a previous Cesarean (VBAC) and even a water birth after a past Cesarean, even two past Cesarean births,” Payot says. “It’s always worth talking with our midwives, even if you are looking for a co-management model with an OB or a family practice physician for higher-risk clients.”
The PCC Community Wellness Center difference
As part of an FQHC, PCC’s Midwives are accessible to all, “regardless of insurance status, where you live, or if you can afford a delivery when you seek care with us,” Payot says. “We take pride in that and all of our midwives working with us have that same worldview. We were the first freestanding birth center in Illinois and the only one that offers birth center care to Medicaid patients.”
Those who have worked with PCC’s Midwives say they feel empowered and supported, some even go on to become doulas and provide loving support to other pregnant people.
“The experience can be life changing, and for our clients to be able to start parenthood that way is so positive,” Payot says.
Because it embraces the family medical model, PCC can provide care for the entire family. “We have patients who deliver with us and stay at PCC for well-child checks and for overall health care. We have dental and behavioral health, really one-stop shopping for our clients in a lovely patient-centered home,” Payot says.
“We are as open-access as you can get. We are here to serve you and we would love to serve you.”