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updated: 2/5/2013 5:23 PM

Health services board OKs state's 1st birth center

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Associated Press

The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board has approved Illinois' first free-standing birth center.

Board administrator Courtney Avery 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. They operate in 37 states and let women give birth 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.

Certified Nurse Midwife Cecelia Bacom says the facility could be open by December.

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