Women’s Healthcare of Illinois has launched a midwifery program in addition to its innovative pain management options of offering nitrous oxide during labor and delivery.

Building trusting relationships and lifelong connections are the driving forces behind Women’s Healthcare of Illinois, and with the recent expansion of the midwifery program, better birth outcomes and overall care have come to Chicago’s South Side and suburbs.

“I strive every day to provide evidence-based care to my patients and to help them make the best decisions that they can,” said Beth Helme-Smith, the program’s nurse midwifery service director.

With that focus on education, Helme-Smith’s team of dedicated nurse midwives has made personalized care a priority, and the results continue to speak for themselves.

Studies have shown equal or better outcomes for women and babies compared to traditional care, including 19 percent lower risk of infant death during delivery, 33 percent lower risk of infant death in the first month of life, and decreased incidence of low-birth-weight babies.

“We provide longer-than-typical visits with our midwives, and we discuss individual preferences and tailor care to fit the needs of every person who walks through our doors,” said Dr. Ken Finkelstein, founder of Women’s Healthcare of Illinois. “I want to thank Advocate South Suburban Hospital for working with us to provide the first comprehensive midwife delivery experience in the south suburbs.”

The midwives at Women’s Healthcare of Illinois are considered “full-scope” because they care for a client throughout the span of her life, offering both lifelong gynecologic and pregnancy care. And to make the experience even better, Women’s Healthcare of Illinois will be partnering with local doulas for mothers who want added support before, during and after birth of the baby.

“I love that at each birth a family is born, not just a baby,” Helme-Smith said, adding that she loves watching the transformations that birth brings to people and their relationships. “It is truly an honor for us to be invited into such a sacred experience.”

The practice is a collaborative model of care. The dedicated, highly skilled team provides routine obstetric and gynecological care to women of every age, as well as women who may have more complex needs, including post-menopausal changes that can affect a woman’s quality of life in unexpected ways.

Women’s Healthcare of Illinois features MonaLisa Touch, a painless and minimally invasive laser treatment for vaginal rejuvenation that has helped millions of women who are silently suffering and unable to undergo other treatment options.

“Our patients come first in everything we do,” Dr. Finkelstein said. “We will continue to strive to better serve our communities both in the south suburbs and Northwest Indiana.”

Nitrous oxide

for pain management

In its continued efforts to put patients first, Women’s Healthcare of Illinois is offering nitrous oxide as a pain management alternative during labor and delivery at Advocate South Suburban Hospital.

“We couldn’t be more excited about what this means for our patients,” Beth Helme Smith said. “Only a handful of hospitals in the Chicagoland area have this option, and we will be the first practice in our geographic area that offers it. This solidifies our efforts to empower women to make decisions that meet their personal needs.”

Nitrous oxide is a colorless, odorless gas used as an alternative to narcotic and epidural pain management in labor and delivery rooms across Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. Better known as the “laughing gas” used in dentists’ offices, nitrous oxide can be used safely during all stages of labor and after birth without harming mom or the baby.

Also, unlike its use during dental procedures, nitrous oxide is self-administered under a physician’s supervision and can be easily discontinued. This empowers the patient to control the amount of medication used and decide if she wants to try a different method of pain relief.

“We have always been passionate about creating a supportive environment for our patients, and offering nitrous oxide during childbirth gives women a safe alternative to the traditional epidural,” Helme Smith said. “Our experienced Women’s Healthcare staff establishes a foundation of open communication with our patients throughout pregnancy, and this will enable us to offer even more ways for women to feel comfortable.”

The addition of nitrous oxide pain management is part of a comprehensive midwifery program offered by Women’s Healthcare of Illinois in collaboration with Advocate South Suburban Hospital.

“Working with Women’s Healthcare of Illinois is an exciting example of our ongoing work to enhance the birthing experience at Advocate South Suburban Hospital,” said Jennifer Doerr, clinical nurse manager of the hospital’s Women and Infants Center. “Together, we will continue to advance healthcare and respond to the evolving needs of women in our community.”

Also, in its efforts to improve the childbirth experience, Women’s Healthcare of Illinois will soon begin offering immersion hydrotherapy as another method of pain reduction and relaxation for women during labor.

Women’s Healthcare of Illinois has offices at 9730 S. Western Ave., Suite 100, in Evergreen Park, and in Mokena at 10260 W. 191st St., Suite 100.

For more information, call (708) 425-1907 or visit the website at whcillinois.com.