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panda 12-21-2001 06:51 PM

Does anyone in the Chicago area have experience with Homefirst? (see

Or has anyone heard of Dr. Mayer Eisenstein? I guess he's been on the radio and on Oprah supporting homebirth. Turns out they have an office right down the street from me. I won't be ttc for quite a while yet, but I would love to someday have a homebirth. I think I might wander over any check them out.

If anyone has any information or reaction to Homefirst or Eisenstein, I'd love to hear about it. Thanks.

Spark 12-23-2001 12:00 PM

Sorry, I don't have any experience with them, but just thought that since so many people had viewed, but not may want a message. Also, this will bounce you back up to the top.

Perhaps, just calling them and asking for some references. Or do they have a mother's meeting where you could meet women who used them? Another idea is to go to a La Leche League meeting. I'm sure one of the women there would have used them or know someone who did.

Good luck TTC & finding information!

panda 12-23-2001 06:22 PM

Thanks. I'll be looking for a new general practioner soon, so I think I'll go check this place out and try to get a list of doctors names or something. If I find out anything interesting, I'll post it here.

I read some reviews of Eisenstein's book, The Homebirth Advantage, on, and they were generally positive though some people objected to his emphasis on doctors being involved in homebirths. They thought that the book didn't talk enough about the role of midwives.

beccaboo 12-23-2001 06:46 PM

Howdy neighbor - I'm a Chicagoan too! My good friend's husband, Paul Schattauer, is a doctor with Homefirst. I know several people who use them for both pregnancy/birth and also as gp doctors. Around here it can be hard to find doctors supportive of not immunizing, so they are also good to use for older children. Recently I met an adult colleague who was delivered by Dr. Eisenstein, as were her two sisters. They definitely have a loyal following!

I was hoping to use Homefirst to deliver my second child at home, but things didn't work out with our insurance and I wasn't prepared to pay $3500 out of pocket, so we'll be using a midwife in a hospital again.

They have a website, , that you might want to check out. There's also a "family movie night" that happens about once a month, I think on Sunday evenings, which would be a good time/place to check out the practice and meet some of the doctors and/or midwives. I'm not sure if you have any more specific questions, but if so I'm sure I could get more info from my friends.

Mollybeth 12-24-2001 12:47 AM

Hello! I live out in the western suburbs. I have heard many good things about Homefirst. My close friend was planning to have her first child at home, but ended up having an emergency c-section several weeks early due to pre-eclampsia and ruptured placenta--obviously, she was screened out well and the problem was detected and she and baby were saved. She has gone on to have two wonderful home VBACs since then, with Homefirst. She definately feels that she would have had another c-section w/o the support of all the midwives, nurses and the doctor, and if she hadn't been at home.

Another friend was planning to use their services, but unfortunately she had a miscarriage at 15 weeks. She said that they were very supportive and understanding during her difficult time. She will use them when she gets pregnant again.

The family practice part has wonderful breastfeeding rates...something like 95%...and they leave the decision to vaccinate entirely up to the parent (no pressure either way). They only use antibiotics when there is a serious need. I'm pretty sure that they do not prescribe any artificial hormones (including hormonal b/c and HRT) or do permanent sterilization--this is mostly due to health concerns, rather than religious reasons (although there is some religious flavor there; Dr. Eisenstein is Jewish and many of the families who use them are strongly religious, of one type or another).

For my next birth, I am debating between Homefirst and a local midwife. I would love to do a home birth, but I'm not sure if Homefirst would be covered. Also, another concern is that many of the doctors seem to be men, and I enjoyed having a woman midwife for my last birth. For the midwife, it would be entirely covered, possible water birth...but under hospital control. I am not pregnant so there is still plenty of time to decide that one!

Best wishes!

valeria_vi 12-26-2001 04:48 PM

who do you intend to use as a midwife?

Sofiamomma 01-04-2002 05:45 PM

Hi, there! I used to live in Chicago and worked as a birth nurse for Homefirst for about a year and a half. Glad to hear Dr. Schattauer is still with them. He was great to work with, a very caring man called to his work. It was wonderful for me to see, after working in a hospital L&D ward that things could be done differently. I loved working with the families and it was a very enjoyable job, except for some workplace politics that I finally resigned over, but I don't think any of that would affect your experience. A friend of mine still works for them and she told me recently that they had been incorporating nurse-midwives into their practice, so maybe that's an option, or asking if the nurse could catch your baby, if you're more comfortable with a woman. I'm pretty sure they still have at least one woman doctor, Dr. Lo, I believe her name is. There are also several good direct entry midwives in the area, as well as a few CNM's doing homebirths. They're probably more underground now, because of the DPR's recent withhunt, but the Midwives' Alliance of North America and/or The American College of Nurse Midwives both maintain lists of practicing midwives. Also, health food stores and feminist bookstores are good places to look. I don't know if Women and Children First is still around (it used to be near the lake, on Foster, I think), but I found the folks I needed to get in touch with when I first moved there, on their bulletin board. Good luck!

Mollybeth 01-04-2002 06:25 PM

Sorry it's taken me so long to get back...I was thinking about using Deb Riddell. Do you know her or other midwives in the area?


valeria_vi 01-08-2002 01:19 PM


I have never heard of Deb. I tried to search online, but didn't find anything. In what area does she practice?
p.s. sorry I wasn't answering for a long time - I was on vacation.

Mollybeth 01-08-2002 04:29 PM

Deb works in the Aurora area, out of Provena Mercy and Rush Copley. How far are you from Aurora? The midwife I used last time moved to GlenOaks Hospital (somewhere out by Army Trail Rd/355?), and I really liked her (just not the hospital where she used to work).

valeria_vi 01-09-2002 02:30 PM

I am in north-west Chicago suburbs. sort of between Buffalo Grove and Northbrook. So Aurora is not overly close, I guess. I am not sure, thouh. i think it could be about an hour which is not too bad. The questions is, do any of those midfives do home births?

panda 01-09-2002 05:28 PM

I'm just picking on you since you said you worked there...

I called Homefirst to set up an appointment with a doctor maybe next month. I explained that I won't be having children for a least another year, and am looking for a general practitioner. The receptionist said all their doctors are family practitioners and treat the whole family. Excellent.

However, she said none of the doctors at any of their clinics prescribe birth control pills. I was really surprised. And a little bummed. Do you know why this would be?

I was considering going off the pill when my prescription runs out this spring, and wanted to talk to a doctor about other forms of bc, but I'm not sure and want to keep that option open, both for now and for later in life. The receptionist said they handle "diaphrams and other natural methods" of bc. Of course, I should have asked her why. I'll call back soon and get the scoop. They never replied to the email I sent.

Thanks for all the great info.

Mollybeth 01-13-2002 08:43 PM

As far as the midwives I mentioned before--no, the unfortunately do not deliver at home. That is one of the reasons I have not made up my mind about using them.

Re: Homefirst/birth control pills: I understand that they do not prescribe artificial hormones of any kind, as a health concern primarily. The artificial estrogen and progestin in the pill have been shown to increase the risk of certain types of cancer. Additionally, they are an anti-abortion practice, and hormonal bc (albeit very rarely) may prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. It is not that they are 'anti' birth control, but they are 'anti' hormonal birth control. They promote barrier methods and natural family planning/fertility awareness. It is rare indeed to find practitioners who are knowledgeable about NFP/FAM, so even if you are mildly interested, it may be worth it to make an appointment. On the other hand, if hormonal bc is very important to you as an option, I'm sure that you will find a different doctor to fit your needs!

Best wishes in your search,

panda 01-14-2002 11:31 AM

After I posted I did read some of Dr. Eisenstein's online information about hormonal birth control. I set up a consultation appointment to talk to one of their doctors about the possible health risks of the pill and about alternate forms of bc. I have a lot of questions and I think it will be interesting. By chance they scheduled me with Dr. Paul Schattauer, who's already been introduced here. Such a small world.

Els' 3 Ones 01-14-2002 11:58 AM

I've used Homefirst once and midwives twice. Homefirst Drs are my childrens docs and occasionally mine (occasionally children's too, since they are healthy!).

One MW is no longer on her own and the other I think is with "Womens Health Ltd" they are located in Lisle (??). I hunt around the piles of paper here and see if I can be more specific. They do homebirths.

Edit to add:
Found Them!
Go here:

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