Certified nurse-midwives can attend home births in both states, but Illinois is particularly difficult for home birth CNMs. They have to have a signed collaborative agreement with an OB in order to practice. As you might imagine, this proves incredibly difficult to obtain. One home birth CNM I know approached something like 100 physicians before she found one willing to take her on. And the supervising OB can dictate what the CNM can and cannot do.
Iowa is more friendly to home birth CNMs than Illinois. In Iowa, nurse-midwives are considered independent health care practitioners and do not need any kind of physician supervision or collaborative agreement to attend births. Still, in both states, there are very few home birth CNMs. Only 5 of Illinois' 102 counties have legal home birth attendants. The situation isn't much different in Iowa. This means that most women wanting home births in Iowa or Illinois will have to hire "underground" midwives.
For two fascinating, in-depth looks at contemporary direct-entry midwifery in Illinois, I suggest you read these two articles that just came out this week:
- An Illegitimate Birth: Kim and Steven McCarty put their baby in the hands of an unlicensed midwife by Tiffany McClain in the Chicago Reader
- Home delivery: Thirty years later, Illinois midwives fight for birth rights by Amanda Robert in the Illinois Times