The new CenteringPregnancy program at Providence offers a new, evidence-based approach to prenatal care for women and their partners in the months leading up to their baby’s birth.
Jamie George, a certified nurse midwife who leads the group, says the sessions are lively, interactive, focused on issues important to the participants, and fun.
“CenteringPregnancy moves prenatal care from the exam room into a group space and integrates the three major components of care: health assessment, education and support,” she says. “It’s a unique model of care, and it empowers women to be as healthy as possible throughout their pregnancy.”
The benefits? Reduced preterm birth, enhanced knowledge, improved breastfeeding and, as shown through various studies, significantly improved patient satisfaction with prenatal care.
How it works
Eight to twelve women, each about three months into their pregnancy, meet together for two hours for a total of 10 sessions throughout pregnancy and in the first weeks after delivery. The nurse midwife leads the sessions and completes standard physical health assessments with each of the participants.
The program substitutes the typical prenatal office visit of about 15 minutes with a two-hour session each time the group meets. Over the course of the pregnancy, participants receive up to 20 hours of personal attention from their provider.
CenteringPregnancy is the prenatal care for the participants. The nurse-midwife leading the sessions is responsible to see that all participants’ care meets all the standards for prenatal care. The first or second prenatal visit, which includes a pelvic exam, is completed in a private exam room. The space for the "belly check" within the group room is in a private area.
The group circles up together for facilitated discussion about topics of interest to pregnant women and to practice skills such as breathing and relaxing as well as holding and comforting baby.
“There are many advantages to sharing the pregnancy experience with other women,” Jamie says. “Hearing other women discuss concerns, many of which are shared, helps to normalize the experience of pregnancy. Every participant supports her peers—and is supported by them—which tends to increase motivation to learn and change. “
Is it for everyone?
Most women expecting a normal pregnancy can enjoy and benefit from group prenatal care. If risk conditions emerge, additional visits to specialists may be necessary. The classes are typically covered by insurance. Services also will be provided on a sliding-fee scale. No one will be turned away for lack of ability to pay.
The program is funded through a $20,000 grant from the March of Dimes. The goal is to reduce premature births and low-birth weight babies, who can develop physical and developmental problems.
CenteringPregnancy groups meet at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett and at the Mill Creek Commons Building. For more information, call 425-303-6500 or visit CenteringPregnancy.