Centering Pregnancy™, offered by a team of certified-nurse midwives at Bon Secours, is a multifaceted approach to prenatal care that gives expectant mothers additional time and attention in a group setting. Women in the Centering Pregnancy™ program, which takes the place of their prenatal visits with their OB/GYN, attend 10, one- to two-hour group sessions that integrate health assessments, education and group support.
Through these group sessions women become empowered and feel confident to play a more active role in their pregnancy and overall health. They have access to all their charts, ultrasounds and lab work, and become acutely aware of how their pregnancy is progressing. Each woman is supported physically, spiritually, psychologically and socially. The bonds that develop within the group are substantial.
Studies show participants:
- Receive more in-depth prenatal care
- Have fewer unnecessary visits to the emergency room
- Have fewer preterm births
- Have shorter post-partum hospitalizations
- Are more likely to breastfeed
- Are more confident about labor, delivery and motherhood
- Experience lower costs for pre-natal care, labor and delivery
In addition, babies born to women who participated in Centering Pregnancy™ programs tend to have higher birth weights.
Centering Pregnancy™ appointments typically include a prenatal care check up, weight and blood pressure monitoring, private time with your health care provider, important information and resources for mothers and their babies, time to talk about pregnancy, childbirth and family, time to get to know the other women in the group and time to talk about parenting, child development and family issues.
Each group consists of eight to 12 women who are due at the same time; they begin the group process once they have had their first individual obstetrics appointment and their due date is determined. The groups typically meet on the same day of the week at the same time, which offers members more structure, convenience and ease of planning.
Through this experience women take the first step in what it means to be in charge of their health care, being in charge of their body, and they develop a plan for their labor, birth, and even motherhood.
There are goals and main topics for each session, and guest specialists enhance the program, for example, a lactation specialist attends when breastfeeding is covered, a pediatrician when infant care is discussed, and a dietitian for the nutrition segment. A Centering Pregnancy™ book published by centeringhealthcare.org is used throughout the program. It’s a book, workbook and journal all in one, keeping everything an expectant mother needs in one place.
Many pregnant women want to know who will deliver their baby. Participants in Centering Pregnancy™ have many options, from physician delivery to both physician and mid-wife, or only a mid-wife, all of which are offered in the hospital with as much or as little intervention as desired or needed.