Midwifery Care – CenteringPregnancy
Group prenatal care is used in many settings across the United States, primarily through a program called CenteringPregnancy. Group prenatal care allows you to meet with other women who share similar due dates and combines prenatal care with a discussion and support group.
Group prenatal care allows women to:
- Gain power and confidence throughout pregnancy
- Receive in-depth health education (beyond what is possible in a traditional model of care)
- Strengthen their community networks during their transition to motherhood
- Be more knowledgeable as health care consumers
Women who have participated in group prenatal care have:
- Higher levels of satisfaction with prenatal care
- Lower numbers of inductions and medication use in labor
- Higher levels of pregnancy knowledge
- Fewer emergency room visits during the pregnancy
How Centering works
Group prenatal care will begin at about 16–20 weeks. You and 8–10 other women, all due around the same time, will meet at our office. After checking in at the front desk, you will go to the meeting room immediately (no waiting for your appointment!).
When you arrive, a nurse will greet you. There will be time to weigh yourself, take your blood pressure and record this information on your record. You’ll have time to socialize with the other women and read about various health topics.
The midwife will measure your abdomen and listen to the baby’s heartbeat in a semi-private corner of the room. Any personal concerns will then be addressed.
Once everyone is assembled, the group session will begin. It will last about an hour. The nurse-midwife and nurse will sit with you and guide a conversation on a variety of topics about pregnancy, labor, birth and parenting.
Your entire session will last two hours. The schedule for visits is arranged before the first class. This allows you to have all your prenatal visits booked well in advance.
In general, your group will meet every month for a few months and then every two weeks until the end of your pregnancy. Your midwife, nurse and group of women will be the same throughout your pregnancy. As you can imagine, some groups of women choose to continue to get together on their own after the babies are born.