Better births, informed moms result from centering program

  • Tuesday, April 8, 2014

One of the first centering groups recently held a reunion to share their experiences and show of their new babies.

Traditionally, pregnant women have seen their doctor one-on-one.

Under the new centering pregnancy program, women with similar due dates meet in groups of six to 12 for two hours 10 times during their pregnancy.

The relaxed, informal environment leads to bonding with the other women, connections that can last a lifetime.

A healthcare provider leads each session helping the women learn more about pregnancy and learn how to be prepared for the birth and care of their baby.

Carolina OB/GYN is the first practice in the area to undertake centering pregnancy, thanks to a grant it was awarded from the March of Dimes.

Results in other programs are impressive: up to 97 percent of women prefer receiving their prenatal care in a group. Some 33 percent are less likely to have a preterm baby. And centering results in a higher breastfeeding rate, a much-preferred approach these days.

Through this unique model of care, women are empowered to choose health-promoting behaviors. Health outcomes for pregnancies, specifically increased birth weight and gestational age of mothers that deliver preterm, and the satisfaction expressed by both the women and their providers, support the effectiveness of this model for the delivery of care.

Centering pregnancy groups provide a dynamic atmosphere for learning and sharing that is impossible to create in a one-to-one encounter. Hearing other women share concerns which mirror their own helps the woman to normalize the whole experience of pregnancy. Groups also are empowering as they provide support to the members and also increase individual motivation to learn and change. Professionals report that groups provide them with renewed satisfaction in delivering quality care.

On March 27, one of the first centering groups held a reunion at the Carolina OB/GYN practices in Murrells Inlet, with mothers, fathers and babies gathering to share their experiences and (as proud parents) show off their new babies.

Maureen Nowak, a certified nurse midwife, leads the centering group and brought her own new baby to the reunion.

“It’s a great way for moms to get to know one another. To have someone going through it at the same times as them,” said Nowak. “They get a lot of education that they might not get otherwise. And it’s a great way to really, really bond with each other.”

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