Centering prenatal care around you

By Mr. Wesley P Elliott (Army Medicine)November 18, 2016

Centering Pregnancy TAMC
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Joint Base Sam Houston, Texas (Nov. 18, 2016) -- Select Army medical treatment facilities will offer expectant mothers a chance to participate in Centering Pregnancy, a three-year group prenatal care solution starting in March 2017.

Centering Pregnancy brings 8-10 women who are all due at roughly the same time together for their prenatal care. This provides moms and providers a way to get to know each other, form lasting friendships, and connected in ways not possible in traditional care, according to the Centering Healthcare Institute.

Centering groups are comprised of women of different ages, races, and military ranks who share the common experience of pregnancy, birth, and child care.

"Centering Pregnancy is prenatal care that includes regular health check-ups with additional time for learning and sharing in a circular group setting. Centering Pregnancy is a way to learn and experience pregnancy with other pregnant women through interactive learning that will help women experience pregnancy in new and rewarding ways," said Dr. Laurena White, Women's Health Program Administrator, Women's Health Service Line, U.S. Army Office of the Surgeon General.

There is significant evidence to support the importance of prenatal care in preventing adverse birth outcomes such as preterm birth and low infant birth weight. Studies have shown the group prenatal care model, reduces adverse birth outcomes.

"Readiness is important to the Army and group prenatal care will increase breastfeeding initiation which improves the health of female Soldiers and their newborn infants while also helping the Soldier achieve a healthy post-pregnancy weight," said White.

Centering Pregnancy groups allow women to spend more time with their provider while interacting with women who are sharing the childbirth experience. The program consists of 10 two-hour sessions beginning at approximately 14 weeks gestation and continuing through eight weeks postpartum. By integrating the health assessment, education, and support, the appointments provide patients with an opportunity to learn more about their pregnancy, labor and delivery, and parenting.

"The groups provide a safe, intimate setting for women to share their questions, issues, advice, approaches and experiences. Expectant mothers meet other pregnant women with due dates close to theirs and create bonds that can last a lifetime," said White.

Participating facilities include the Womack Army Medical Center (AMC), Tripler AMC, Carl R. Darnall AMC, Brooke AMC, Madigan AMC, William Beaumont AMC, Blanchfield Army Community Hospital (ACH), Winn ACH, Evans ACH, and Irwin ACH.

Army Medicine plans to implement Centering Pregnancy at military treatment facilities with large volume obstetrics capabilities over the next three years to standardize the group approach and improve the prenatal care at the facilities. The goal is to have at least one group start each month at the participating facilities.