BACH’s Centering Pregnancy adds friendships to prenatal care
Certified Nurse Midwife, Maj. Nicole Sampson, measures baby's heart rate during the health assessment portion of a Centering Pregnancy session at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital in 2018. Blanchfield is resuming Centering Pregnancy, which brings expectant mothers together in healthcare groups of 8 to 12 women, for 10 two-hour sessions, to share in their prenatal healthcare journey. Each session features a health assessment, interactive learning and community support. U.S. Army photo by Maria Yager. (Photo Credit: Maria Christina Yager) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- Blanchfield Army Community Hospital recently announced the return of its Centering Pregnancy prenatal care program.

Centering Pregnancy is an alternative prenatal care program, offered at Blanchfield and other military treatment facilities, for pregnant women who select to participate in group support during prenatal care visits. This is different from traditional one-on-one provider and patient prenatal care.

“I think resuming Centering Pregnancy provides a great opportunity for some of our patients. Centering Pregnancy allows for patients to connect with other women in a similar situation and with a similar due date as them,” said Lacey Fee, Blanchfield’s Centering Pregnancy coordinator. The hospital's program was paused at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to the standard prenatal health screenings recommended by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, Centering Pregnancy adds interactive learning and community building. Centering brings pregnant women together in groups of eight to 12 women, for 10 sessions lasting about two hours each, where they may share in their pregnancy journey, guided by their healthcare team.

Centering Pregnancy meets at the same intervals as traditional prenatal care. Upon arrival, each Centering participant records her vital signs and meets with her women’s health provider who will conduct the appropriate exam on mom and baby for that stage of the pregnancy. Then, rather than wrapping up the appointment, the women join their group where a facilitator begins a discussion.

Centering covers different pregnancy topics, such as managing side effects and discomforts, eating well and exercise, among others recommended by the Centering Health Institute during each session. The interactive learning allows participants to connect and bond during their pregnancy, establishing lasting support and friendship.

“Although we have a topic each meeting, Centering is flexible and also allows us to focus on any topic the women may want to discuss related to their pregnancy, from concerns to cravings to what they have done at home to prepare for baby,” said Fee. “Centering is especially beneficial here on post because many of the mothers are far away from home. They don't have family nearby, are living in a new town and some have partners who have since deployed. Centering provides an opportunity for bonding in the group and making those connections that we see among military families.”

The program is voluntary at Blanchfield for women who want to participate.

Each Centering Pregnancy participant remains with the same group of women and healthcare providers for the duration of their prenatal care. New groups are formed each month as pregnancies are confirmed.

Groups typically reconnect about six weeks post-partum allowing moms to introduce their baby and share their new experiences.

The first group is scheduled to begin in October. Newly expectant mothers who are interested in participating in Centering Pregnancy should talk with their women’s healthcare provider.