CenteringHealthcare is a national model of providing care throughout pregnancy and early childhood in a comfortable, supportive group environment. Certified midwives from ProMedica’s Center for Health Services led the initiative to bring CenteringPregnancy to Toledo in 2019 because of the impressive improvement in health outcomes for both mom and baby. ProMedica is the first and only accredited centering site in Northwest Ohio.
One of the most dramatic differences between CenteringPregnancy from traditional prenatal care is the amount of time spent with the healthcare provider. As a pediatric nurse for over 30 years, Cathy Jaworski, MSN, RNBC, has been impressed with how the program has improved patient outcomes and patients’ experiences.
“Can you imagine that you get to sit with your provider for basically two hours? I think the amount of extra time that parents get with the provider to be able to ask questions…the parents are really loving that.”
How CenteringPregnancy Works
Pregnant women are put in a group of 8-12 with others who have similar due dates and meet 10 times throughout the pregnancy. Meg Floyd, APRN-CNM, emphasizes that it’s not an additional class.
“It’s actually a group medical visit that replaces the individual appointments. It is their prenatal care. It’s just a different way of doing it. It’s enhanced, so they get a lot more out of it.”
Active involvement in their own health
Moms are taught at the first visit to check their own weight and blood pressure.
One-on-one time with a healthcare provider
Each session begins with private, individual assessment with the midwife.
Interactive, educational group sessions
Facilitated discussions help patients to be more informed and empowered to make healthier choices. Session topics include nutrition, family planning, self-care, newborn care, and what to expect in labor and postpartum. Moms have plenty of time to ask questions, learn from each other, and receive guidance from the midwife.
The group room is designed to be nurturing and comfortable with food and snacks, music, aromatherapy, yoga balls, birthing dolls, and yoga mats. Expectant moms learn stretches and muscle strengthening.
Community Resources and Support
Community programs provide education on car seat safety, lactation, finances, the doula experience, early childhood development and reading readiness. A community health worker connects expectant moms with resources such as getting a car seat, a safe bed for the baby, or rental assistance.
Like CenteringPregnancy, parents of newborn babies born near the same time are placed in small groups and meet for two hours. Group sessions replace individual well-baby visits from birth to two years.
In these sessions, parents learn to measure the height and weight of the baby. The pediatrician does a private, physical assessment of the child and immunizations are given. A registered nurse and pediatrician lead a discussion based on typical concerns for the age of the baby. Jaworski has noticed that parents learn from each other as much as they learn from the provider. Community organizations also provide interactive education where parents read to, play with, or massage their babies.
Improved Health Outcomes
Research has shown that Centering lowers risk of preterm birth, reduces low birth weight, increases breastfeeding rates, improves attendance at recommended pediatrician visits, and increases immunization rates. Remarkably, it has been shown to nearly eliminate racial disparities in preterm birth.
Floyd has also noticed that staff at the hospital “can tell which patients have gone through centering because they ask all the right questions. They’re more informed when they go into the hospital to have their babies.”
For more information on CenteringPregnancy and CenteringParenting in Toledo, you can call the Centering Coordinator, Shontae Hill, at 419-291-2253.
Related Articles: Babies Come 1st for Baby 1st Network, Postpartum Doula Services: The Transition to Parenthood, and Toledo Area Midwives and Doulas Create Unique Birth Experiences. Find more on our Maternity Page!