Centering Pregnancy at Windham Hospital
WILLIMANTIC, CT, August 5, 2008 – When you first find out you are pregnant, a variety of thoughts and feelings may follow: excitement, anxiety, confusion, and more. For most pregnant women, concerns are discussed during a brief traditional prenatal visit. Often, there is not enough time to get both physical assessments done and for the patient to get all of her questions answered and concerns addressed by her provider. There is even less opportunity for women to get the emotional support they need during pregnancy. Now there is a model of prenatal care that is geared to respond to both the psychological and physical needs of soon-to-be moms.
Mansfield OB/GYN has implemented a “fun and educational way to get prenatal care.” This model, “Centering Pregnancy,” groups 8-12 women together, offering educational and social opportunities for pregnant women with the same anticipated month of delivery. The group was founded on the idea that prenatal education and active participation in physical assessment empower pregnant women to take control of their health, pregnancies, and families. By being in control of their weight and blood pressure assessments, the women are more involved and responsible about their prenatal care.
Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) Stephanie Welsh, Mansfield OB/GYN, believes “while every woman can benefit from group prenatal care, the quiet and shy get a lot out of it. The underserved are the best served.” In traditional prenatal care, the patient typically has 10-15 minutes to get her physical assessment completed by her provider, and to ask questions. There is not a lot of time for prenatal education in the traditional model, yet so much of prenatal care involves education. Women usually have to research information on their own, or go home wondering and worrying, especially if they have the quiet or shy personality that normally will not raise concerns.
Centering Pregnancy essentially eliminates this problem. At no additional cost, a pregnant woman can attend ten very informative sessions, which include her prenatal visits, at Windham Community Memorial Hospital. All of the babies born at WCMH are delivered by Mansfield OB/GYN, providing the opportunity for the women in the group to become familiar with the hospital before going into labor. The women take part in weighing themselves, and taking their own blood pressure. Before the group session, the women meet with their provider in a private area to discuss personal concerns, measure the belly, and check the fetal heart rate. Then the group members discuss a topic related to their pregnancies, such as nutrition or relaxation methods. There is about an hour after this discussion for the women to ask their own questions, and socialize with other pregnant women.
If a pregnancy becomes complicated, the woman can opt out of the group care, or decide to continue and schedule additional appointments with the traditional prenatal visits. This is also true for women who have concerns which they do not feel comfortable raising in the group forum.
Mansfield OB/GYN has three providers who are currently working with the group care program at Windham Hospital, Dr. Robert Gildersleeve, Stephanie Welsh, CNM, and Maren Robertson, CNM. They feel that the Centering Pregnancy model is well received by pregnant women and their partners, as they all get educational benefits and additional support during pregnancy. The first group that graduated has already scheduled a reunion meeting.
“Now there is no reason to go through a pregnancy feeling completely alone,” says Welsh, “the prenatal education and socializing with other pregnant women offers so much support to the soon-to-be mom. We are very excited to be offering this more in-depth, personalized approach to prenatal care, and to help new moms enjoy their pregnancy to the fullest.”
For more information about joining a Centering Pregnancy group, call Robin Mott at 860. 456.6989. For general information about the program contact Mansfield OB/GYN at 860.450.7227.
OPTIONAL SIDEBAR COMPARISON CHART:
Centering Pregnancy Model
for Group Care
|Little opportunity for women to socialize with other pregnant women, lack of postpartum support||10 sessions to meet pregnant women due the same month, provides opportunity for ongoing support|
|Focus on medical outcomes and testing||Focus on education and empowerment, in addition to health outcomes|
|Set amount of time for patient/ provider interaction||Provider/ Patient interaction is longer, and more informative|
|Variable wait time||No delay, set time every session|