In addition to offering traditional prenatal care, two ObGyn practices have partnered with South Shore Hospital to provide the option of CenteringPregnancy® for expecting women. Centering® is a form of group prenatal care that includes a prenatal health check-up with additional time for learning and sharing with others. Studies have shown that participants in Centering groups prefer the group model, are 33% less likely to have a preterm baby, and demonstrate higher breastfeeding rates.
Supported by a grant from the March of Dimes and donations from South Shore Hospital Charitable Foundation and The Friends of South Shore Hospital, Centering is yet another example of South Shore Hospital’s commitment to offering a variety of choices in maternity care to meet the individual needs of their patients. This alternative for prenatal care joins an extensive list that already includes midwifery care, a tub for labor and, coming soon, nitrous oxide for labor pain relief.
In a Centering group, an expectant woman meets with her healthcare provider and other women who are due near the same time for 10 sessions over the course of her pregnancy. The sessions are about 2 hours long and involve two co-facilitators, one of whom is a provider (OB or midwife). Session dates are scheduled in advance and groups start and end on time to make planning easy. The group sessions begin at about 16 weeks of pregnancy. (The first OB visit, which includes a physical, is a traditional, individual appointment.) Below are some FAQs about group prenatal care.
What will I experience in a group session?
At each session you will be involved in some of your own care. You will check your own weight and learn how to take your own blood pressure. After your individual check-up with the provider, you will join the group for discussion and activities. In this setting, expectant mothers often develop close bonds and learn from each other as they share questions, advice and experiences. The groups are interactive, relaxed and fun. Each woman receives a book that includes the topics for each session as well as a multitude of self-assessment tools. Snacks will be provided.
Who can attend? Is this just for first-time moms? Can I bring a support person?
The groups are not just for first-time pregnancies. Any pregnant woman that has registered for the group can come with a support person or by herself. Children are not allowed in the groups. Each participant will sign a confidentiality form - what happens in group stays in group!
What if I cannot make every session?
If you miss a group session you can schedule an individual visit with your provider.
How do I know if group prenatal care is right for me?
You can try the first session or two and test it out. If you decide that group prenatal care is not the right fit then you can resume your traditional visits.
How do I register for group prenatal care?
Centering groups are currently being offered at Atrius Health Women’s Center in Weymouth. Just call 781-682-8000 and ask for the Ob-Gyn receptionist. She will tell you the group session dates that work with your due date and then register you. Groups will soon be offered at Crown Ob-Gyn too – stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks!