By Lauren Napolitano, Childbirth Educator and Doula
I decided to try a different form of prenatal care known as Centering Pregnancy when I was pregnant with my daughter. My practice, Providence Women’s Healthcare in Atlanta, offers this alternative to traditional prenatal care which starts after the first trimester.
Centering Pregnancy is defined as: “an evidence based model that combines scheduled health assessments and expanded educational opportunities with a support group of pregnant women who are also going through similar physical, mental and social transitions. It is a model of group care that integrates three major components: assessment, education, and support.”
My Experience with Centering Pregnancy
Scheduling was predictable
Unlike traditional prenatal appointments, dates and times are predetermined. Sessions begin and end on time and last 2 hours. This gave me more time to plan ahead for childcare and other obligations.
I was actively involved in my care
At the beginning of each session, I took my blood pressure, weighed myself and recorded both numbers in my Centering Pregnancy Notebook. I discussed these numbers when I met privately with my midwife.
I still had a private health assessment
I still met privately with my midwife while the other women enjoyed conversation. This allowed me to have personalized care, and gave me the opportunity to ask questions and share what was happening with my pregnancy in a private setting.
I bonded with other women
There were 6 women in my Centering Pregnancy group and we were all due within weeks of each other. Each session felt like a gathering of women to discuss the normal physiological changes happening within us, and we bonded during our sessions. Once our babies were born, we started to meetup once a month. We also set up a private Facebook page where we reach out, ask questions, and just generally check in with each other.
It was about educating and empowering women & couples
I moved from a patient to an active participant in my care and that is empowering. Centering Pregnancy brings women together. Two women in our group (including myself) were second time moms, and we were able to share our past pregnancy and birthing experiences with those who would be birthing for the first time. This model of care focuses on educating women so they can be informed and prepared for their birth and the postpartum period.