According to a recent Vox article, a South Carolina physician named Amy Crockett changed the way her women’s health clinic was operated in 2008 (1). South Carolina’s horrific infant mortality rates in those years (49th in the nation, second to Mississippi) drove her to try a new approach to prenatal care. Crockett got a grant from the March of Dimes to offer group prenatal care based on a model called Centering Pregnancy.
What is group prenatal care?
Rather than attending traditional, one-on-one prenatal visits like other pregnant patients across the US, the women at Crockett’s clinics would have the option to meet in larger groups during their prenatal appointments. They would sit in a circle with other pregnant women and have their prenatal care done together over a two-hour period.
Research suggests that American women, especially minority and low-income women, have a higher chance of giving birth prematurely due to stress levels (1). This simple and inexpensive approach to prenatal care made it such that pregnant women would interact with one another like a support group, communicating their issues and concerns in a group of other women who were going through similar things.
The nurses and doctors would lead the group with a Centering Pregnancy curriculum to guide them. In Dr. Crockett’s prenatal group meetings, they discussed postpartum depression, preparing the home for a new baby, getting comfortable during the third trimester, and other issues on the minds of expectant mothers. Outside of these focused conversations, however, the women were encouraged to talk about whatever was on their mind. This freedom of conversation helped the women reduce their stress levels and connect with one another.
Additionally, the Centering Pregnancy model of having 2-hour meetings offers more time for pregnant women to communicate with their doctors, nurses, or each other (2). This is a stark contrast from the 10-15 minute time normally allotted to women during their prenatal care visits.
The infant mortality rate in South Carolina has gone down by 28% since 2005 (bringing the state to the 37th spot) (1). Because Crockett’s group is just one of the many efforts that have been made in South Carolina to improve the health of mothers and their babies, it’s not possible to determine the positive effects of it alone.
However, Crockett’s center has received incredibly positive feedback from those in the community (1). Additionally, the results of this and other Centering Pregnancy groups across the country have been astounding (2). A 2012 study found a 47% reduction in preterm birth in women who received group prenatal care compared with women who received traditional prenatal care (2).
Group prenatal care may not combat every difficulty that can arise during pregnancy. Its implementation is growing in the U.S., however, and has helped many mothers feel connected and supported during their pregnancies. This a fantastic start on the road toward relieving stress in the lives of America’s expectant mothers.
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ABC Law Centers was established to focus exclusively on birth injury cases. A “birth injury” is any type of harm to a baby that occurs just before, during, or after birth. This includes issues such as oxygen deprivation, infection, and trauma. While some children with birth injuries make a complete recovery, others develop disabilities such as cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
If a birth injury/subsequent disability could have been prevented with proper care, then it constitutes medical malpractice. Settlements from birth injury cases can cover the costs of lifelong treatment, care, and other crucial resources.
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- Kliff, S. (2018, November 02). Sit in a circle. Talk to other pregnant women. Save your baby’s life? Retrieved November 26, 2018, from https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2018/11/2/18040070/infant-mortality-south-carolina-amy-crockett
- Strickland, C., Merrell, S., & Kirk, J. K. (n.d.). CenteringPregnancy. Retrieved November 27, 2018, from http://www.ncmedicaljournal.com/content/77/6/394.full