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CenteringPregnancy: Ancient Wisdom & Modern Care

Pregnancy is one of the biggest transitions a woman may experience in her lifetime. Put the demands of modern life and all the choices available to pregnant women on top of it, and life can get a bit crazy for expectant mothers.

The Internet puts support right at your fingertips, with hundreds of pregnancy support groups active on social media. “Facebook groups certainly help,” says mother of two Lauren DiPalma, “but there’s no substitute for an in-person connection.”

But who has a group of friends and peers all pregnant at the same time to compare notes with face to face? “It sounds a little corny, but it does take a village,” says Lauren, who found a supportive group of other mothers-to-be through our CenteringPregnancy program.

The CenteringPregnancy program, led by our team of nurse midwives, puts a group setting at the heart of prenatal care instead of the examination room. Centering is a national program that brings together women in the same stage of pregnancy to learn and share as a group. Nurse midwives guide expectant mothers through nationally recognized guidelines in an atmosphere that provides the flexibility and time to explore health and wellness topics that fit the group’s needs, according to the Centering Health Institute.

Lauren heard about Centering through her OB/GYN when she was pregnant with her first son. She joined the group in her second trimester, along with four other first-time moms who all happened to be expecting boys.

“It’s an incredibly bonding experience,” she says. “You can hear different perspectives and see that other women have similar thoughts, concerns and questions as you. It felt good to know that many mothers felt like me, and it made learning a lot easier.”

Ancient wisdom and modern care

The Vancouver Clinic is fortunate and proud to have certified nurse midwives working alongside our board-certified obstetricians. The focused, personalized care we offer women during pregnancy and childbirth is a crowing feature of our OB/GYN Department, and the Centering program is a shining jewel.

Centering combines the essential medical examination part of a standard prenatal care visit to an OB/GYN with group education.

  • The program brings together women in their second trimester for individual health assessments and group education sessions. While the sense of community it builds among expecting mothers is invaluable, it also improves quality of care and birth outcomes.
  • Centering decreases the rate of preterm and low weight babies, increases breastfeeding rates, and leads to better pregnancy spacing, according to the Centering Health Institute. It also leads to better attendance at recommended visits and improved immunization rates.
  • Sessions take about 2 hours, longer than a traditional 10-15-minute prenatal visit, but much more comprehensive and rewarding.
  • Each group session begins with women taking their own vital signs and then having time to socialize while the provider meets with other ladies one-on-one for a brief prenatal health assessment. Afterwards, women discuss topics related to their pregnancy as an interactive group of about ten participants.
  • Mothers-to-be can opt into the program at no extra cost. It may also involve the women’s partners, who are encouraged to attend the meetings.

“There’s no other way that I’ve seen to find the kind of comradery during pregnancy that I experienced in Centering,” says Lauren. “I still keep in touch with the friends I made at both CenteringPregnancy groups I attended. We actually have a playdate planned in a few weeks.”

If you’re on a pregnancy journey, you can learn more about this collaborative care model on our CenteringPregnancy page.