Lexington Medical Center is overjoyed to welcome the first group of babies whose moms took part in an innovative program at the hospital called “Centering,” which allows pregnant women to receive prenatal care in a group setting.
At the beginning of pregnancy, a mother-to-be will have an individual prenatal visit and physical exam. If she chooses to “center” her pregnancy, she’ll join a group of other expectant mothers with similar due dates for monthly Centering sessions instead of traditional office visits. Dads-to-be are welcome, too.
Upon arrival at Lexington Women’s Care, class members go directly to the Centering session where they’re greeted by staff and enjoy refreshments. There’s no waiting in the lobby for the doctor. Each Centering session lasts about two hours and offers women a supportive environment to share physical, emotional and medical pregnancy experiences.
The same physician or midwife serves as the group facilitator at each session. He or she privately performs regular health assessments such as blood pressure, weight, belly checks and heart tones at the beginning of each session. After the assessment, the facilitator leads a group discussion on topics related to pregnancy and parenting, including the physical changes women experience during pregnancy, preparing for labor and delivery, nutrition, family planning, safety, conflict resolution, parenting and newborn care.
Lexington Medical Center recently welcomed its first babies from the Centering program! WIS-TV followed this group throughout the process.
Importantly, Centering has been shown to decrease rates of preterm delivery and offer other advantages, too, including higher rates of breastfeeding and lower rates of postpartum depression.
The term “Centering” comes from the idea that the program offers obstetric care in a group setting that places responsibility on the mom, realizing that she’s the center of her and her baby’s well-being.