When you find out you’re pregnant, come to the Prisma Health OB/GYN Center as soon as possible. You will have your first visit, with a complete physical exam. During this visit, you can sign up for a Centering group that corresponds to the month of your due date. These group sessions will act as your prenatal care for the remainder of your pregnancy – including all of your tests and exams.
In Centering, there are 10 sessions of two hours each, one per month for the first three months, and every two weeks for the last three months, until you give birth. You do not need any other prenatal care appointments in addition to Centering (unless recommended by your provider). There are 8-12 women in each Centering group, and the same women are together for each session. Everyone receives their prenatal care within the group – they listen to the baby’s heartbeat, measure the mother’s belly, take blood pressure, and more. There are activities throughout the visit, which help the group get to know each other and learn about pregnancy health and parenting.
CenteringPregnancy is a Prisma Health program, introduced by Dr. Amy Crockett, a recipient of the John P. McNulty Prize for 2016. This program has reduced preterm births by 47 percent for its participants. The program has also impacted health care by influencing insurance and public health agencies to put preventive care first by making it economically sustainable and accessible to patients.
Watch this video to learn more.
“What do you talk about in Centering groups?” Each group is different, because we always respect each group’s interests. In general we discuss:
“Can men come to Centering groups?”
Of course! For fathers, too, pregnancy is a time of many changes, emotions and sometimes confusion. Men learn a lot and develop strong friendships in Centering groups.
We ask is that you do not bring children (if you have other children) to Centering groups. The two hours of Centering are especially for you to learn, socialize, and relax without the pressure of watching your children at the same time.
“What kind of medical care do you receive in a Centering group?”
You receive all the routine medical care in a Centering group that you would during a regular clinical prenatal care visit. You learn how to take your own blood pressure and weight, and use the pregnancy wheel to determine exactly how many weeks and days pregnant you are. The provider will measure your belly to assess the baby’s growth, and listen to the baby’s heartbeat. She will also answer any questions you have and keep you up to date on any test results. You will have your routine labs during Centering – any urine cultures you need, blood tests, glucola (to test for diabetes during pregnancy), and Group B Strep. As with regular clinic visits, ultrasounds are done as needed and through separate appointments.
“What happens after delivery?”
We have a postpartum reunion, around two months after everyone in your group delivers. Everyone brings their new baby, and it’s a very emotional party. Finally we get to see the babies that were in those bellies all that time! We share birth stories, and what happened in the first weeks of the baby’s lives. We have cake, take pictures and more. Many women share phone numbers so they can continue to be in contact with each other even after their baby’s birth.
“How much does Centering cost?”
Medicaid and health insurance cover Centering groups because they provide all the basic prenatal care that regular clinic visits do. Because Centering is your prenatal care, if you do not have Medicaid or health insurance, you have to pay the Clinic for medical care (the same as regular prenatal care visits in the Clinic). However, it’s important that you not avoid prenatal care because of the cost. We can help. We also offer WIC (free food for low-income pregnant women and children). We have Medicaid offices on site that can help sign patients up for Medicaid for prenatal care or for the delivery. These programs are available to non-citizens also.
CenteringPregnancy® at the Prisma Health OB/GYN Center has been generously funded by the South Carolina March of Dimes since 2009. The March of Dimes’ mission is “To improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. We carry out this mission through research, community services, education and advocacy to save babies’ lives.” For more information and to make a donation to this important cause, please click here.