Community partners collaborate to improve health outcomes for young families

Greenville First Steps, Greenville Health System (GHS) and the YMCA of Greenville announced today that they are partnering together on a new offering that will make GHS’ CenteringPregnancy program available to more expectant mothers in Greenville County and serve as a model for other Centering programs across the state.

CenteringPregnancy is a new way to do prenatal care. The program offers medical assessment, education and support to expectant mothers in a group setting. Through this unique model of care, women get to spend more time with their healthcare provider and with other pregnant women, giving them a chance to learn more about pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. Since its inception, the program has greatly improved birth outcomes in Greenville County, including lower rates of premature deliveries and higher rates of breastfeeding.

“Women who participate in Centering learn so much. They feel more prepared for labor, birth and infant care, they gain friendship and support in the group and have overall greater satisfaction compared with traditional, individual prenatal care,” said Amy Picklesimer, MD, medical director of GHS’ OB/GYN Center and CenteringPregnancy program. “Overall, the program leads to better care, better health and lower costs.”

While the program has had great success, GHS has seen a decline in second-time moms participating in Centering because they lack childcare for their first child. But thanks to an innovative partnership with Greenville First Steps and the YMCA of Greenville, GHS’ can now offer childcare to those participating in Centering.

“You can only rely on neighbors and grandparents to assist with childcare for so long, sometimes you have to have a back-up plan,” said Derek Lewis, executive director of Greenville First Steps. “We are proud to support the Centering program and to help remove barriers to care for these families. In doing so, we are helping to ensure babies are born healthy and ready to succeed.”

GHS’ is providing space for the childcare center, and Greenville First Steps is providing funding for two trained staff members. The two trained staff members are from the YMCA of Greenville’s childcare program and will utilize the Search Institute’s developmental assets used in all YMCA youth programming. These assets help identify a set of skills, experiences, relationships and behaviors that enable young people to develop into successful, contributing adults.

“CenteringPregnancy is an important community program that aligns with our mission to strengthen healthy families,” said Scot Baddley, CEO of the YMCA of Greenville. “We are pleased to partner with GHS and Greenville First Steps to make high quality childcare available to those who need it and to support mothers as they strive to improve the health of their families.”

Of the 12 Centering programs across the state, GHS’ program is the first to make childcare services available to patients.

“We are truly lucky to partner with two organizations that care about the health and wellbeing of our community like we do,” said Dr. Picklesimer. “Our hope is that this innovative partnership will serve as model for other Centering programs across the state and nation that face the same challenges we do in engaging second-time moms.”

Participants of the CenteringPregnancy program at GHS’ OB/GYN Center can begin utilizing childcare services this month. The program can serve up to 12 children at a time.

For more information about CenteringPregnancy, visit

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