Group Approach to Prenatal Care…Start of A New Trend, Hopefully

I realize its been 2-1/2 weeks since my last post. …yikes!  Time flies…as we know all too well!  I’ve been caught up with a lot of things going on at work, home, editing my manuscript, celebrating Chinese New Year, etc.  Yes, Chinese New Year….the Year of the Rabbit.  For all those who observe, may it be a year of good fortune, happiness, and above all, good health!    The Chinese New Year festivities period began on February 3rd and lasts 15 days, until February 17th.  新年快樂! 恭禧發財!

I have been out of the loop for the past couple of weeks and only stumbled across a tweet from Amber Koter-Puline regarding a Delawareonline.com article titled “Building A Sisterhood Among Moms-To-Be” that caught my attention.  Why did it catch my attention?  Well, specifically, the word “Sisterhood” caught my attention.   This is, I feel, so lacking in this society.  A society that used to be more about social support of new moms and their families during pregnancy and postpartum and is now based on a model of competitiveness, do-it-yourself, and the ever prevalent supermom myth.  And let’s not forget the 2-minute visits with the OB/GYN too.   The model upon which society and women’s healthcare are now based is, quite frankly, pitiful.

So, take a few minutes to read through that article and see if you agree with me that we need to have more of this type of approach in not just prenatal care, but postnatal care as well!   The article tells us about the Christiana Care’s Smyrna Health & Wellness Center and its group approach to prenatal care and how its patients feel.   It’s important for a woman who’s pregnant, especially for the first time, to feel empowered, confident and prepared, rather than apprehensive and feeling like she’s all alone in that apprehension.  To be able to participate in a group setting where advice and thoughts/feelings/concerns of other pregnant women are shared is extremely valuable and reflects the way it used to be when society was more social support-oriented.

They refer to their approach as Centering Pregnancy, which focuses on not just medical care but education and support…again, what you would’ve found back in the days of social support in days gone by (and in other cultures today).   This program, which is optional to patients of the Center, is limited to about a dozen women at a time and is comprised of 10 visits altogether.  These women would begin at around 4 months into their pregnancies.    Each appointment in the program takes about 1.5 to 2 hours.  In addition to the one-on-one time with the healthcare provider going over test results and other concerns, patients spend the majority of their time in the program with other pregnant mothers, listening to and sharing experiences with each other.  Healthcare providers also provide presentations to the group of women on topics related to pregnancy and wellness, including breastfeeding, nutrition, and postpartum depression (PPD).  Yes, even PPD!   

The benefits to such a program are many, including the fact that healthcare providers don’t need to repeatedly go over pregnancy and wellness topics individually with each patient because the information is provided all at once to the group of women in the program.  It’s important to note that there has been a reduction in the number of pre-term births for mothers enrolled in the program….I’m sure due to the lower anxiety levels in these mothers, as there is a correlation between high anxiety levels and pre-term births.   Additionally, many of the women become friends with each other during the program and stay in touch–even arranging playdates for their babies– after the program ends for them.   What I’d be interested in finding out is if there has been a reduction in the number of mothers with PPD as well…..though,  I have to say that I wouldn’t be a least bit surprised, since there is a correlation between high anxiety levels and PPD.

We DEFINITELY need more of these prenatal programs across the country IN ADDITION TO postnatal programs like Santa Barbara Postpartum Education and Support (SBPEP).

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2 thoughts on “Group Approach to Prenatal Care…Start of A New Trend, Hopefully

    • Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. Hope you stop by more often (and tell others about it)! 🙂

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