Why Centering Pregnancy? It’s good for moms and babies, before and after

By Meg Berreth, CNM, MSN

Meg Berreth, CNM, MSN

Centering Pregnancy is a group model of care during pregnancy — a wonderful way to receive routine prenatal care with other women who are due to deliver around the same time.

Pregnant women are grouped by due date and meet throughout the entire pregnancy. Patients have their individual assessments — basics such as weight, blood pressure, routine labs, individual concerns — as they would at a one-on-one prenatal visit at the beginning of the group meeting.

The remainder of the meeting time is spent reviewing a wide variety of educational content including information on breastfeeding, labor preparation, parenting, stress reduction, nutrition and much, much, more! The group is co-faciliated by a midwife and a nurse who are both trained in the Centering Pregnancy model. Patients are welcome to bring an adult support person with them or come on their own.

Research has shown that participating in Centering Pregnancy significantly reduces the risk of preterm birth. In addition, women who do group prenatal care report greater satisfaction with their care. I have been so thrilled to see how close the groups become through the pregnancy. We organize a reunion for all the participants after their babies are born and many of the groups continue to have reunions and play dates after their babies are born.

Centering Pregnancy can be wonderful for first-time mothers who may have much to learn about pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. However, the experienced moms in my Centering Pregnancy groups have told me that they really enjoyed their experience in Centering. For busy moms it is great to have time set aside to focus on their pregnancy and get all their questions answered. So often pregnant women have similar questions or concerns and allowing them time to hear each others questions provides such support. We have had speakers come in as well — doulas, lactation consultants and even a yoga instructor.

Abby Fisher and baby Logan

A local mother and business manager at UNC OB-GYN, Abby Fisher was in our first-ever Centering group. She was also the first patient to deliver! Her son Logan was born July 5, 2015. She said this of Centering:

“It was a wonderful experience. UNC Midwives Meg Berreth and Kim Hamden were great group leaders, and it was a really positive way to build a network of support during pregnancy and after. I didn’t think of it while pregnant, but it is a large benefit to know other mamas of kiddos around the same age as my little guy. We have all sorts of questions for each other, and they always seem to get exactly where I’m coming from in that very moment,” Fisher said.

My Centering groups are the highlight of my week! The time to get to know patients and their partners better and to see the connections that the women make through the groups is so meaningful.

We are so excited to have a new space for Centering Pregnancy at the new UNC OB-GYN Weaver Crossing location, which will allow us to have more Centering groups in a comfortable convenient space. Stay tuned!

Meg Berreth is a certified nurse midwife at the UNC Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.