Ohio prenatal group support program helps prepare moms-to-be

ProMedica’s “Centering Pregnancy” program includes two-hour sessions in group settings.

TOLEDO, Ohio – Having a baby brings joy, of course, but it also brings worry and lots of questions from expectant mothers.

“The twins were like, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing,’” recalls Kayla Smith, a mother of three.

She had twins eight years ago, but says she had to relearn the pregnancy journey pretty much when she found out a little girl was about to arrive. Fortunately, she found a new kind of support. She says, “I felt so prepared to have this baby.”

She says it is thanks to ProMedica’s Centering Pregnancy program.

“Centering is the type of group care that allows you, as a provider, to spend more time with patients. You get to know them. You connect with them and can help them with essentially any needs they have.” Says LPN, Kristina Shaffer.

The group’s prenatal care sessions last two hours, with eight mothers in one group. This is much longer than a traditional prenatal appointment of around 15 minutes.

The mothers also have one-on-one interviews with a midwife during each session. “I felt like I was with friends and I can just ask all the questions and be open about how I was feeling. And all the questions I had because I had a baby eight years ago,” says Kayla .

Kayla says she was confident when it was time to have her baby and the nurses and midwives say it was obvious in the delivery room. “They can clearly see who went through this program because they are asking relevant questions. There is a lot more education about labor support and breastfeeding support during the visits,” says Alexandria Munson, midwifery nurse.

The mothers are also trained to record their own vital signs and keep tabs on things like blood pressure, which can help prevent premature delivery.

Kayla recommends focusing on other mothers and saying that she has made lasting friends. “We talk in a group and talk almost every other day. We plan out monthly trips so we can all get together and the babies can be friends,” she says.

When you want to register, ask your OB for a transfer. If this program is successful in Toledo, ProMedica hopes to provide follow-up care for babies up to 2 years of age as well.

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