Centering Yourself for a Healthy Pregnancy
Frustrated by short prenatal visits that leave you with more questions than answers? You might be a candidate for the latest trend in prenatal care.
While the women frequently quiet each others pregnancy fears -- exploring
symptoms and solutions together -- still, that's only a small part of what each
"I've had group talks about mother-in-laws, about sex, about fears of
raising a baby, fears of giving birth -- you name it, we've discussed it, which
is something I probably would never get to do with a patient in a private
setting," says Bernstein.
Magriples says the sense of entitlement that follows carries these women
clear into labor and delivery.
"Even the nurses comment that they can always tell the patients who have
gone through group; they are calmer, more prepared, have all the answers
instead of asking all the questions, and they just seem to come through the
experience with a lot more confidence," Magriples tells WebMD.
Additionally Rising says the groups are also instrumental in helping the
women change important health habits, the benefits of which can carry far
"They find themselves exchanging junk food for a healthy diet, quitting
smoking, stopping drinking, and in some instances turning away from substance
abuse -- something that is very difficult to accomplish with provider influence
alone," says Rising.
In the first study of Centering Pregnancy -- published in the journal
Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2003 -- researchers found that the group model
resulted in delivery of infants with higher birth weight, especially infants
Another plus: More than 90% of the women in group go on to breastfeed, which
Magriples says is a "phenomenal success story in the clinic
For babies, studies have suggested that breastfeeding can reduce the risk
and severity of many infections and may cut risk of sudden infant death
syndrome. It reduces the rates of obesity, diabetes, asthma, and other health
problems later in life.
According to the CDC, 14 states in the U.S. have achieved the national
Healthy People 2010 objective of 75% of mothers initiating breastfeeding;
whereas only six states have achieved the objective of having 50% of mothers
breastfeeding their children at 6 months of age and merely eight states have
25% of mothers breastfeeding their children at 12 months of age.