Centering Pregnancy Now at Mercy Medical Center

February 09, 2023


Representatives of Mercy Medical Center and Metropolitan OB-GYN announced a new initiative to provide soon-to-be mothers with additional resources, group education and support: The Centering Pregnancy program.

Centering provides group prenatal care for women 12 to 36 weeks pregnant and then addresses individual needs with follow-up, one-on-one appointments from 37 to 40 weeks of pregnancy.

According to Kia Hollis, CNM, who oversees the program, Centering assists women receiving care at urban centers which emphasize under-served, minority women at high risk for low birth weight and pre-term delivery.

Centering group prenatal care follows the recommended schedule of 10 prenatal visits, but each visit is about two hours long, giving women much more time with their provider.

Once health assessments are complete, the provider and support staff "circle-up" with moms and support people, addressing important and timely health topics while leaving room to discuss what is important to the group. Centering materials ensure that everything from nutrition, common discomforts, stress management, labor and delivery, breastfeeding, and infant care are covered.

"Moms who participate in Centering are less likely to have a premature baby and have higher breastfeeding rates. They also feel more confident about making healthy decisions for their families and themselves. Because Centering includes the mom's prenatal check-ups, they also have more time with their family while getting extra attention from their care team," said Hollis.

Group prenatal care programs like Centering allow moms to spend more time learning key issues, like healthy weight gain, breastfeeding and the birthing process. Moms in group prenatal care tend to have lower rates of gestational diabetes, greater success with breastfeeding and lower rates of excessive weight gain.

In addition, the program features interactive components including cooking classes, prenatal yoga, and belly casting.

The Centering Pregnancy program finds its roots in the work of the Centering Healthcare Institute (CHI), a nonprofit established in 2001. Centering is a model of group health care with three components - healthcare, interactive learning, and community building - provided in a group facilitated by a credentialed health provider and a co-facilitator who is a nurse or other appropriate staff member.

About Mercy

Founded in 1874 in Downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed, acute care, university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a high-performing Maryland hospital (U.S. News & World Report); has achieved an overall 5-Star quality, safety, and patient experience rating (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services); is A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade); and is certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet™ hospital. Mercy Health Services is a not-for-profit health system and the parent company of Mercy Medical Center and Mercy Personal Physicians.

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