If you’re new to CenteringPregnancy®, you may have a lot of questions about your first visit, especially if you’re only familiar with one-on-one appointments with your OB/GYN or midwife. Don’t worry — having questions about this new experience is normal.
Each CenteringPregnancy® visit includes self-led health assessments, a belly check with your healthcare provider and group discussion time. Meetings generally start at 16 weeks of pregnancy and continue through your due date month. The group will include eight to 12 expecting moms who are all due around the same time.
It’s important to bring up any concerns with your prenatal care team prior to your first CenteringPregnancy® visit, as they will be able to provide more detailed information about the experience and what to expect. In the meantime, here are answers to some of the common questions around CenteringPregnancy® visits.
What does the health assessment entail?
For most women, each CenteringPregnancy® visit starts with a health assessment. During the health assessment, your care team will show you how to take your own blood pressure, weight and health data, which you will record in your medical chart. You will check this data each week and track your progress throughout your pregnancy.
Some women may not be able to complete the health assessment before the group discussion starts. If that is the case, the health assessments may continue to take place during a break time halfway through the visit.
Will I be able to meet with my provider privately?
Every CenteringPregnancy® visit includes one-on-one time with your doctor or midwife for a private belly check. Your care team will use this time to take measurements and potentially do ultrasounds to assess your baby’s health and growth. Belly checks my take place at the beginning of the visit or during the break time.
During your belly check you can bring up any personal questions or concerns that you may not feel comfortable bringing up with the group. We will ensure each woman gets the privacy she needs with her provider to ensure sensitive information is kept confidential.
What will we talk about during group discussion?
Most of your CenteringPregnancy® visit will be made up of group discussion time with the moms and members of your care team. During this time, your care team will lead discussions and interactive activities that aim to answer some of the major questions and concerns many expecting moms face. We will talk about topics including:
- Stress management
- Pain management and common discomforts
- Labor and delivery
- Infant care
In addition to the planned topics, we will also be sure to leave time for the moms to ask questions and talk about any topics that may be on their mind.
With these group discussions, we hope to help women feel more confident about motherhood and provide them with an environment where they can find support and friendship from other moms.
How much am I required to share during the CenteringPregnancy® group discussion?
While we encourage participation from everyone in the group, it’s important to remember that no one is required to share during the CenteringPregnancy® meetings. If you feel hesitant sharing your thoughts early on, don’t worry — many moms feel more comfortable as time goes on.
Am I allowed to bring someone with me?
Every participant is allowed to bring a spouse, partner or support person to the CenteringPregnancy® visits. This person can help you with your health assessments, sit with you during the belly check and participate in the group discussion.
How long will the CenteringPregnancy® visit last?
Each CenteringPregnancy® visit lasts between 90 minutes and two hours. This gives you 10 times the average time as a typical office visit with your healthcare provider.
If you have more questions about CenteringPregnancy® please call Chesapeake Women’s Health at 410-820-0338.
Ginny Bowers is a Certified Nurse Midwife and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) at Chesapeake Women’s Health in Easton.