Fourteen expectant mothers joined Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center Women’s Health Center staff for the first Centering Pregnancy session since 2020 at the hospital March 22.
Designed by the Centering Healthcare Institute, a non-profit organization that provides more effective prenatal care training to hospitals such as CRDAMC, Centering Pregnancy is group prenatal care bringing women out of examination rooms and into a more comfortable group setting.
“The sessions last about two hours. The women have their normal wellness checkup with the provider, and then they meet as a group with about 8-12 women that are due around the same time,” said Molly Hunter, centering pregnancy coordinator, CRDAMC.
In the group setting, they can engage in conversations with each other as well as with a subject matter expert, allowing them to not only get quality information, but to actively interact in the learning process, she said.
The women learn the benefits of building a support network in an environment where their significant other may be deployed, or where they too as Soldiers may be deployed, she added.
Centering pregnancy started at CRDAMC in 2008, but was officially initiated by Army Medicine in 2017.
Kristyn Leftridge, certified nurse midwife, CRDAMC, confirmed that the hospital’s centering program benefits what the Centering Healthcare Institute reports that centering moms are better prepared for labor, delivery, infant care, and make fewer after-hour calls and emergency visits because they better understand what is normal during pregnancy and what is cause for concern.
Leftridge adds that the level of stress is still the same for these expectant mothers.
“The stress level has not really changed. The stressors are going to be there, but the way the stressors are managed is much healthier, much more efficient,” she explained. “The group members are reaching out to each other. Instead of coming into the clinic constantly or worrying, they’re calling a friend.”
For more information about the Centering Program, visit https://centeringhealthcare.org, or call the CRDAMC program coordinator Molly Hunter at (254) 553-1554.