February 1, 2008 (Flushing, NY)– Flushing Hospital Medical Center has recently established the first ÛÏCentering Pregnancy ProgramÛ in Queens. The program replaces traditional well-visits with two-hour group sessions and helps to examine the impact of group versus individual prenatal care on birth weight and gestational age. It has made a revolutionary change in the delivery of prenatal care available to selected patients as part of a Yale University research study.
ÛÏThe [Centering Pregnancy] program should prove to be extremely beneficial to pregnant women in our community,Û explained Dr. Allan Jacobs, Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. ÛÏIn fact, previous studies have already indicated that group prenatal care decreases pregnancy complications and premature births.Û
The first group of participants, young women between the ages of 14 and 21, with expected due dates in May, met for the first of ten sessions on December 4th and had their second session on January 8, 2008. Similar to typical prenatal visits, sessions are monthly but increase with frequency as participants near their due dates.
At these sessions, expectant mothers actively participate in their prenatal care. According to the Centering Pregnancy and Parenting Association (CPPA), patients are instructed on how to take their weight, blood pressure, estimate their gestational age, and record this information on a chart. The group facilitator listens to the baby’s heart beat, checks for uterine growth, and talks individually about specific problems and concerns a patient may have. All sonograms and other necessary testing will take place as traditional individual prenatal care.
Each session also allows the women to explore, through sharing, various topics. These topics include: nutrition, exercise/relaxation, childbirth preparation, pregnancy problems, infant care and feeding, postpartum issues, communication and self-esteem, comfort measures, sexuality, abuse issues, and parenting.
Currently, the group has a mix of first-time mothers as well as women who have had children already, all decided to participate in group prenatal care for a variety reasons. First-time mother, Angelica Gomez joined the group as a way to meet other expecting mothers and for comfort.
ÛÏThe first group session was great and exactly what I expected,Û said Ms. Gomez. ÛÏI felt comfortable.Û
She also stated that she would recommend the program to all expecting moms, especially if this is their first time.
ÛÏYou get to learn from them and their experiences and it makes the whole pregnancy experience less frightening,Û she added.
The group is led by Certified Nurse Midwife Joan Hughes and Florizel McCatty, the Assistant Head Nurse of the Ambulatory Care WomenÛªs Health Unit. The program is supported by a social worker, an HIV counselor, a dietician, a health educator, and a medical assistant. All staff members participated in a two-day training session organized by CPPA.
FHMCÛªs involvement in this program is supported by a grant provided by the Clinical Directors Network.
The program is open to all women and Flushing Hospital anticipates launching several additional groups. For more information about the Centering Pregnancy Program, please contact FlushingÛªs Ambulatory Care WomenÛªs Health Unit at 718-670-8994.
Flushing Hospital Medical CenterÛªs mission is to provide superior service to patients and the community in a caring environment. FHMC serves a population greater than 1.9 million in Queens. Last year, FHMC physicians performed approximately 2,200 deliveries. With the addition of eight new Labor Delivery & Recovery suites, Flushing Hospital has displayed its commitment to the community to provide the most positive birthing experience. Flushing Hospital also has a well-established Early Intervention program and an Infant Apnea program. For additional information on the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Ambulatory Care WomenÛªs Health Unit, please call 718-206-6020.