The Centering Pregnancy Program at UCSF Women's Health Center takes women out of exam rooms and into groups for their prenatal care. Women complete the conventional medical history and physical exam in a doctor's office or clinic and then are invited to join a group of eight to 12 women or couples who have similar due dates.
Centering Pregnancy Program
Groups — which are formed between 12 and 16 weeks of pregnancy — meet regularly throughout the pregnancy. The groups continue to meet through the postpartum period, meeting every month for four months and then bi-weekly.
Centering Pregnancy was piloted in the early 1990s by a nurse-midwife, Sharon Schindler Rising, who initiated centering groups in a hospital clinic, a community health center and a private office in Waterbury, Conn. Now there are sites in almost all of the 50 states and some foreign countries.
These groups promote:
- Better birth outcomes
- More provider and patient contact
- Patient empowerment and learning
- Support and friendship among group members
The groups have scheduled appointments and discuss health concerns and expectations in a supportive setting, where healthy snacks and refreshments are served.