Group Prenatal Care Option
Attend prenatal care visits with other women who share similar due dates.
Group Prenatal Care combines your prenatal care with a discussion and support group.
We are happy to invite you to participate in a wonderful and different kind of prenatal care. Group prenatal care is used in many settings across the United States, primarily through a program called Centering Pregnancy. Surveys have found a 96 percent satisfaction rate among women who participated in Centering Pregnancy care.
We love this model of care because it means we have the opportunity to spend more time getting to know you before your birth. Many pregnant women enjoy sharing their experiences and ideas with others who are pregnant. We based our format for Group Prenatal Care on the Centering Pregnancy model and then adapted it to fit well with our patients.
OHSU Nurse Midwives believe that Group Prenatal Care allows our patients to:
- Gain power and confidence throughout pregnancy.
- Receive in-depth health education (beyond what is possible in a traditional model of care).
- Strengthen their community networks during their transition to motherhood.
- Be more knowledgeable as health care consumers.
Women who have participated in Centering Pregnancy group prenatal care have been found to have:
- Higher levels of satisfaction with prenatal care.
- Lower numbers of inductions and medication use in labor.
- Higher levels of pregnancy knowledge.
- Fewer emergency room visits during the pregnancy.
During your first visit with the nurse, she will review your history and get you started with your care by ordering lab tests or ultrasounds as needed.
At the next appointment, you will meet with the nurse-midwife for 40 minutes. Your physical exam will be completed and any specific concerns you may have will be addressed.
Group prenatal care will begin at about 15-18 weeks. You and 5-8 other women, all due around the same time, will arrive at our clinic. After checking in at the front desk, you will go to the meeting room immediately (no waiting for your appointment!).
When you arrive, a nurse will greet you. There will be time to weigh yourself, take your blood pressure and record this information on your record. You’ll have time to socialize with the other women and read about various heath topics.
The midwife will measure your abdomen and listen to the baby’s heartbeat in a semi-private corner of the room. Any personal concerns will then be addressed.
Once everyone is assembled, the group session will begin. It will last about an hour. The nurse-midwife and nurse will sit with you and guide a conversation on a variety of topics about pregnancy, labor, birth and parenting.
Your entire session will last two hours. The schedule of the visits is arranged before the first class. So, you will have all of your prenatal visits booked from the start.
In general, your group will meet every month for a few months and then every two weeks until the end of your pregnancy. Your midwife, nurse and group of women will be the same throughout your pregnancy. As you can imagine, some groups of women choose to continue to get together on their own after the babies are born.
Do women feel uncomfortable being examined in the same room as the group meeting?
Once women see that we provide a separate space in the corner that is mostly screened off, their concerns about this lessen. Because each woman values her own time with the midwife, other women respect your individual time with the midwife. They are busy weighing themselves, looking over resource information, preparing for the group session and checking in with each other.
What if I need a private exam?
You and the midwife will discuss this while she measures you., If needed, you can be examined in a private room after class.
Can my partner come to the sessions?
We welcome your partner at these sessions. He or she will be asked to sign a confidentiality statement also. If you choose to bring someone, we ask that you try to bring the same person each time. Children are not included in these sessions for reasons of privacy and disruption.
How will you bill me for this?
This falls under routine prenatal care, so there will be no difference in how you are billed for group care.
I understand that the same midwife and nurse work with the group each session. How will I meet the other midwives?
At various sessions, guest midwives from our practice may join us.
I always knew I wanted to work with a midwife when I finally got pregnant, but the decision to participate in prenatal centering was more difficult - would I get personal attention? Would my individual concerns get lost in the group? Would it be the same experience I was hoping for? In fact, centering turned out to be better than I could've imagined. Being a part of this diverse group of women, all of us experiencing our first pregnancy, was, without reservation, the best healthcare experience I have had. Every visit combined personal prenatal care, an opportunity for confidential questions to be answered, as well as meeting as a group. I felt so connected to the other women - it was a comfort to know that others were going through exactly what I was! It was more than a healthcare group - we created, with the guidance of our midwife, a community of strength, support, and confidence in pregnancy and birth, regardless of our backgrounds or birth plans.
As I did not make a deliberate decision to seek group prenatal care, I was not entering the experience with any preconceived expectations. However, I found the additional time with the midwives, and the comments, stories and questions from the other expectant mothers dramatically enriched my pregnancy. It would be impossible for a single expectant mother to voice all of her concerns in single 20-minute office visits. However, since so many women share the same thoughts during pregnancy, much more is covered in a group setting. Topics introduced by the midwives often expanded or morphed into very different, and valuable, conversations.
It influenced my birth because, by the time I delivered, I had met enough of the midwives and spent enough time with the OHSU professionals that I had complete faith in their abilities to assist me in having the birth that I wanted for my baby. Their universal calm, composed and professional demeanor assured me that whoever would be in the birthing room was perfect for me. Knowing that the other expectant moms were undergoing the same experiences at roughly the same time as me, with the same fears, expectations, and excitement, was incredibly supporting.
I think it was apparent to all of us in the group that we could discuss anything (and we did). So there was almost nothing I was not comfortable raising in group. If there was, I raised it in the private moments with the midwife during the session. The option of making a supplementary private appointment was always made available as well.
I am looking forward to making this journey with everyone. I am so happy that OHSU offers this unique experience. Thanks so much!