Group Prenatal Care

Three women sitting together in a group, two of them pregnant and smiling.

Group prenatal care gives you the chance to learn about pregnancy and childbirth alongside other pregnant women. Our Nurse-Midwifery group prenatal care program:

  • Teaches you more about pregnancy and childbirth than is possible in individual prenatal care.
  • Answers your questions, including questions you didn’t know you had, through open discussion.
  • Gives you a chance to build relationships with others at the same stage of pregnancy.
  • Helps you to build confidence through your pregnancy.

What is group prenatal care?

You attend some pregnancy care visits with a group of others who have similar due dates. The format we use is adapted from a national model called Centering Pregnancy. You can expect:

  • A nurse-midwife at each session.
  • About eight women and many of their partners in each group.
  • Prenatal care and a discussion/support circle at each visit.
  • Private time with the nurse-midwife at each session for a belly check.
  • Time to ask questions and express concerns.
  • To sign a confidentiality agreement to protect participants’ privacy.

What are the benefits of group prenatal care?

National studies comparing traditional and group prenatal care, reviewed in 2014 by OHSU researchers, found that women in group prenatal care:

  • Are more satisfied with care.
  • Have more pregnancy and childbirth knowledge.
  • Have lower rates of preterm birth.
  • Have lower rates of cesarean sections and low-birth-weight babies.
  • Have higher breastfeeding rates and tend to breastfeed for longer.
  • Feel more confident about labor and delivery.

OHSU study

A 2016 study by OHSU researchers compared women in group prenatal care with those who received traditional prenatal care. It found that the women in group care were more likely to arrive at the hospital in active labor (the cervix dilated to 4 centimeters or more).

Previous studies have shown that women with low-risk pregnancies who are admitted to the hospital before active labor are at higher risk for a C-section. The OHSU researchers concluded that group prenatal care may increase:

  • A woman’s confidence in handling early labor at home.
  • A woman’s satisfaction with her childbirth experience.
Two pregnant couples shown sitting together.

How does group prenatal care work?

Group care schedule:

  • At OHSU, you begin group sessions when you are between 20 and 22 weeks pregnant.
  • You attend seven sessions, each lasting about two hours.
  • Group care ends between 34 and 38 weeks of pregnancy.
  • You attend individual prenatal appointments in the weeks before and after the group sessions.

Structure of each session:

  • You check in and go to the meeting room; you don’t have to wait for an appointment.
  • You weigh yourself, take your blood pressure and record your results.
  • The nurse-midwife listens to your baby’s heart rate and measures your belly.

The discussion/support circle, led by the nurse-midwife, lasts about an hour. Topics include:

  • Your baby’s development
  • Nutrition, exercise and weight gain
  • How to tell when you’re in active labor and should go to the hospital
  • Coping with labor pain
  • Delivery of your baby and placenta
  • Breastfeeding
  • Family planning in the weeks after birth
  • Mood concerns, such as depression, after giving birth

Group prenatal care FAQ

The nurse-midwife examines you in a semi-private space. The group respects each woman’s private time with the nurse-midwife. The other women use the time to weigh themselves, prepare for the group session and chat.

You and the nurse-midwife will discuss this while she measures you. You can be examined in a private room after the group session.

The same way that you would be billed for routine prenatal care.

Other nurse-midwives may join us for some sessions. Also, you will see nurse-midwives for individual appointments before the group sessions start and after they end.

Yes. Please bring the same person to each session. Your partner will also be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement. Please do not bring children.

For patients

Call 503-418-4500:

  • To schedule an appointment.
  • If you’re pregnant, to schedule a free 20-minute “Get to Know You” appointment.

Learn about our midwifery care at Hillsboro Medical Center (formerly Tuality).

Location

Parking is free for patients and their visitors.

Kohler Pavilion, seventh floor
808 S.W. Campus Drive
Portland, OR 97239

Benefits of group prenatal care

A professional photo of Dr. Erica Coppola.

Learn five benefits of group prenatal care from certified nurse-midwife Dr. Erica Coppola.