Tripler hosts prenatal care group for mothers

| July 1, 2016 | 0 Comments
Six Tripler Centering Pregnancy Program patients pose for a picture with their newborns during a reunion. The centering program conducts a reunion session after the babies are born in order to discuss postpartum issues, reconnect with the group and to answer any last questions the mothers may be having.

Six Tripler Centering Pregnancy Program patients pose for a picture with their newborns during a reunion. The centering program conducts a reunion session after the babies are born in order to discuss postpartum issues, reconnect with the group and to answer any last questions the mothers may be having.

Story and photo by William Sallette
Tripler Army Medical Center

HONOLULU — For pregnant women needing the right guidance so they don’t feel they’ve left anything out, Tripler Army Medical Center has its Centering Pregnancy Program.

The program offers prenatal care in small groups of eight to 12 women who are all going through pregnancy. The Centering Pregnancy Program covers regular health check-ups with additional time for learning and sharing. Tripler began the program in May 2014, and the first group delivered their babies in October 2014.

“I believe this program is the best way for low-risk moms to get prenatal care,” said Christine Host, TAMC Centering Pregnancy coordinator. “Information is not hard to access in this digital age, but putting it together in a way that makes sense to the patient and her family is the challenge. What are reliable online sources? What does that information mean to the patient? Do they understand the information and feel understood? Do they have realistic expectations? Our goal is to help patients and families understand the information and make informed decisions.”

The program starts after the mother’s first trimester and moms-to-be meet with a health care provider and other women who are due around the same time.  The group meets for about 10 sessions throughout the pregnancy and everyone has the opportunity to ask their questions, share advice and experiences.

The program can be a way for patients to learn and experience their pregnancy with other pregnant women. Each session is two hours long, in the presence of a health care expert. This allows for time to answer any questions that the patients may have. Expecting mothers can also participate in interactive learning that will let them experience their pregnancy in a new and rewarding way through discussions instead of lectures.

“I love to see friendships grow, to see parents grow, and to see patients meeting each other’s needs for support and information,” Host said. “Most patients express that they really like meeting other moms, and many times they end up creating a great support structure within the group itself.”

For most pregnant women, there are routine check-ups done throughout the pregnancy. Traditional check-ups are done in a clinic with the patient’s primary care manager and not in a group setting with other moms who are preparing to go through the same experience.

“The best thing for me is the time we spent asking and answering the questions that are rarely covered in a 15-minute check-up,” said Anna Saenz, a Centering patient. “It’s nice to be able to get together with other soon-to-be moms and discuss things that other moms may not have thought about yet. This is my second child, but my first time going through the program and I still learn something new with every session.”

This group is not only for the mothers-to-be. Spouses, partners or other support people are encouraged to join in order to support and be a part of this experience.

“This program was extremely helpful in that it got me ready for everything once it was time for her to give birth,” said Sgt. Jeffrey Spencer, 715th Military Intelligence Battalion and who joined with other parents supporting expecting mothers.  “It was nice having other dads in the group as well.  It gave us an opportunity to understand more and prepare with our spouses.”

TAMC’s Centering  Pregnancy Program

The Centering Pregnancy Program addresses concerns that are important to patients, but not always at the top of the list for healthcare providers during a traditonal check-up. Parents and loved ones learn about parenting, building a support network, relaxation and stress management.

One to two groups are started each month. Centering is appropriate for low-risk moms who meet certain criteria and at the discretion of the provider facilitator.  Enrollment in the program occurs after the obstetrician physical exam appointment and prior to 24 weeks gestation. Attendance is expected at all sessions after enrollment. One support person is allowed per patient due to space restrictions, and it should be the same person for all sessions. 

Talk to your healthcare provider if you are interested in this program, or call the Centering Pregnancy Program Coordinator at 433-4593. 

Tripler Centering Pregnancy Program patients discuss a number of topics during a group session. The centering group is moderated by two midwives and covers every aspect of the birth from morning sickness to postpartum concerns.

Tripler Centering Pregnancy Program patients discuss a number of topics during a group session. The centering group is moderated by two midwives and covers every aspect of the birth from morning sickness to postpartum concerns.

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