One of the programs that has worked particularly well in South Carolina is called Centering Pregnancy, which provides group prenatal care to women. It allows them to form bonds with providers and other pregnant women and it has been shown to improve birth outcomes.
Dr. Heather Schwartzberg, an OB-GYN with Lowcountry Women’s Specialists, and her colleagues introduced Centering Pregnancy at their practice last year. She said they take 10 to 12 expectant mothers whose due dates are around the same time and have them do their prenatal visits together. It’s an evidence-based model that is typically used to provide additional prenatal care and education to mothers. While Centering Pregnancy has been successful in many cases, it is not currently available to all pregnant women in the state. “I think that women helping women is a big factor,” Schwartzberg said. “We want this to reach all women.”
Moncks Corner resident and first-time mother Kayla Dorman is one of several expectant mothers going through the program at Schwartzberg’s practice. While she admits it was a little awkward in the beginning, after 38 weeks of pregnancy, she thinks the added educational and emotional support has been invaluable. “I truly think it should be the only way prenatal care is provided,” Dorman said.