Selected Podcast

The Benefits of Centering During Pregnancy and Post-Partum

You can find more satisfaction with your maternity and post partum care experience by taking part in CenteringPregnancy at Tidelands Health.

How does CenteringPregnancy work?

You'll meet regularly with a nurse-midwife and several women in similar stages of pregnancy for health assessments, education and peer support. The program is linked to increased birth weight and gestational age of pre-term newborns, making CenteringPregnancy good for both you and your baby.

Listen in as Callie Meeks, MD., shares what you need to know about CenteringPregnancy and how it can benefit you and your baby during pregnancy and post partum.
The Benefits of Centering During Pregnancy and Post-Partum
Featured Speaker:
Callie Meeks, MD
Dr. Callie Meeks is a Obstetrician/ Gynecologist with Carolina OB/GYN and Tidelands Health.

Learn more about Dr. Callie Meeks

Bill Klaproth (Host): For pregnant women positive health outcomes have been shown for those who participate in a centering pregnancy group. Here to talk to us about centering, its benefits during pregnancy and postpartum is Dr. Callie Meeks an OB/GYN at Tidelands Health. Dr. Meeks thanks for your time today. So please explain to us what is centering?

Dr. Callie Meeks (Guest): Thanks for having me Bill. Centering pregnancy care is Group prenatal care. It has been show to provide benefits to both the mother and the baby. It welcomes first time moms as well as moms who have been pregnant before. And it was designed for low risk pregnancies. Centering begins after your initial prenatal office visit with an obstetrician and it continues with 9 to 10 two hour session in which about 8 to 12 women with similar due dates meet.

Bill: And why is this beneficial during pregnancy and postpartum?

Dr. Meeks: It actually shows improved pregnancy outcomes such as decreased preterm birth rates meaning decreased neonatal ICU admission. It increases breast-feeding rates which is very important for the mom and for the baby. And it improves patient satisfaction with their prenatal care. It has also been linked to higher utilization of family-planning services postpartum. For the patient centering it makes them feel more supported and better educated as well.

Bill: So that's part of it, so give us a little bit more what is it about the group sessions and the longer time frame that really works in their favor for a woman who is pregnant.

Dr. Meeks: I think it makes the patients feel more comfortable knowledge is power and so they're having these two hour sessions with women who are going through the same time and their pregnancy as other women and they're able to support each other and talk through concerns that they have, which is important to women. It also makes you feel like you're being heard and supported all around.

Bill: So I imagine that peer support is very important.

Dr. Meeks: Absolutely absolutely.

Bill: And where do the centering pregnancy group sessions take place?

Dr. Meeks: They take place in our office at Carolina OB/GYN. We have two offices one in Murrells inlet and one in Georgetown and we have a room that's big enough for all of the women as well as their significant others to meet. So they put the chairs in a circle so it's like a group setting and one of our certified midwives leads the group and facilitate the discussion on several different pregnancy topics. Some of those topics are common changes in pregnancy they talk about diet, exercise, breast-feeding, family planning, relationships in the family, family violence and abuse, parenting, and then emotional changes associated with pregnancy.

Bill: OK so a bunch of wide range of topics in the centering pregnancy group. Now you've mentioned before low risk. Can you go a little bit more in depth, who is an ideal candidate for centering pregnancy?

Dr. Meeks: So you're all right centering was designed for low risk pregnancies. So that traditionally meant people who didn't have to multiply just Station, so twins or triplets, it meant women who didn't have preeclampsia or high blood pressure or diabetes in pregnancy or heart problems. So that is what it was originally designed for. However in the past several years I would say we have been co-managing some of the higher risk pregnancies with one on one appointment with the physician. So it means that the patient who you may have preeclampsia or high blood pressure or twin pregnancies or diabetes they attend the centering but they are also co-managed by a physician because we know centering has such great benefits for both the mom and the baby that we can kind of co-manage with the physician. And that means to improve patient satisfaction.

Bill: And if you could give us a little bit more comparison to, how is centering different from one on one prenatal care in the exam room?

Dr. Meeks: So our traditional prenatal visit with a physician are short. You talk, you ask if they have any concerns or complaints, you might talk about what's going on at the gestational age that day, you listen to the baby's heart beat and you measure the uterus but it's a short visit. Centering patients receiving education in a group setting. So again they have more time to discuss these different topics of pregnancy, they have time to discuss concerns that they're having, they can get feedback and support from the women going through the same things in their pregnancy at the same gestational age. Also with in the centering pregnancy group they still have one on one time with their provider so one at a time they take their own blood pressure, they check their weight, and they get private time with their provider so that they can have their uterus measured and the fetal heart tones obtained. So it's almost like a one on one within a group setting for them.

Bill: So does the group then continue to meet postpartum?

Dr. Meeks: So actually they have a reunion where they bring the postpartum babies and everybody gets to meet each other's baby and check in and talk about postpartum or talk about their deliveries and kind of have that support back and celebrate the babies that they've had.

Bill: Wow that's really cool. So if a woman is hearing this and interested in, what do they need to do to get into a centering pregnancy group?

Dr. Meeks: So after their initial visit with their obstetrician they can join centering. The other good thing about centering is that it begins on time and it ends on time and they are two hour sessions so you always know when they’re going to meet. And they also buy healthy snacks so that’s an incentive as well. But after their initial prenatal visit we normally try to schedule them in a centering group if they are interested. They will meet until about 36 weeks and then at that time they will be returned to their traditional prenatal care with their provider.

Bill: And I imagine women develop lifelong friendships out of this.

Dr. Meeks: That is exactly right so the centering encourages active participation, it helps build lasting relationships, and it induces support among these pregnant patients.

Bill: And Dr. Meeks is there anything else we should know about centering pregnancy?

Dr. Meeks: I'm just impressed and really happy that it has shown all of these improved pregnancy outcomes and I think that it's a different way to get prenatal care and I think in some ways it's a better way to provide prenatal care.

Bill: Do you see this becoming the norm in the future?

Dr. Meeks: I do think in South Carolina there's a South Carolina Birth Outcomes Initiative that is encouraging hospitals and other practices to take on centering. So I think that at one time we had about 13 certified sites in South Carolina and I think now we are up to 19 or 20. So I think that a lot of people are getting on board with this and seeing the benefits to centering.

Bill: Well the outcomes are so positive it seems like it would be a good idea and something that would be wonderful to catch on and grow in the future. Well Dr. Meeks thank you again for talking to us about centering. For more information about Tidelands Health physicians, services, and facilities visit This is Better Health Radio, I’m Bill Klaproth, thanks for listening.