What is Group Prenatal Care?
If you ask any of the midwives or doctors at Obstetrics & Gynecology Specialists “The Group”, they will likely tell you Group care is many times their favorite part of the day! It is an exciting alternative to traditional prenatal care that we have offered at The Group for the last 3 years. It involves placing woman/couples into group prenatal sessions based on the month their baby is due to arrive. These sessions are your prenatal visits, so no extra visits are needed. Each session starts with gathering in a friendly, open room where everyone can grab a healthy snack and drink that is provided and visit with the other people in their session. While doing so, women are getting their own weight and blood pressures and then meeting in a private corner with a midwife or doctor to answer any personal questions they may have and to listen to their baby’s heart beat and measure their belly.
Each session has a topic and often we have a guest come talk about something related to that topic. We have our in house nutritionist review healthy diet and exercise guidelines in pregnancy and discuss healthy meal planning. A local doula comes to talk about labor support and prenatal classes. A lactation consultant educates on breastfeeding, a dentist talks about the importance of dental hygiene in pregnancy and for children and touches on being aware of potential issue with breastfeeding including lip/tongue ties. We have a car seat specialist come to discuss transporting your baby safely and many other topics. We also take each group to Genesis to do a tour of the BirthCenter during one of our sessions.
These group sessions are very different from a traditional prenatal appointment since you have much more face to face time with your provider and have added time for education and asking questions. In a traditional visit you may have one question you can think of to ask, but here everyone is contributing, so many issues that may have come up for you over the last month may be discussed and options for management of those issues reviewed. Group care is a very interactive environment. The goal is not to make it a class lecture forum, but more of a open discussion amongst everyone in the group equally. Some of the topics covered are; nutrition, exercise, common discomforts in pregnancy, breastfeeding, birth control/family planning, preterm labor, signs of labor, pain medication options, newborn care, post partum depression and the new rolls of parenthood.
A time saving benefit of Group Care is that even though each session is 60 to 90 minutes in length, it always starts on time and ends on time, so sitting around in the waiting room is not an issue for those in Group Care. Each session is on the same time and day of the week and meets monthly in the beginning and then every 2 weeks towards the end of pregnancy. Women can easily know when their future appointments are and have plenty of time to get off work or arrange care for their children. And I’ve saved the best for last, research has shown that Group Care contributes to a lower risk of early delivery, better breastfeeding success rates, more consistent prenatal care, better knowledge about pregnancy and increases satisfaction with their care. Even women with higher risk pregnancies can be in Group care in addition to extra visits they may need to manage their issues. Many women/couples have formed lasting friendships with others in their group. Some even months/years later are getting together with their babies for play groups. I strongly encourage every woman/couple to consider Group Care for their next pregnancy!
Special thanks to Beth Carlson, (CNM, MS) at Obstetrics & Gynecology Specialists “The Group” for writing this post! We love working with local businesses and sharing information we know is relevant to our readers! We received cash payment, a gift, or something else of value to write it.