March of Dimes awards grant for Centering Pregnancy Program

Shenandoah Women’s Healthcare has received a $28,000 grant from the March of Dimes to enhance their Centering Pregnancy Program.

Centering Pregnancy is an innovative approach to providing prenatal care in groups. Certified nurse-midwives at Shenandoah Women’s Healthcare have been piloting this project since December 2008, and now, thanks to the March of Dimes, all of their obstetricians and nurse-midwives will receive training to provide this premier prenatal care for women in the Shenandoah Valley.

Shenandoah Women’s Healthcare is the first pregnancy care provider in the Shenandoah Valley to offer the Centering Pregnancy model of prenatal care. Centering combines prenatal health assessment, education and support in a group setting of eight to twelve women whose babies are due at approximately the same time. Women who participate in the Centering program appreciate that they can be active participants in their own care, get to know other pregnant women, and feel better prepared to make decisions about their pregnancy and births.

This model of care is associated with decreased rates of preterm birth, increased breastfeeding initiation, psychosocial functioning and satisfaction with prenatal care. Preterm birth accounts for 35 percent of all U.S. health-care spending on infants. Previously there were not interventions available that have made significant impact on decreasing preterm birth rates.

The March of Dimes is now promoting Centering Pregnancy programs because of the potential to reduce preterm birth rates and infant mortality. In partnership with the March of Dimes, Shenandoah Women’s Healthcare shares these goals and aims to provide premium prenatal care, preparing expectant parents to be active participants in their pregnancies, births and early parenting experiences.

Edited by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at

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