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March of Dimes awards grant to Augusta Health Care for Women to improve health of mothers, babies

Expectant moms will have a new option in prenatal care thanks to a grant awarded to Augusta Health Care for Women by the Piedmont/Shenandoah Valley Division of the March of Dimes. The grant of over $40,000 will be used to initiate and support a Centering Pregnancy® Program at AHCFW. This grant is one of many that the March of Dimes has awarded in pursuit of its mission to prevent birth defects and infant mortality.

Developed by Centering Healthcare Institute, Centering Pregnancy® is being offered across the country including University affiliated groups such as the University of Kentucky, Vanderbilt University, University of California and Virginia Commonwealth University. March of Dimes commitment to Centering Pregnancy® is based in part on the results of a study conducted at Yale and Emory Universities which indicated prenatal care provided in this format was found to lower the risk of preterm birth by as much as 33 percent.

“Augusta Health Care for Women has always been a forward thinking group of professionals and is committed to providing access to the most-up-to-date healthcare options of proven effectiveness. Our partnership with the March of Dimes and Centering Healthcare Institute is an integral part of our efforts to aid in healthier moms and full-term babies,” said Angie McMillan, practice manager.

Centering Pregnancy® brings expectant moms and their support partners out of the exam room and into an interactive setting. This innovative, total-care approach not only provides the necessary prenatal medical care, evaluation and monitoring, but also empowering education and emotional support. The program provides the same level of prenatal care provided in the traditional office setting, allows additional time for education about pregnancy related issues, and encourages sharing among participants.

Mothers-to-be will have an initial confirmation of pregnancy appointment with their health care provider and then have the option of traditional one-on-one care or can chose to take advantage of the Centering Pregnancy® Program.

“We will use the March of Dimes grant as seed money to meet our objective of providing mothers and babies with Centering Pregnancy®,” indicated certified nurse midwife Mary Kwiecinski. “We are grateful to those volunteers who support the March of Dimes by participating in events like March for Babies and who donate in other ways. Those donations and participation make this grant possible”, she added.

The March of Dimes is a national voluntary health agency whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. Founded in 1938, the March of Dimes funds programs of research, community services, education, and advocacy to save babies and in 2003 launched a campaign to address the increasing rate of premature birth. For more information, visit the March of Dimes website at or its Spanish language website at