(25 Apr 2019) IN AN UNUSUAL KIND OF MEDICAL VISIT, WOMEN DO THEIR OWN BLOOD PRESSURE CHECKS, GET THEIR GROWING BELLIES MEASURED AND SHARE QUESTIONS ON CRAMPS, CRAVINGS AND CAR SEATS.
PARTNERS ARE INVITED BUT MOMS-TO-BE TAKE CENTER STAGE. GROUP PRENATAL VISITS HELP THEM TAKE CHARGE OF THEIR OWN PREGNANCY CARE.
SOUNDBITE (English) Nurse-midwife Dolly Pressley Byrd, Mountain Area Health Education Center clinic, Asheville, North Carolina:
“It’s pretty much patient led, so even though the nurse and I will facilitate the conversation, a lot of the patients will begin to talk about solutions, things that work for them, comfort relief, comfort measures, that sort of thing.”
THE INFORMAL VISITS EMPHASIZE THINGS LIKE HEALTHY EATING, MANAGING ANXIETY AND STRESS, PLUS LABOR AND DELIVERY ISSUES.
THE LOW-KEY APPROACH IS HARDLY HIGH-TECH, BUT THE BENEFITS GO BEYOND CAMARADERIE. SOME STUDIES SHOW THEY INCLUDE FEWER PRETERM BIRTHS AND MORE BREASTFEEDING.
THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF OBSTETRICIANS AND GYNECOLOGISTS RECENTLY ENDORSED GROUP VISITS AS A PROMISING ALTERNATIVE TO TRADITIONAL PRENATAL CARE.
SOUNDBITE (English) DR. ANN BORDERS, Northshore University Health System, Evanston, Illinois:
“We are really interested in understanding how it is that improvements in social support, reductions in psychosocial stress, may actually change a woman’s physiology during pregnancy and may lead to improved birth outcomes.”
ONLY ABOUT 3 PERCENT OF U.S. WOMEN RECEIVE GROUP PRENATAL CARE. IT TYPICALLY STARTS WITH MONTHLY TWO-HOUR VISITS AND MORE FREQUENT MEETINGS LATER ON. KAILEE MOREL ALVAREZ SAYS SHE WAS SOLD AFTER HER FIRST VISIT.
SOUNDBITE (English) Kailee Morel Alvarez:
“I was really scared like what if something happens _ it happens in the early stages usually, so I was really worried about that but it was definitely reassuring coming to the group and being able to hear all of the stories from everyone.”
THE LAST SESSION IS A CELEBRATION OF BIRTH. NEW MOMS GET A CHANCE TO LOOK BACK ON THEIR SHARED JOURNEY AND AHEAD TO NEWLY FORGED FREINDSHIPS.
A BONDING EXPERIENCE THAT HELPS MOTHER AND CHILD.
LINDSEY TANNER, ASSOCIATED PRESS, ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA
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