The New Pittsburgh Courier has learned that Healthy Start and The Midwife Center (TMC) will soon offer “CenteringPregnancy,” a group prenatal care model that has been shown to decrease racial disparities in preterm birth rates. Funders, government officials, community partners and others are invited to a program kickoff event that will take place, Wednesday, March 15, from 4-5 p.m. at The Midwife Center at 2831 Penn Avenue, Strip District. The event will feature a presentation about the Centering Pregnancy Program by staff members of Healthy Start and The Midwife Center. Tours of The Midwife Center will follow the presentation.
Starting in late March, pregnant clients can join a cohort of peers due in the same month for prenatal care at The Midwife Center. The program follows the recommended 10 prenatal visit schedule, but each visit is 2 hours for clients to have more time with a provider, engage in conversation, and learn about nutrition, stress management, breastfeeding, labor, delivery, and more. Each client also receives private time with their provider for a belly check.
DeJané Dozier, MSN, CNM, a TMC midwife who will serve as the lead provider, says, “Centering Pregnancy is used across the country. It is a great way to bond with other pregnant people, to learn and discuss pregnancy topics, and to receive your prenatal care all in one. And it has been shown to improve outcomes for both the pregnant person and baby!”
This partnership will combine CenteringPregnancy with the midwifery model of care, which emphasizes client-centered, safe, and supportive care. Healthy Start, an experienced local CenteringPregnancy facilitator, will collaborate with TMC to provide educational opportunities, resources, and referrals to the group. Enrollment in Healthy Start also grants participants access to a holistic support network of home visiting, doulas, fatherhood programming, and more. “Partnering with TMC to offer the Centering model of prenatal care gives us an opportunity to help our moms rethink their circle of support during their pregnancy,” said Jada Shirriel, Healthy Start Chief Executive Officer.
Jaime Johnson, a former participant of CenteringPregnancy with Healthy Start and Primary Care Health Services said, “Participating in Centering was very important. I was pregnant with my second son. My first pregnancy resulted in a premature birth at 32 weeks and an extended stay in the NICU. I felt so alone. I didn’t want to have a similar experience. In Centering I felt connected, supported, and cared for–not just a participant but as a woman and a mother sharing a similar experience with other Black women who are mothers. I am grateful for the opportunity, and I encourage others to participate as well.”
Healthy Start Inc.’s mission is to improve maternal and child health to reduce poor birth outcomes and infant mortality in Allegheny County. Since 1991, they’ve offered free, community-based programs to families—with a focus on Black families—during the perinatal period. Healthy Start supports healthier pregnancies, safer births, stronger families, and a more equitable healthcare system. More information is available at healthystartpittsburgh.org.
The Midwife Center promotes wellness by providing exceptional, client-centered primary gynecological, pregnancy and birthing care in southwestern Pennsylvania’s only licensed, independent birth center. More information is available at midwifecenter.org.