By: Courtney Thomas—
Muncie, IN—The IU Health Ball Memorial Family Medicine Residency Center (FMRC) has received approval as an accredited site for CenteringPregnancy. The FMRC is now one of 11 sites approved in Indiana and the only site approved in East Central Indiana. The year-long approval process evaluated patient outcomes, adherence to quality standards and support from IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital administration.
CenteringPregnancy is an innovative model of prenatal care that facilitates interactive learning and community building in a group setting. CenteringPregnancy brings a group of four to eight pregnant women who are due around the same time together for ten 90-minute visits with a team of healthcare providers.
During the visit, mothers engage in their health assessments by taking their weight and blood pressure, recording their own results and having private time with their provider for a belly check. The remainder of the visit is a facilitated group discussion of health topics including nutrition, self-care and labor. It’s a fun, interactive conversation that helps women build relationships with their provider, as well as with the other women going through pregnancy.
“Centering was a pregnancy changing experience– and by that I mean the complete experience,” said Tiffany Ford, mother of three. “You know the giddy feeling of each appointment that you have before you get to see the baby? Those feelings are ten times stronger when you have a group of ladies to talk to that are going through the exact same thing you are.”
Miranda Byrd, a first time CenteringPregnancy participant and mother of two, also benefitted from the group care model.
“The women that are part of the group give you the extra support you need, even if you think otherwise,” said Byrd. “There is no rule book for parenting, so having other moms, new moms and even those with kids to talk to, vent to and relate to is a great way to spend your pregnancy.”
The program has been transformative for the healthcare providers, too.
“CenteringPregnancy has really changed my perspective on what I thought was good medical care,” said Dr. Melanie Schreiner, associate director at the IU Health Ball Memorial Family Practice and medical director of the CenteringPregnancy program. “I realized how often I assumed what was important for my patient’s to know versus what they really had questions about and needed to know. Through our groups, patients and physicians talk candidly about pregnancy topics and open up about how pregnancy really impacts the women. The pregnant patient feels empowered to ask questions, but also empowered to help teach the group.”
CenteringPregnancy is funded by the IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital Foundation as part of its local initiative to reduce infant mortality. Nationally, CenteringPregnancy delivers positive outcomes for both mothers and babies, including decreased preterm deliveries and increased breastfeeding rates. Locally, the preterm birth rate for women in the FMRC’s CenteringPregnancy program is 7%, while the rate in Indiana is 9.6%. The March of Dimes 2020 goal for preterm delivery is 8.2%.
“It’s exciting to be part of a program that is already helping Muncie and Delaware County reach the March of Dimes preterm delivery goal,” said Dr. Schreiner. “We look forward to expanding our CenteringPregnancy program and continuing to improve the lives of mothers and babies in our community.”
If you are interested in the CenteringPregnancy program or scheduling a group OB intake, please call the Family Medicine Residency Center at 765.747.3141.
About Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Hospital
IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital serves as a tertiary referral center and teaching hospital for East Central Indiana and part of Indiana University Health. IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission and maintains 1.2 million square feet of facilities. More than 17,700 patients are admitted every year and more than 300,000 outpatient procedures are completed annually. Dr. Jeff Bird is President. Learn more at iuhealth.org/ball-memorial.