RWJBH launching Centering Pregnancy program at 3 facilities

Cooperman Barnabas, Newark Beth Israel and RWJUH using evidence-based supportive group pregnancy program

RWJBarnabas Health has launched Centering Pregnancy — an evidence-based, clinically-led group prenatal care program that brings together expectant parents with similar pregnancy due dates to support healthy pregnancies and babies — at three of its facilities, the system announced Friday.

The program is being implemented at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center began the first cohort in January and additional cohorts will start at NBI and RWJUH over the next several months.

Centering model cohorts, which typically include between eight and 10 expectant parents at 14 to 17 weeks of pregnancy, provide a safe and supportive place for participants to engage and take an active role in their pregnancy care. The Centering model not only provides strong support and education for healthy moms and babies in a safe and comfortable environment, but also offers participants more time with providers than traditional prenatal care.

Suzanne Spernal, the senior vice president of women’s services at RWJBarnabas Health, said the program has great impact.

“Moms who participate in Centering Pregnancy feel more empowered and informed about their health, and research has shown that the Centering model can lead to improved maternal and infant health outcomes and a better birth experience,” she said. “This is another evidence-based care model that RWJBarnabas Health is implementing to ensure that all families have access to the highest quality and equitable maternity care.”

In addition to in-person support, cohort members are connected to additional community resources to assist them with pregnancy and child care and receive educational materials that address a variety of important topics, from nutrition and stress management to common discomforts, labor & delivery, infant care and breastfeeding.

The Centering model was developed by the Centering Healthcare Institute and results in better outcomes, including a reduction in preterm births, low birth weights, NICU admissions and NICU lengths of stay.