UNR Medical School offers Centered Pregnancy Program

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) In a next-to-last meeting of a Centered Pregnancy Class, couples pass a ball of string around talking about what they got from the class. In the end, the string literally connects them, and perfectly illustrates what a Centered Pregnancy Program is all about.

Ericka and Jonathan Payne have taken these classes before. But this is the first at UNR Med's Family Medicine Department.

“The best part is definitely the community, and having multiple answers to one question,” says Ericka Payne. “And multiple opinions. So you can really come into your own as to what kind parent you are going to be, what kind of delivery you want to have,” she says.

You'll notice the mom-to-be partners are here as well. Their information is no less important, which Jonathan found out on his very first meeting.

“Made it very comfortable to ask questions and know that dads have a big part to play in child care and helping moms,” says Jonathan Payne.

Before the classes ever start, the women take their vital signs, such as blood pressure and heartbeats.

The couples meet with midwives, residents and physicians associated with the family medicine program, and who will deliver the babies.

If you compare to a private physician, these couples and their 10- to 90-minute meetings actually will have more time with their medical professionals.

This, combined with the education they receive from those medical professionals, as well as each other, may account for the decrease in lower birth weight babies, cesarean births, and preterm births among the participants.

“So it seems that physicians who lead the centering pregnancy groups have more satisfaction with their care delivery,” says Dr. Catherine McCarthy from UNR Med Family and Community Professor. “And the patients have more satisfaction with the care that they receive,” she says.

This is the first class for the Family and Community Medicine at the med school. All babies were due sometime this month.

Dr. McCarthy says the couples tend to keep in touch and down the road get together to see everyone's children. Perhaps, she says, that will lead to a Centered Well-Baby Program in the near future.

The program is sponsored by the March of Dimes and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation.