Published on July 27, 2015

Centered on your Care

Lindsey Greer of Muscatine, Iowa holds her newborn son, Caleb at the Genesis BirthCenter in Davenport. Caleb was born Jan. 18, 2015.

Lindsey Greer of Muscatine, Iowa holds her
newborn son, Caleb at the Genesis BirthCenter
in Davenport. Caleb was born Jan. 18, 2015.

Centering Pregnancy and Genesis BirthCenter enhance birthing experience

Lindsey Greer looked quite at ease as she rocked her newborn son, Caleb, in her room at the Genesis BirthCenter in Davenport, surrounded by her family.

After all, it was the second time she had delivered at the BirthCenter. She chose to travel a longer distance from her home in Muscatine, Iowa, to return to the place she could trust for safe, comfortable care and a welcoming family environment.

Her daughter, Kaylee, 4, was at her side to proudly kiss the top of her new brother’s head. Husband, Chass, brought in lunch for his daughter and looked forward to taking his newly expanded family home that day. Caleb was born Jan. 18, 2015, and his new family was having a good time getting to know him at the newly renovated BirthCenter.

“We’re from Muscatine, but I felt it was worth the drive to come to the Genesis BirthCenter,” she said. “I had such a great experience my first time at BirthCenter and with the certified nurse midwives at The Group. I knew I wanted to deliver again at Genesis. The staff is very caring and knowledgeable and helps you feel at ease. It has been a fabulous experience.”

Centering Pregnancy

In the weeks leading up to her delivery, she also felt at ease thanks to the support of her fellow “January Moms” – a group of pregnant women due to give birth that month and among the first to experience an innovative form of prenatal care at The Group called “Centering Pregnancy.”

Centering Pregnancy offers prenatal visits in a group setting with other pregnant women and a midwife or doctor. During their visits, moms-to-be have a private check-up, and then gather for a group-led discussion with a provider to share ideas and learn how to have a healthy pregnancy and delivery.

Centering brings together three components of prenatal care: the medical assessment, patient education, and support from one another.

“I liked that the appointments weren’t hurried, and you had plenty of time to ask questions, get tips, and hear the experiences of other mothers,” Greer said. “Everyone is bouncing ideas off one another, and you think ‘That might work for me.’ “

Certified Nurse Midwife Jenny Atzen of The Group looks on at mother Sarah Hill and her new baby. After the month they give birth, the new moms and babies get together with their centering group for a reunion of sorts.

Certified Nurse Midwife Jenny Atzen of The Group
looks on at mother Sarah Hill and her new baby.
After the month they give birth, the new moms
and babies get together with their centering group
for a reunion of sorts.

Greer’s group was led by certified nurse midwife Jenny Atzen, who was also at Caleb’s delivery. The Group in Davenport launched the Centering Pregnancy program last summer, with the help of a grant from the March of Dimes. Women who are pregnant for the first time can gain knowledge from experienced moms. Each centering session focuses on a new topic related to pregnancy, labor and delivery, or postpartum care.

Women participating in Centering Pregnancy find it very reassuring to have contact with other women who are going through the same stage of pregnancy. Many times, discussion topics will hit on questions that may feel too intimidating to ask during a traditional, one-on-one visit. Women in the group who are already parents share their tips on childbirth and parenting.

“The centering groups take the place of normal, routine OB visits,” Atzen said. “Instead of a 10-minute office visit, you get about 90 minutes in a group setting. Before each session, we do individual, private check-ups, and this gives patients the opportunity to ask personal questions they don’t want to ask in a group. We have nine sessions over the course of a pregnancy. In each group, we like to have a mix of women who have given birth and those who will be first-time moms.”

Topics can range from breastfeeding and pregnancy discomforts to labor, delivery and postpartum care. After the month they give birth, the new moms get together again with their babies for a reunion of sorts. Studies show Centering Pregnancy improves birthing outcomes.

“The goal is better, more consistent prenatal care and a reduction in pre-term deliveries,” Atzen said. “Because they are receiving more education during their visits, our patients have a better idea of what’s normal and what’s not.”

Atzen added, “We definitely build a stronger connection with our patients because we get to spend more time getting to know them. I had six women in my first centering group, and it was very rewarding to be on-call for the deliveries of four of them.”

Although Caleb was born full-term and healthy, Lindsey Greer also appreciated knowing that Genesis Medical Center, Davenport has a Neonatal Intensive Care staffed on a daily basis by neonatologists from the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.

“I liked knowing that the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was only a floor away, instead of in a different city,” she said. “I would definitely recommend the Genesis BirthCenter.”

--- By Linda Barlow, Genesis

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