Centered prenatal care: Will it work?
I guess it should not surprise me at all that so much has changed in the last four years. You see, four years is about how long it’s been since my last “first visit” to the Midwifery group at OHSU. Some things stay the same, but some things have definitely changed. During my medical history review, the nurse asked me the same questions as the last two times (the same questions I had just filled out on the piece of paper, no less). And the same blood draw and urine catch (thank GOODNESS they’ve opted out of doing that each visit. It’s impossible to do that around a big belly!). But then, the nurse brought up “Centered Prenatal care”, which is currently being re-termed and she doesn’t have a flyer for, just yet.
Centered? Apparently this is the name for prenatal care in a group format. The schedule is set from the beginning of care. There are 10 sessions, 2 hours each. No waiting in the waiting room. There will be the usual external exams, weight checks, blood pressure and measurements. It will just all be done… communally. The group will be comprised of women who are all due the same month as I am.
So how can I decide if this is for me? My partner said he was already ok with this type of care and that it was up to me. I’m trying to weight the pros and cons. Set schedule, no waiting is a good thing. Having others to sympathize and commiserate with, also a good thing. But traditional appointments are about 20 minutes long, and there are 10 of those, too, generally. So the time difference of 20 hours vs nearly 4 is quite a difference, waiting time aside. Then there’s the fact that this is my third time at this. I guess it could be naïve of me to say there’s nothing for me to learn, but it’s sort of how I feel. What other benefits can a group setting for this care offer? (besides the obvious of reducing the number of times the midwife has to say the same thing to 6-10 different women).
Maybe, in the end, it’s not all about me? Maybe it’s about what I can share with others? I’m sensing the practice is generally new here in Portland but the nurse said they’ve never had any issues getting “critical mass” for their groups, since the program’s inception. So, have any of you mamas tried group prenatal care? Did you love it? Hate it? Want it to be a little different? I’m sure it’s a very personal choice but I’m hoping someone has some insider information for me.