SEATTLE, Sept. 21, 2007 – Swedish Midwifery & Women’s Health in Ballard is now offering a groundbreaking approach to prenatal care through CenteringPregnancy®. The program, which is the only one of its kind in Seattle, brings expecting mothers together for group sessions on all aspects of prenatal care. Soon-to-be moms find companionship and support from other pregnant women in their group as they discuss common pregnancy concerns and plan for their new babies.
While traditional Lamaze classes don’t start until about two months before the baby’s due date, Centering sessions, composed of about eight to 12 women, start early in the pregnancy. The two-hour meetings are initially held every four weeks and increase to every two weeks as the pregnancy progresses. At the beginning of each session, women help each other measure and record vitals such as weight and blood pressure. Each woman has a short individual time with the midwife, then all participants come together with the nurse-midwife and discuss various subjects, including nutrition, common pregnancy discomforts and breastfeeding.
As the due dates approach, topics turn to comfort measures for labor, decisions such as circumcision and choosing a pediatrician, and newborn care. While each session has a focus, anyone is welcome to bring up topics they wish to discuss. Partners are welcome and encouraged to discuss issues they’re going through as well.
Fra Na Ready, ARNP, CNM, one of three certified nurse-midwives in Swedish Ballard’s Midwifery practice, is the pioneer behind the practice’s CenteringPregnancy program. She knew about Centering from its presence in other cities across the country and wanted Swedish Midwifery & Women’s Health, which opened in October 2006, to offer this unique type of prenatal care. She emphasizes the critical role of self-care in the program.
“I think that it is really important to empower women,” she says. She also stresses the strong support women receive from their peers. “Each mother is going through the same exciting events, and as a member of a group, she can relate to and even stay in touch with group members once their children are born.
“CenteringPregnancy combines support, education and prenatal care, and draws upon the wisdom of women to allow them to take responsibility for their baby’s and their own health care,” says Ready.
For more information, call Swedish Midwifery & Women’s Health at 206-781-6080 or visit www.swedish.org/midwives
Swedish is the largest, most comprehensive nonprofit health provider in the Greater Seattle area. It is comprised of three hospital campuses – First Hill, Cherry Hill and Ballard – a freestanding emergency room and specialty center in Issaquah (East King County), a Home Care Services division and Swedish Physicians – a network of 12 primary-care clinics. In addition to general medical and surgical care, Swedish is known as a regional referral center, providing specialized treatment in areas such as cardiovascular care, cancer care, neuroscience, orthopedics, high-risk obstetrics, pediatrics, organ transplantation and clinical research. For more information, visit www.swedish.org
- To read the transcript of and watch a story about this program that KING Television (channel 5; NBC) aired on Oct. 13, 2007, click here.
- To read a related article that was published in the Nov. 14 issue of the Ballard News-Tribune, click here.