(Greenwood, S.C., May 23, 2016) – Self Regional Healthcare’s Montgomery Center for Family Medicine has achieved recognition as a CenteringPregnancy “approved site” by the Centering Healthcare Institute. Centering is a six-month group model of prenatal care that consists of 10 sessions. The group meets monthly for the first four sessions and then bi-weekly for the last six sessions.
Dr. Sharai Amaya, OB-GYN at the Montgomery Center for Family Medicine, brought Centering© to Self Regional in 2014 because of the benefits it provides for expectant mothers. Dr. Amaya says, “When women receive prenatal care in an environment where they are allowed to take their time, ask questions and truly prepare themselves for birth around other expectant mothers, the outcomes are very positive.”
When the mother-to-be begins the Centering program, she has her routine physical exam done in a private area by the physician or clinician, who will also lead every session. Keeping the same physician throughout the course of the program is another benefit for the women who participate. Over the course of her next visits, she joins a group of 8-10 women from all backgrounds at the same stage in pregnancy. Group sessions begin and end on time, with no time spent in a waiting room. There are opportunities during visits for each woman to check her blood pressure and weigh herself. A provider will perform belly measurements and listen for fetal heart tones, and expectant mothers will chart their growth in a journal. Refreshments are provided. Each Centering session involves an education component as well, allowing participants to talk about their concerns and learn from their physician, as well as each other.
Centering not only provides expectant mothers with better prenatal care, it has also proven effective in decreasing pre-term births by 33 percent, an important factor for South Carolina, where pre-term birth rates are high. Dr. Amaya says, “South Carolina’s preterm birth rate of 10.8 percent equates to too many premature babies being delivered in our state. Centering decreases preterm birth rates, even among patients who are at a higher risk of preterm delivery.”
The Montgomery Center currently offers both English and Spanish-speaking Centering groups monthly, depending on the expected due date. Sharai Amaya, M.D., Daphne Karel, M.D., Lindsey Clarke, M.D., Aaron Zeller, M.D., and Coleman Robinson, M.D. lead the sessions making the success of the program a true group accomplishment.
As for the women in the groups, they too have plenty of praise for the program. “Centering was a great experience for me,” says Christina Hjalmer, former Centering participant. “Two of my favorite things were getting to know other women from all walks of life and getting to know Dr. Amaya better. Some people may hesitate because of the group setting, but Dr. Amaya and the residents were always around during breaks to answer any individual questions that one did not feel comfortable sharing with the group. My centering group still keeps in touch and it is fun to watch our babies grow together.”
The Centering Healthcare Institute reviews applications of participating healthcare facilities yearly and selects those that meet the criteria to be named an official CenteringPregnancy site. Currently there are over 400 Centering practices in 45 U.S. states with over 48,000 patients. To learn more go to https://www.centeringhealthcare.org/
About Self Regional Healthcare:
Self Regional Healthcare is a not-for-profit, regional referral hospital that provides care to residents of Greenwood, Abbeville, Laurens, Saluda, McCormick, Edgefield and Newberry counties. Services include prevention and wellness, acute care and tertiary care services including cancer care, neurosurgery, heart and vascular surgery, NICU, orthopedics and genetics. Self Medical Group is its employed physician affiliate network of 33 practices and more than 115 physicians.