Tidelands Health Physician Promotes Group Care For Expectant Mothers
A Tidelands Health OB-GYN is helping spread the word about the benefits of centering, an increasingly popular form of group prenatal care for expectant mothers.
Dr. Callie Meeks spoke on Monday at the annual meeting of the South Atlantic Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which is composed of members from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
Dr. Meeks discussed her research into centering, a practice meant to address both the physical and emotional needs of pregnant women. Centering brings together a small group of expectant mothers with similar due dates for regular meetings that replace typical one-on-one appointments with a provider. The women learn about important pregnancy-related topics and share their experiences. Each woman benefits from private, individualized care during the course of the group meetings.
The research presented by Dr. Meeks found that nearly all women who participated in centering liked the practice and were comfortable having prenatal assessments completed in the presence of others. The research was conducted while she was a resident physician at Palmetto Health Richland in Columbia.
“Centering gives expectant mothers a way to share fears, concerns, advice and even a few laughs,” Dr. Meeks said. “It helps give women strength and comfort.”
Centering also keeps women more engaged in their medical care because they help track their own weight and blood pressure throughout pregnancy, she said.
A woman’s partner is invited to some of the centering meetings, she said. Participation helps partners learn about the physical changes associated with pregnancy, keeps them engaged in the process and better prepares them to advocate for the mother during labor and birth.
Dr. Meeks said she became interested in centering after learning it has been linked to a decrease in preterm births, increased breastfeeding rates and increased contraception use postpartum.
Tidelands Health promotes centering as part of a commitment to superior maternal and infant care.
Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital and Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital have both earned the prestigious Baby Friendly designation. The international award recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer optimal care for mothers and their babies.
In addition, Tidelands Waccamaw and Tidelands Georgetown were ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, for medical excellence in women's health by CareChex.
Individuals interested in learning more about centering in the Tidelands region can call 843-651-6525.