Pregnancy Circle Groups

Pregnancy Circle Group is a method of providing prenatal health care based on the interaction of a group of expecting parents.

The group of expectant parents meets from six to eight times during the months leading up to delivery. A doctor or nurse midwife leads each group meeting. Expectant parents provide support and encouragement for each other.

Each session begins with a check-up. The doctor or nurse midwife listens to the heartbeat of the unborn baby and weighs and interviews each expectant mother.

The doctor or nurse midwife then facilitates a group discussion. The group discusses issues such as gestation, nutrition, breastfeeding, contraception, postpartum depression, infant care, labor, birth, and unexpected outcomes.

Maple City Health Care Center received training and adapted the Centering Pregnancy program from the Centering Healthcare Institute. We also used the Stanford University School of Medicine's Chronic Disease Management Program.

Every pregnant woman receiving care at Maple City Health Care Center may choose to participate in the Pregnancy Circle groups.

Maple City Health Care Center’s Pregnancy Circle groups include both Spanish and English speakers. An interpreter translates everything that is said in the meeting.

One advantage of the Pregnancy Circle program is that it nurtures better relationships between providers and patients and between patients themselves. Patients benefit from the relaxed, face-to-face time with providers.

We see differences between the clinical outcomes of Maple City’s Pregnancy Circle program and the clinical outcomes of Maple City’s traditional, office-based prenatal care. As of July 2009:

  • 4% of the PC mothers delivered low birth weight babies compared to 6% of traditional care mothers
  • 5.6% of the PC mothers delivered prior to 37 weeks of gestation compared to 8% of traditional care mothers
  • 76.2% of the PC mothers were breastfeeding 2 months after delivery compared to 56.6% of the traditional care mothers
  • 72.7% of the PC mothers reduced smoking compared to 51.2% of the traditional care mothers

NOTE: Because patients self-select the Pregnancy Circle program, we cannot say that the differences cited above are caused by the program. The differences in clinical outcomes may be a result of the program or they may be a result of the types of women who choose to participate.