Community Resource Utilization 


Invested in Success: A Qualitative Study of the Experience of CenteringPregnancy Group Prenatal Care for Perinatal Educators

 Monica Vekved, Deborah A. McNeil, Siobhan M. Dolan, Jodi E. Siever, Sarah Horn, and Suzanne C. Tough,


ABSTRACT:  The objective of this study was to understand the central meaning of the experience of providing CenteringPregnancy for perinatal educators who were facilitators for the group sessions. Four perinatal educators participated in one-on-one interviews and/or a validation focus group. Six themes emerged: (a) “stepping back and taking on a different role,” (b) “supporting transformation,” (c) “getting to knowing,” (d) “working together to bridge the gap,” (e) “creating the environment,” and (f) “fostering community.” These themes contributed to the core phenomenon of being “invested in success.” Through bridging gaps and inconsistencies in information received from educators and physicians, this model of CenteringPregnancy provides an opportunity for women to act on relevant information more fully than more traditional didactic approaches to perinatal education.


The impact of introducing Centering Pregnancy in a community health setting: A qualitative study of experiences and perspectives of health center clinical and support staff

Ania Kania‑Richmon, Erin Hetherington, Deborah McNeil, Hamideh Bayrampour, Suzanne Tough and Amy Metcalfe


OBJECTIVES: Introducing new programming into an existing setting may be challenging. Understanding how staff and clinicians who are not directly involved in program delivery view the program can help support program implementation. This study aimed to understand how peripheral staff and clinicians perceived a newly implemented Centering Pregnancy group prenatal care program in a community-based health center and its impact on clinic operations.

METHODS: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 12 staff members at a community-based health center. The interview guide covered topics such as perceptions of Centering Pregnancy and how the program impacted their work. An interpretive description approach was used to analyze the interview data. A coding framework was developed iteratively and all interview data were analyzed independently by multiple researchers.

RESULTS: Staff had overall positive perceptions of Centering Pregnancy, but the level of understanding about the program varied widely. Most respondents viewed the Centering Pregnancy program as separate from other programs offered by the clinic, which created both opportunities and challenges. Opportunities included increased cross-referrals between established services and Centering Pregnancy. Challenges included a lack of communication about responsibilities of staff in relation to Centering Pregnancy patients. Impact on staff and overall clinic operations was perceived to be minimal to moderate, and most tensions related to roles and expectations were resolved.

CONCLUSIONS: Clear communication regarding fit within clinic structures and processes and expectations of staff in relation to the program was critical to the integration of Centering Pregnancy program into an established health center.



Comparing CenteringPregnancy® to standard prenatal care plus prenatal education

Ingunn Benediktsson, Sheila W. McDonald, Monica Vekved, Deborah A. McNeil, Siobhan M. Dolan, and Suzanne C. Tough


BACKGROUND: There is significant evidence to support the importance of prenatal care in preventing adverse outcomes such as preterm birth and low infant birth weight. Previous studies have indicated that the benefits of prenatal care are not evenly distributed throughout the social strata. In addition, emerging evidence suggests that among particular populations, rates of preterm birth are unchanged or increasing. This suggests that an alternate care model is necessary, one that seeks to addresses some of the myriad of social factors that also contribute to adverse birth outcomes. In previous studies, the group prenatal care model CenteringPregnancy® had been shown to reduce adverse birth outcomes, but to date, no comparison had been made with a model that included prenatal education. This study sought to investigate whether any significant difference remained within the comparison groups when both models accounted for social factors.

METHODS: This analysis was based on survey data collected from a prospective cohort of pregnant women through the All Our Babies Study in Calgary, Alberta.

RESULTS: At baseline, there were significant differences between the comparison groups in their psychosocial health, with the women in the CenteringPregnancy® group scoring higher levels of depressive symptoms, stress and anxiety. At four months postpartum, the differences between the groups were no longer significant.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that CenteringPregnancy® can recruit and retain a demographically vulnerable group of women with a constellation of risk factors for poor pregnancy and birth outcomes, including poverty, language barriers and poor mental health. Post program, the rates of stress, anxiety and depression were similar to other women with more social and financial advantage. These findings suggest that CenteringPregnancy® may be a community based care strategy that contributes to improved mental health, knowledge, and behaviours to optimize outcomes for mothers and children.


Impact of prenatal care provider on the use of ancillary health services during pregnancy

Amy Metcalfe, Kristen Grabowska, Carol Weller and Suzanne C. Tough


BACKGROUND: Recent declines in the provision of prenatal care by family physicians and the integration of midwives into the Canadian health care system have led to a shift in the pattern of prenatal care provision; however it is unknown if this also impacts use of other health services during pregnancy. This study aimed to assess the impact of the type of prenatal care provider on the self-reported use of ancillary services during pregnancy.

METHODS: Data for this study was obtained from the All Our Babies study, a community-based prospective cohort study of women's experiences during pregnancy and the post-partum period. Chi-square tests and logistic regression were used to assess the association between type of prenatal care provider and use of ancillary health services in pregnancy.

RESULTS: During pregnancy, 85.8% of women reported accessing ancillary health services. Compared to women who received prenatal care from a family physician, women who saw a midwife were less likely to call a nurse telephone advice line (OR = 0.30, 95% CI: 0.18-0.50) and visit the emergency department (OR = 0.47, 95% CI: 0.24-0.89), but were more likely receive chiropractic care (OR = 4.07, 95% CI: 2.49-6.67). Women who received their prenatal care from an obstetrician were more likely to visit a walk-in clinic (OR = 1.51, 95% CI: 1.11-2.05) than those who were cared for by a family physician.

CONCLUSIONS: Prenatal care is a complex entity and referral pathways between care providers and services are not always clear. This can lead to the provision of fragmented care and create opportunities for errors and loss of information. All types of care providers have a role in addressing the full range of health needs that pregnant women experience.

A qualitative study of the experience of CenteringPregnancy group prenatal care for physicians

Deborah A. McNeil, Monica Vekved, Siobhan M. Dolan, Jodi Siever, Sarah Horn and Suzanne C. Tough


BACKGROUND:This study sought to understand the central meaning of the experience of group prenatal care for physicians who were involved in providing CenteringPregnancy through a maternity clinic in Calgary, Canada.

METHODS:The study followed the phenomenological qualitative tradition. Three physicians involved in group prenatal care participated in a one-on-one interview between November and December 2009. Two physicians participated in verification sessions. Interviews followed an open ended general guide and were audio recorded and transcribed. The purpose of the analysis was to identify meaning themes and the core meaning experienced by the physicians.

RESULTS: Six themes emerged: (1) having a greater exchange of information, (2) getting to knowing, (3) seeing women get to know and support each other, (4) sharing ownership of care, (5) having more time, and (6) experiencing enjoyment and satisfaction in providing care. These themes contributed to the core meaning for physicians of “providing richer care.”

CONCLUSIONS: Physicians perceived providing better care and a better professional experience through CenteringPregnancy compared to their experience of individual prenatal care. Thus, CenteringPregnancy could improve work place satisfaction, increase retention of providers in maternity care, and improve health care for women.


Getting more than they realized they needed: a qualitative study of women's experience of group prenatal care.

Deborah A McNeil, Monica VekvedSiobhan M DolanJodi SieverSarah Horn & Suzanne C Tough


Background: Pregnant women in Canada have traditionally received prenatal care individually from their physicians, with some women attending prenatal education classes. Group prenatal care is a departure from these practices providing a forum for women to experience medical care and child birth education simultaneously and in a group setting. Although other qualitative studies have described the experience of group prenatal care, this is the first which sought to understand the central meaning or core of the experience. The purpose of this study was to understand the central meaning of the experience of group prenatal care for women who participated in CenteringPregnancy through a maternity clinic in Calgary, Canada.

Methods: The study used a phenomenological approach. Twelve women participated postpartum in a one-on-one interview and/or a group validation session between June 2009 and July 2010.

Results: Six themes emerged: (1) "getting more in one place at one time"; (2) "feeling supported"; (3) "learning and gaining meaningful information"; (4) "not feeling alone in the experience"; (5) "connecting"; and (6) "actively participating and taking on ownership of care". These themes contributed to the core phenomenon of women "getting more than they realized they needed". The active sharing among those in the group allowed women to have both their known and subconscious needs met.

Conclusions: Women's experience of group prenatal care reflected strong elements of social support in that women had different types of needs met and felt supported. The findings also broadened the understanding of some aspects of social support beyond current theories. In a contemporary North American society, the results of this study indicate that women gain from group prenatal care in terms of empowerment, efficiency, social support and education in ways not routinely available through individual care. This model of care could play a key role in addressing women's needs and improving health outcomes.