First Year Cleveland

First Year Cleveland

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Biomedical Research Building
11000 Cedar Avenue - 4th Floor Cleveland, OH 44106

Phone 216-368-4837
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Katie H.

As a busy working couple, Katie H. and her husband Joseph were excited to welcome their first child (a girl!) to the family. Katie heard about CenteringPregnancy at University Hospitals from her midwife, and decided to try the nontraditional program for her prenatal care. In the program, expectant moms meet twice a month for two-hour sessions, for a discussion on all things pregnancy and childbirth with a midwife and each other. Research has shown that the group model improves outcomes for both the mother and her baby. Here, Katie shares her experience in the program.

When people think about pregnancy classes, they think you’ll be learning from a textbook, that it’ll be long and boring. My husband and I weren’t really planning on taking many classes, outside of a breastfeeding class. There’s always the chance that you’ll just end up spending a bunch of time in a room, listening to things we already knew.

But after my midwife recommended the CenteringPregnancy program, I talked it over with my husband and we decided to give it a shot around the 20-week mark. Turns out, we loved it.

"It was nice to hear other women were going through things that I was going through, that I wouldn’t have said. People started connecting with each other’s stories."

At first, everyone’s getting to know each other. In the program, you are an active participant in your pregnancy assessments. The first part of each session is when you come in and weigh yourself, then you take your own blood pressure. You learn what numbers to look for — what’s good and what’s concerning. Then you sit with the midwife to discuss things you may not want to talk about in front of everyone else. I like the way it’s set up because you’re not losing your one-on-one time with your provider.

It took a little time for everyone to start opening up and getting more comfortable. It was nice to hear other women were going through things that I was going through, that I wouldn’t have said. People started connecting with each other’s stories. They would remember something you said the week prior and follow up to ask how you were doing. It was great to know they cared.

I was concerned my husband might be bored at the sessions, but he connected with all the other dads. It was nice for him to be involved for longer than 10 minutes, once a month, at our appointments. He got to hear things I was going through, that I maybe wouldn’t have talked about. It was educational for him in caring for a newborn and supporting me. You don’t know you need to talk about it until someone else talks about it.

My labor was so fast that I didn’t fully realize I had a baby until two days later! Luckily, we had discussions in Centering about having a flexible birth plan. I wanted the epidural but when I got to the hospital there was no time. There’s no way to prepare fully for it, but at Centering, we talked about how your body is made to do this. Everything will be okay no matter how it works out.

Centering also gave me a chance to get to know my midwife. At regular appointments, they don’t really know that much about you. It’s hard to build that relationship in such a short time. But in Centering we got to see each other a lot more.

While she didn’t deliver my daughter, my midwife came to visit us at the hospital. She followed up with me. It was a great feeling to know I wasn’t alone. That relationship with her is something I truly value.

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