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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Nancy K.

CenteringPregnancy participant

Nancy K. and her boyfriend, Pete, decided to join the CenteringPregnancy program midway through their pregnancy with their first child. In the program, expectant parents meet twice a month for two-hour sessions to discuss all things related to 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, Nancy shares her experience in the program.

I’m the last one of my friends to have kids, so I had a general idea of what pregnancy would be like; but, until you go through it yourself, you don’t understand it fully. Once my boyfriend Pete and I found out we were expecting, we were just taking it all in, trying to soak in everything.

I learned about the CenteringPregnancy program fairly early on. My midwife, Amy, mentioned it at one of my earlier appointments and asked if we were interested. We both figured, “Why not?” It was definitely comforting to have a small group — that was the biggest benefit. We only had five couples with us, so it was very close-knit. Nobody knew each other prior, but everyone was so nice and open. From the start, it felt very comforting and welcoming.

In the first part of the session, people just started making small talk. The midwives leading the sessions never made me feel pressured to talk. They offered open-ended questions, with reassurance on things I was feeling, that I didn’t even know I was feeling. It helped take the walls down, with any of us who were still getting comfortable with the program. Maybe surprisingly, all of our different opinions and personalities meshed well.

"It was so calming, so open. It is a very relaxed environment to go through the pregnancy and know if what you’re experiencing is normal."

We had three ladies in our group who were due within a week of each other, and they were a little bit ahead of me. That was nice because I could see there was a light at the end of the tunnel with the things I was going through. They went through it first, and I could see eventually it subsides. Plus, you can bounce things off each other and know things you’re feeling are totally normal.

I felt really prepared for labor and ended up having a natural birth, like I planned. Of course, I didn’t know what contractions were going to feel like, but they taught us the different positions, the swaying, the walking, to help us get through them. They helped us understand that labor would be hard, but that everything happened in phases, that the hardest part — the contractions — eventually does stop. The more we talked about labor, the more it settled in and the more confident I felt.

I would say to anyone who’s thinking about Centering to go once and see how you feel about it. It gives you the best of both worlds — there’s private time with your midwife, and then there’s also group discussions that are really reassuring for this time in your life. It was so calming, so open. It is a very relaxed environment to go through the pregnancy and know if what you’re experiencing is normal.

My boyfriend came to all of the sessions. It opened up questions that we didn’t necessarily think about. It encouraged our communication and it helped us confirm exactly what we wanted at the birth. Centering really helped us go through the process together. The program helped decrease some of his feelings of helplessness because it gave him ideas of what to do and how to help. It helped us bond on a different level that maybe wouldn’t have happened if we had done traditional prenatal care.

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