Dr. Ebony Carter Speaks on Group Prenatal Care at Quarterly Coalition Meeting

Dr. Ebony Carter Speaks on Group Prenatal Care at Quarterly Coalition Meeting

Last Friday we held our second of three Quarterly Coalition meetings in the series Crucial Conversations: Maternal Health, Do You Really Listen? Our guest speaker was Dr. Ebony Carter, an Obstetrician-Gynecologist who focuses her research clinical practice on pregnant women with diabetes. Her session was specifically about group prenatal care, most commonly known as “Centering.” In this approach, pregnant women and their partners at similar stages of pregnancy attend prenatal care appointments in a small group.  This model enriches the experience with social support for the stresses and joys they are facing and the opportunity for patients to more actively participate in their care.   Dr. Carter covered research that compares pregnancy outcomes for women who received individual prenatal care vs group prenatal care. Her focus is the effect of group prenatal care on pregnancy outcomes for Black women, specifically.

Conclusive research evidence for the benefits of group prenatal care on all women is still emerging.  However, studies are clearer that Black women who participate in group prenatal care have a significantly lower rate, 43%, of delivering prematurely.

Dr. Carter also shared some favorable qualitative data, such as testimonials from women and care providers who have been involved in group prenatal care in St. Louis. She gave her own testimonial, expressing that as a provider, coming together to discuss issues in a group reenergizes her after a long day of seeing patients individually.

While women of all racial backgrounds enjoy the group prenatal care experience, Black women experience the biggest benefit in improved physical outcomes, making this an approach that should be part of efforts to eliminate racial disparities in infant and maternal health outcomes.

Group prenatal care is offered at several health centers and hospital clinic sites in St. Louis and St. Louis Integrated Health Network is coordinating efforts to integrate trauma informed practices and racial equity principles into the model.  Patients in the program created a video to help encourage women to participate.  Dr. Carter recommends Missouri adopt enhanced payment models like South Carolina’s Medicaid program to make it possible for more providers to implement the group prenatal care model.

Thank you to Dr. Carter for enlightening us about this critical and promising approach to help us reach our vision of zero racial disparities in infant mortality by 2033.   To learn more about Enhanced Centering Program, view their video…

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