There are significant disparities in maternal child health outcomes in our region. From 2014 to 2016, infant mortality rates for African Americans were three times greater than the average for all races within New Jersey. In 2018, a robust community response became possible when several funding opportunities became available to help address maternal child health challenges in the community.
Capital Health Institute for Urban Care and Trenton Health Team have taken an important first step by bringing together all of the organizations that are part of the continuum of maternal health services to coordinate resources and our community responses to funding opportunities.
Capital Health Centering Pregnancy Program
In a partnership with the Central Jersey Family Health Consortium, Capital Health OB/GYN – Trenton (formerly the Healthstart Prenatal Clinic) now offers a Centering Pregnancy Program for mothers to be in the Trenton area that aims to improve maternal outcomes and decrease health inequity for pregnant women.
Following the same COVID-19 safety guidelines as our hospitals (including mask-wearing and social distancing) the providers at Capital Health OB/GYN – Trenton take diverse groups of women who are due to give birth at roughly the same time out of exam rooms and brings them together in a comfortable setting for group prenatal care. Participants in the program follow the recommended schedule of 10 prenatal visits, but in a group setting, these visits can last as long as two hours and give women significantly more time with their provider.
During each visit, mothers are actively engaged in their health care by recording their own weight, blood pressure, and other health data, along with private time with their provider for a belly check. After health assessments are complete, mothers and their provider join together for discussions and activities that address important topics such as nutrition, stress management, common discomforts, labor and delivery, breastfeeding, and infant care.
Providing care in a group setting allows mothers to make more meaningful connections with their providers and become better prepared for labor, delivery, and care of their new baby. In addition, research shows that centering programs reduce racial disparities in care, leading to healthier outcomes for babies and mothers. The shared experience can also lead to lasting friendships that can be important resources for mothers during an exciting but stressful time in their lives. A virtual option of the program is also offered for mothers to be who are unable to attend the in-person sessions due to health concerns over COVID-19.
The Centering Pregnancy Program at Capital Health OB/GYN – Trenton works on the proven principle that people who are actively engaged in their care have a greater understanding of their condition and are more likely to make positive changes in behavior that help keep new babies and their families on the path to better health.