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Posted: March 22, 2018 11:08 a.m.
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Pregnancy program earns certification

The nation-wide Centering Pregnancy program has been in full operation since March 28, 2017, at U.S. Army Medical Department Activity-Fort Stewart, at Winn Army Community Hospital. Winn ACH and the OB/GYN department received their official certification from the Centering Healthcare Institute for the centering program in 11 months, which is a milestone for the centering team.

“We’ve been doing this for less than a year,” MEDDAC Chief, OB/GYN, Maj. Mariann Fark said. “This is what we were striving for, [yet] not anticipating getting it so soon, but the program is thriving, so we’re very excited we got the certification early.”

Throughout the first year of the program the centering team enhanced the patient experience by building lasting relationships with providers and their beneficiaries.

“I have women that email me for any questions they have instead of calling the clinic and trying to book an appointment,” said Nancy Guzman, MEDDAC, licensed practical nurse. “It’s just so close knit and up close and personal with each individual patient and amongst the group.”

First time mother, Pfc. Lauren Lowe, appreciated having the support network during her pregnancy journey.

“I’ve bonded with a lot of people here because my boyfriend is deployed right now,” Lowe said. “I don’t really have anybody here with me because my Family is so far away, so some of the girls have been really supportive and always there.”

Most of the women who have participated in the centering program are bonded by their shared experiences and stand ready to provide meaningful support for their fellow mothers.

“You can call me if you need someone to come to the delivery room for you,” expectant mother, Holly Barnes said. “We are there for you. We know what you are going through.”

For the Centering team the ties these women build is the foundation of a lasting relationship between patients and providers. 

“Most of them have just bonded so well,” MEDDAC, Centering Pregnancy Coordinator, Starr Rivera said. “They’ve just become great friends. I know one of our first groups they meet monthly now still, after the babies are almost six-months-old.”

Besides providing an open environment where expectant parents can build a lasting support network, the evidenced based centering pregnancy program also improves breastfeeding rates, decreases preterm labor and fosters a decrease in triage visits.

“They’re getting to know that the things that they are experiencing are not exclusive to them, that it’s something that’s pretty common in pregnant women at that stage,” Rivera said. “So, they’re getting to realize that they have someone in the fight with them.

The centering team is now welcoming their twelfth group of mothers and mothers-to-be and look forward to providing a supportive environment for all prenatal care needs.

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