Dr. Chul Hyun Park, Dr. Nichola Driver, and Dr. Robert C. Richards, Jr., along with Penny Ward of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, have co-authored a research article for the latest edition of the Journal of Public Health.
The article, “The effects of CenteringPregnancy on maternal and infant health outcomes: a moderation analysis,” showcases the group’s research, which aims to test how multiple demographic factors, including obesity, race, ethnicity, marital status and socioeconomic status, moderate CenteringPregnancy’s effects on health outcomes.
CenteringPregnancy is a group-based model of prenatal care; instead of seeing a doctor, nurse, or midwife individually, women participating in a CenteringPregnancy program attend organized group meetings. The group meetings are designed to address all aspects of wellness during pregnancy, not just a woman’s physical health. CenteringPregnancy groups usually consist of eight to 12 moms-to-be with similar due dates, as well as their support partners.
“We found that CenteringPregnancy produced positive health outcomes among those who are obese and unmarried as well as women with lower socioeconomic status,” Park said. “Thus, this research can make an important contribution to public health by providing empirical evidence on the effects of group prenatal care.”
The CenteringPregnancy research is part of the efforts of the Clinton School’s Open Governance Lab, which investigates ways to make public service more participatory, effective, resilient, and secure in the digital era.
“Its connection with the Open Governance Lab is that the group prenatal care process is very democratic,” Richards said. “The women are learning from one another; they’re sharing wisdom and insights, providing support. Women who have had children before are sharing their wisdom and insights with women in the group for whom this is their first child. They’re sharing ideas about nutrition and exercise and self-care, helping to change unhealthy habits to healthier habits, and it’s a very democratic process and involves a lot of personal growth and change, similar to what we see when citizens get together to deliberate problems in their communities.”
The Journal of Public Health publishes research that focuses on the theory and practice of the full spectrum of public health, across the domains of health improvement, health protection and service improvement, with a particular focus on the translation of science into action.