CenteringPregnancy offers supportive and empowering prenatal care

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made the difficult decision to put CenteringPregnancy on hold through the end of this year. We will continue to follow the guidance of the CDC and the State of Maine, and once it is safe to resume these group sessions, we will schedule new classes.

In the meantime, we will continue to seek innovative ways to provide our prenatal patients with valuable educational resources that you can view from home via your computer or mobile device.

Questions? Please call our Women’s Health team at (207) 874-2445.

The Centering® model combines health assessment, interactive learning, and community building to help support positive health behaviors and drive better health outcomes. It brings patients out of the exam room and into a group setting, which also helps build their community of support.

CenteringPregnancy® brings together 8-12 pregnant women, who are due around the same time, for routine prenatal care. Each of the 10 visits is two hours long—giving women 10 times as much contact with their provider team.

During the visit, the women engage in their care by taking their weight and blood pressure, recording their own health data, and having private time with their provider for a belly check. This active participation makes them more aware of their results and what it means to their health and their baby’s health. The remainder of time is a facilitated discussion on health topics related to their pregnancy. The women learn from their provider and also from one another. This group time connects them to each other, creates support, and fosters their strengths.

Interested? Call (207) 874-2445 to learn more or sign-up. We also answer many frequently asked questions below.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why choose Centering?

Centering offers comprehensive care, 20+ hours of provider contact throughout pregnancy, meaningful social connections, and improved health outcomes (see below). The program is nationally supported by organizations such as March of Dimes and National Institutes of Health.

What are the health benefits of Centering?

High satisfaction rates, decreased pre-term births/low birth weight, fewer short-term repeat pregnancies, improved breastfeeding success rates, decreased rates of postpartum depression, and lower rates of substance abuse.

Who is a good candidate for Centering?

Anyone! First time moms, experienced moms, teens, and people new to area who are looking for connections.

Does Centering cost more?

Centering follows a similar schedule of visits and is billed the same as one-on-one care, therefore costs the same.

What if I don’t like the group format?

We encourage participants to commit to three sessions. If you find the group format is not for you, one-on-one care is always an option.

What if I develop a problem?

If you develop a complication or have an issue you wish to be addressed outside the group session, you will be scheduled for an additional one-on-one appointment. This will be scheduled before or after the session or the next day, depending on the severity of the issue. Even if your pregnancy requires additional visits, you can still continue to attend the group sessions. If a true emergency develops, there are always two facilitators and you would receive the care you need. Safe care is never compromised.

What if I need blood drawn or an ultrasound?

Routine lab tests, ultrasounds, and other testing will be ordered as usual. Additional testing may be ordered during your individual time with the provider during your belly check and scheduled appropriately.

What if I am a shy and private person?

Centering can still be a great option for your prenatal care! You are never required to speak. The facilitators are trained to lead by creating a safe environment and an atmosphere of respect is always fostered. At the first session, the group decides on guidelines that everyone must adhere to. These include group rules, respect of time, behavior basics, and cultural sensitivity. Consistency of the group members helps to build trust and relationships. Very often, someone else asks a question you were thinking. Most people feel quite comfortable after a couple of sessions and frequently have valuable insights and experiences they feel confident in sharing. Alternately, if a member is too wordy, often the group members will directly address them. Facilitators are trained to navigate this issue.

How is privacy maintained?

Confidentiality is established at the first session. All members sign an agreement not to share any information about others in the group.

Can my support person join the session?

Yes, we highly encourage you to invite one support person to join the sessions. They are considered active participants. It is not a requirement. A pregnant woman can come to sessions alone or choose another type of support person, such as your partner, a friend, sister, mother, etc.

Can I bring my children to the sessions?

Children are not allowed to join sessions. We do not provide childcare for the sessions.

Do I get to meet the other providers in the practice?

Yes! During the social time of the session, one or two different providers will visit the group each session.

What if I miss a session?

In the event you cannot attend a session, you will schedule a one-on-one appointment in its place. If you feel you would not make multiple group sessions, it might make more sense to choose one-one-on prenatal care.

How do I sign up for Centering Pregnancy?

Call (207) 874-2445 to learn more or sign-up.


Session Outline

Each session has 3 basic parts:

  • Check In (30-40 minutes)
    • Rotate individual assessments or Belly Checks.  The provider listens to the baby’s heart rate and measures your belly. These are brief. Questions are encouraged to be shared with the group.
    • Self-performed blood pressure checks, weight and BMI, urine dips (after instruction).
    • Social Building and a healthy snack
  • Circle Up (60-75 minutes)
    • Facilitated discussion around pre-planned pregnancy topics.
  • Close (10-15 minutes)


Session Schedule

Session 1:

Prenatal Testing, Gestation Diabetes, Nutrition, Healthy Lifestyle Choices (12-16 weeks)

Session 2

Body changes in pregnancy, taking care of your back, healthy gums and teeth (16-20 weeks)

Session 3

Mental relaxation, infant nutrition, “The family I want to have” (20-24 weeks)

Session 4

Family planning, sexuality, thinking about my family, domestic violence and abuse, preterm labor and fetal brain development (24-28 weeks)

Session 5

Labor, birth facility, breathing, medications for labor and birth, early labor—when to call. (26-30 weeks)

Session 6

The birth experience: Labor Management, decisions, communication and medications (28-32 weeks)

Session 7

The Newborn’s First Days, planning pediatric care, newborn safety, circumcision, brothers and sisters (30-34 weeks)

Session 8

Pregnancy to parenting transition, emotional adjustments, baby blues, and postpartum mood disorders, pregnancy – when to call. (32-36 weeks)

Session 9

Newborn care, breastfeeding, safety, infant massage (34-38 weeks)

Session 10

Newborn care, growth and development – the first month, home and family changes, newborn and new mom- when to call (36-40 weeks)



*Note: The schedule above offers general guidelines, but can change based on group needs/dynamics.