Sensitivity, care, education create supportive pregnancy, childbirth experience

Mom is the center of a baby’s life, but moms-to-be are finding support in their own "Centering" groups at two UNT Health locations in Tarrant County. UNT Health’s certified nurse-midwives launched Centering Pregnancy – the first such program in Fort Worth – two years ago to give expectant mothers a community and resource to answer myriad questions that may not surface during a five-minute doctor visit. Centering combines regular check-ups, prenatal education and discussions in a single visit with other pregnant women. The goal is to improve pre-term labor rates and satisfaction during the entire childbirth experience.

Certified nurse-midwives must complete specialized training through the Centering Healthcare Institute. Research shows both the patient and the provider report greater satisfaction – as well as patient outcomes – when Centering is used, said Kathleen Donaldson, certified nurse midwife and director of advanced practice professionals for UNT Health‘s OB/Gyn department.

"Centering may well replace traditional prenatal classes," Donaldson said. "It relies on an evidence-based redesign of health care delivery that incorporates assessment, education and support."

Women in the Centering program meet individually with their personal physician for their regular medical visit, and then join a group of eight to 12 other women to discuss set topics and learn from experts such as dieticians and lactation consultants. The patient’s partner is welcome to attend. The Centering visit, including the regular patient visit, usually runs 90-120 minutes, Donaldson said. Women are grouped by expected delivery dates so participants can share experiences and insights.

"You don’t have to be a first-time parent to benefit from the Centering experience," said Elizabeth Marshall, who recently went through UNT Health’s Centering program during her pregnancy. "We had a mother on her seventh pregnancy show up to every meeting and she would talk about learning new things from the discussions we had. During those meetings you discuss pregnancy myths, delivery options and breastfeeding experiences, and everything in between. You can have the security and confidence to broach any topic and not be afraid of sounding silly.

"As first-time parents, my husband and I initially started with an OB physician, and we felt like we weren’t getting the kind of sensitivity and care that we needed," Marshall continued. "A coworker suggested the UNT Health Midwife Group, saying their philosophies for prenatal care were about empowering the mother and involving the father. We really responded to this approach after a meet-and-greet at the office and knew we were in the right place."


Recent News

Ashenafi 768x768
  • Our People
|Sep 20, 2023

Dr. Ashenafi Cherkos awarded prestigious AIM-AHEAD Fellowship in Leadership

Dr. Ashenafi Cherkos, assistant professor at The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, has been awarded the prestigious AIM-AHEAD Fellowship in Leadership for the Fall 2023 cohort. Cherkos serves in the School of Public Health’s Department of Population and Community Healt...
  • On Campus
|Sep 20, 2023

Innovate Fort Worth podcast: DJ Perera of New Age Media New Age Learning program

Innovate Fort Worth, the local podcast showcasing local innovation and its dynamic creators, recently featured DJ Perera, a trailblazing artist and educator. Hosted by Cameron Cushman of The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, the podcast episode delves into the intersecti...
Darlene Watkins
  • On Campus
|Sep 20, 2023

HSC student advocates for falls prevention awareness in Tarrant County

Darlene Watkins has dedicated her life to creating healthier and sustainable communities. Her background in interdisciplinary design led her to work with various community organizations from Atlanta to California, but it was her passion for educating aging populations that fueled her desire to wo...
Glenn Forister
  • On Campus
|Sep 19, 2023

HSC’s School of Health Professions to host Health Professions Workforce Symposium

Modern medicine is a team sport, and roughly 60% of that team is composed of practitioners who exist outside of the doctor-nurse paradigm. These vital pillars make up the backbone of the $3 trillion health care sector, and they’re among the fastest-growing professions in the world. From 5 to 8 p....