National Study Looks at Group Prenatal Care
Vanderbilt University, United Health Foundation and Yale University are collaborating on a national study to evaluate the effectiveness of a new model of group prenatal care designed to improve the health and well-being of mothers and babies during pregnancy, birth and infancy. Initial participants are invited to join a study that will evaluate the model and each mother’s experience with group prenatal care.
Expect With Me, is based on clinical guidelines from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American College of Nurse Midwives. The design and delivery of the program was created based on evidence from two National Institutes of Health-funded studies that found that prenatal care delivered in a group setting was associated with fewer preterm births, reduced incidence of infants who are small for their gestational age, and shorter neonatal intensive care unit stays after birth when needed.
The program provides valuable social and emotional support in addition to standard prenatal care, education and skills. While expecting mothers typically spend 15-20 minutes with their doctors at each visit in traditional prenatal care, Expect With Me features 10 two-hour care sessions during the second and third trimesters, with the first few sessions held one month apart, moving to biweekly care later in the pregnancy. Each care session includes a physical assessment by a healthcare provider, an evaluation of the mother’s and baby’s vital signs, and a group education, skills-building, and discussion session.
Expect With Me also includes a secure web portal and social networking features that enable expectant mothers to stay connected between care sessions and have access to a strong support network. Incentives, gaming and videos are anticipated to help patients engage, follow care recommendations and promote better health among mothers and babies. This model of care will provide more than 1,000 women ages 14 and older with medical care from a physician or midwife and educational information on having a healthy pregnancy. Participants also benefit from peer support from other expecting mothers who participate in the group sessions.
Expect With Me aims to enroll at least 400 women in the pilot in Nashville. Those interested can enroll at either Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks or NorthCrest Medical Center in Springfield, Tenn.
“Expect With Me values creativity, innovation and a commitment to always doing what is right for expectant moms and their families,” said Deborah Wage, FNP, CNM, assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Vanderbilt University. “Expect With Me is a result of those values – a group care model meeting the needs of women using high-tech, social, web-based tools and the low-tech benefits of support and empowerment from the group. Vanderbilt is proud to be a part of this innovation.”
“Our hope is that Expect With Me will be a model for a nationally scalable method of care that works with community-engaged organizations and healthcare partners to meet the ‘triple aim’: better care, better outcomes and reduced cost for prenatal and postpartum care, added Jeannette Ickovics, PhD, professor, Yale School of Public Health.
While aimed at women in their first trimester, participants may enroll up to 24 weeks into their pregnancy. Commercial insurance, Medicaid or TennCare will cover Expect With Me as it would any other prenatal care.
Vanderbilt has offered group prenatal care at Vanderbilt One Hundred Oaks for several years, which led to the partnership with Yale University and United Health Foundation to create Expect With Me, Additional in-kind support was provided from UnitedHealth Group and the UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization. United Health Foundation is currently launching and studying pilot programs in Nashville, Detroit and McAllen, Texas.