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Group Prenatal Care Shows Good Perinatal Results

Young women in group prenatal care have fewer preterm births and higher satisfaction rates

THURSDAY, Aug. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Publicly supported health clinics that provide young women with approximately 20 hours of free group prenatal care during pregnancy can result in a significant decrease in the number of preterm births compared to women who only receive a couple of hours of traditional, individual care, according to the results of a randomized, controlled study published in the August issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Jeannette Ickovics, Ph.D., of Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues randomized 1,047 women with a mean age of 20.4 years who were mostly black and had no high-risk medical problems to either prenatal care at publicly funded clinics or standard individual care of about two hours. Participants were followed through one-year postpartum to determine how care affected various outcomes.

There was a 33 percent reduction in the odds of a preterm birth in the group care model compared with the control group. Women in group care also scored higher in knowledge about their pregnancies, were better prepared for labor and delivery, were more satisfied, and were more likely to initiate breast-feeding than women in individual care.

"Group prenatal care resulted in equal or improved perinatal outcomes at no added cost," the authors conclude.

Two of the study's authors are associated with Centering Pregnancy and Parenting Association Inc., a Cheshire, Conn., non-profit that promotes the group care model.

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