March of Dimes: Supportive Pregnancy Care

By Heather Butscher, Director, Maternal Infant Health, March of Dimes
June 9, 2020

While short 15 to 30 minute prenatal visits with a physician can provide important and concise healthcare for an expecting mother, March of Dimes’ Supportive Pregnancy Care program is transforming the typical prenatal visit. During group sessions, women with similar due dates and their obstetric provider are brought together in a peer-led discussion.

Women still receive a private physical assessment with their health care provider. However, by offering adequate time for women to share their experiences with each other and ask questions applicable to the whole group, expecting mothers are able to gain knowledge related to pregnancy, birth and infant care that they might not otherwise. Furthermore, they are given the guided expertise to learn how to take their own vital signs, empowering them to monitor their individual health.

Multiple research studies have demonstrated that group prenatal care, such as this, can: increase patient and provider satisfaction with care; improve psychological outcomes; reduce preterm birth and rapid repeat pregnancy; and increase rates of breastfeeding initiation, all while reducing health care costs.

Supportive Pregnancy Care can be customized to fit the unique needs and resources of local health systems and care providers. And even after pregnancy and birth, mothers continue to find solidarity in the relationships formed from the Supportive Pregnancy Care program.

Examples of how the program manifests in inspiring, individual stories can be watched here

Supportive Pregnancy Virtual Groups (SPVG™)

With the impact of COVID-19, the March of Dimes is quickly working to adapt this programs to a virtual setting that will still provide the goal of building a cohesive support system among expecting moms in a virtual setting. Supportive Pregnancy Virtual Groups (SPVG™) can be joined via video or phone call from any place in the United States. Supportive Pregnancy Virtual Groups is designed to complement medical care and prenatal education and is not intended to act as a replacement for medical care. The virtual group allows women to come together with others to learn, laugh, relieve stress, share and feel supported.

New and expectant mothers can still join the following Supportive Pregnancy Virtual Groups, even though the sessions have already begun:

  • First and Second Trimester Supportive Pregnancy Virtual Group: 15 weekly sessions from June 4, 2020, to September 10, 2020, at 9 a.m. Central
  • Third Trimester and Postpartum Supportive Pregnancy Virtual Group: 10 weekly sessions from June 4, 2020, to August 6, 2020, at 3 p.m. Central

For more information about Supportive Pregnancy Care or how to bring the program to your clinic, please contact the March of Dimes.