to Improve Birth Outcomes in Louisiana
Prenatal Care in a Group Setting Reduces NICU Admissions, Low Birth Weights
On Thursday, April 6, The Amerigroup Foundation presented a $50,000 grant to the March of Dimes that will be used to help women across Louisiana access CenteringPregnancy programs, which bring together 8 to 12 pregnant women with similar due dates for prenatal care in a group setting. Women in the greater Baton Rouge area can access CenteringPregnancy programs through the Associates in Women’s Health physician practice on Woman’s Hospital’s campus.
CenteringPregnancy participants have their appointment on the same day, and after health checks, they meet to discuss topics such as nutrition, stress management, common discomforts and more. Health checks and meetings are up to two hours long, giving women 10 times more time with their health provider. This extra support has been proven to improve birth outcomes, specifically reducing preterm births and the number of babies born with low birth weights.
Expanding access to CenteringPregnancy programs can improve birth outcomes in our community. A recent study conducted by Amerigroup’s parent organization examined a group of 85 pregnant women enrolled in Medicaid who attended at least four CenteringPregnancy sessions with a similar group of expectant mothers who instead saw their doctor individually. The pregnant women participating in the CenteringPregnancy program had a 3.5 percent NICU admission rate, while 12 percent of the matched control group had babies needing NICU care. The research results demonstrated that CenteringPregnancy engages patients in their own health, enhances the care experience for both patient and provider, and creates a community of support. All of these components contribute to healthier moms and babies.
Prematurity is the top killer of babies in Louisiana and across the U.S. Babies born even a few weeks early have higher rates of illness and hospitalization compared to full-term newborns. Each year, approximately 15 million babies are born too soon in the U.S. and 1 million die. Additionally, the U.S. preterm birth rate increased 36 percent between 1980 and 2006, giving us the highest rate of any developed country.
Pictured, left to right: Kathy Victorian, Community Outreach Manager, Amerigroup Foundation; Dr. Lin Dang, OB-GYN, Associates in Women’s Health; Dr. Raymond Poliquit, Medical Director, Amerigroup Louisiana; Susie Johnson, Capital Area Executive Director of Market Development, March of Dimes; Dr. Rebekah Gee, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health.