Great Expectations: My First Centering Appointment

So what was my first centering appointment like? I thought I'd write about the whole experience before heading to my second appointment next week, so here's what it was like from beginning to end. I think I'm a fan of this centering model of care.

When I entered the meeting room, there were cute bags with an informational binder on every other seat for the expectant mothers, posters about the developing baby hung around the room and snacks set out on the table.

We were given a brief overview of the centering form of care followed by an ice breaker where we broke into groups of three and discussed a couple fun facts about our pregnancies so far. We then shared someone else's fact with the group when we all reconvened. It was really fun to chat and compare experiences and encourage each other since we're all due within a few weeks of each other and therefore on the same timeline.

During the introduction I found out about my future appointments (though I've known when ALL my appointments will be until the end of December.) I'll attend 8 centering appointments before my traditional office visits resumer and between 26 and 29 weeks I'll see my OB again to touch base as long as everything continues to go well.

At each appointment, we check our own vitals (weight and blood pressure) with the help of the nurse and this all gets documented in our binders and reported to the midwife when we see her individually during our later belly checks.

Then the class continues on a certain topic. This first class was focused on nutrition. We watched a couple short videos, discussed the basics for nutrition in pregnancy and then broke off for some binder activities (worksheets) while the midwife began individual belly checks.

One at a time we would head over to the area of the room where the midwife was performing belly checks. This area was sort of separated from the rest of the room by some plants, but it was off in the corner and did feel pretty private. You really couldn't hear the individual conversations from where I was sitting in the group and you remain fully clothed for the doppler.

During my belly check she documented my weight and blood pressure (which was sadly a bit high). Then she let me know the height of my uterus (mine came to the top of my belly button...crazy how they can tell!) Finally, she used the doppler to hear the baby's heartbeat and we recorded the heart rate. I had my blood pressure taken again a bit later and it had come down. The nurse said this happens all the time due to anxiousness and hearing the heart beat tends to but women at ease. I didn't realize I was anxious at all, but it did come down afterward so perhaps I was.

After all the belly checks were complete, we came back together as a group and discussed the questions that had been listed on the post-it board. That wrapped up our time together and then there was casual time as people were leaving to ask any left over individual questions.

Overall, I really liked the experience. It was great to talk with other women in the same stage of pregnancy and I'm looking forward to my future appointments. Hopefully Adam will come along for the next appointment.

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