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Waimea Program Focus on Native Hawaiian Mothers-To-Be

Posted September 26, 2013, 12:58 PM HST Updated September 26, 2013, 10:47 PM HST
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North Hawaii Community Hospital file courtesy photo.

North Hawaii Community Hospital has received a two-year, $206,768 grant to establish a culturally relevant prenatal care program for native Hawaiian women.

The grant from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs will allow the hospital’s Waimea Women’s Center to implement the CenteringPregnancy model to address health and emotional well-being and to improve pregnancy outcomes.

CenteringPregnancy offers a group approach to prenatal care, combining three essential elements of care every pregnant woman needs: health assessment, education and support to improve pregnancy outcomes, the hospital said in a press release.

The program involves eight to 10 mothers-to-be and their partners, all due to give birth at around the same time. They take part in 10 two-hour sessions beginning in the first trimester of pregnancy.

“Each session includes a comfortable environment, including food and an individual health prenatal assessment, with the majority of time focused on group discussions, creating a community and an opportunity to share common experiences and concerns,” the hospital said.

“Rather than having traditional short and frequent one-on-one visits with their healthcare provider, this group model of prenatal care known as CenteringPregnancy will better meet the needs of our unique, rural native Hawaiian population, which makes up nearly 30% of the community we serve and 50% of delivering moms at NHCH,” said Robin Ramsay, a certified nurse midwife at the Waimea Women’s Center and the CenteringPregnancy facilitator.

Maternal health indicators show a higher rate of infant mortality, teen birth rate and an increase in social risk factors in native Hawaiians that is in disproportion to other ethnic groups in the state, the hospital said.

“Our hope is to enroll 80 native Hawaiian women into this new culturally relevant prenatal program per year over the next two years,” Ramsay said.

“Benefits of the CenteringPregnancy model of care are many,” she said. “It creates a community for moms-to-be, focusing on a woman’s own experiences and sharing these experiences with each other.”

Additional benefits of this new group model of care include higher patient satisfaction and mothers-to-be are more involved in their prenatal care and are more likely to deliver healthy, full-term babies and to breast-feed longer.

“We are enthusiastic about this project and understand that it will benefit the community in ways that connect our people to preventive and interactive health care,” said Dr. Leina`ala Crawford, medical director of the hospital’s Kaheleaulani native Hawaiian health program.

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