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Centering Pregnancy Program finds success in Yellowknife

(YELLOWKNIFE, March 31, 2016) The Centering Pregnancy Program, an evidence-based group prenatal care model, is helping to support, educate and connect women in Yellowknife throughout the stages of their pregnancy. The program replaces the conventional “one-on-one” prenatal care model, with groups of parents who meet together with health care practitioners.


The program, originally developed in the United States, groups parents together by estimated birth months, and through of sessions, covers a wide range of topics related to their pregnancy. Topics in the sessions include nutrition, labour management, stress, and baby care. In addition, each session includes local resources and information on traditional foods, safety and family violence resources, and local supports, such as the NWT Breastfeeding Support Group: Moms, Boobs and Babies.


“We feel that this is a very innovative way to approach prenatal care, and already it has proven to be successful with parents in Yellowknife,” said Yellowknife Health and Social Services Authority CEO, Les Harrison. “While the program originated in the U.S., it is flexible and can be adapted to address the needs of all clients.


The first session of the program in Yellowknife was held on December 14th, 2015. There are currently two groups of women, with 18 participants total. There are plans for six more women to start a new group this coming month. The goal is to continue to enrol 10-12 women and their partners or support people every month.


Each session is facilitated and supported by a healthcare practitioner who ensures important topics such as, the medications to avoid during pregnancy, or signs of pre-term labour, are covered. However it is the women and their partners or support people in the group who lead the discussion and decide what is covered.


“In this way the program is flexible, meaning women share and discover the information that is important to them, and become empowered in their own pregnancy and health care,” said CEO Les Harrison. “The group setting allows parents to connect with others on the same journey they are on, and develop a support network that may be ongoing even after delivery.”


The program, funded through the GNWT ECD Initiative, has been shown in other jurisdictions to reduce the rate of pre-term delivery and low birth weight rates, increase breastfeeding rates, reduce patient isolation and improve overall continuity and efficiency of care.


For more information contact:


Damien Healy
Manager, Communications
Department of Health and Social Services
Tel: (867) 767-9052 ext: 49034