UAMS Group Prenatal Care Program Only Arkansas Site Accredited by Centering Healthcare Institute

By Kate Franks

“I loved the conversations we had and that we had the same doctor, nurses and other moms for every session,” said Cochran. “The fathers could also attend and talk with each other about fatherhood. I use all the great advice given on a daily basis, and we haven’t had any big surprises because we were told what to expect – the good, bad and ugly – during our Centering sessions.”

The UAMS CenteringPregnancy program was recently accredited by the Centering Healthcare Institute and is the only program of its kind in Arkansas.

Research shows that women who participate in a Centering program have a 33 to 47 percent lower risk of pre-term births compared to other women. Research also shows the program helps increase overall health outcomes, improves the health care experience and job satisfaction, and lowers the cost of care.

“CenteringPregnancy is a great way to experience pregnancy with other women,” said Nirvana Manning, M.D., medical director of the UAMS Women and Infants Service Line. “During Centering visits, moms do some of their own care, such as measuring their blood pressure, temperature and weight. Then they have one-on-one time with their provider before the group setting.

“I’ve been amazed at the bonds all the groups form throughout their pregnancies,” said Manning. “Many of our groups have reunions so their babies can meet, and they also set up text message or social media groups so they can stay in touch. Having someone go through what you’re going through can be so helpful – it’s great for both the moms and their babies. We’ve already seen a significant increase in breastfeeding rates among our moms who have participated in Centering due to the support of our health care team and other moms. We’re thrilled to be able to offer our patients Centering as an option for prenatal care.”

“I’d recommend Centering to other moms because as a new mommy, I wanted to be around other women who were going through the same thing I was,” said Kristi Fisher, mother of 2-month-old son Michael J. Gauss. “Our questions and concerns were never belittled, and the nurses and staff made us feel very comfortable. We also learned a lot and had lots of laughs. It’s a great experience for any mom, especially new mothers of all ages who need extra support and education. Centering has helped me and my baby because it provided all the information we needed to succeed.”

“Centering is a very effective way to deliver health care to patients with similar health issues,” said Steppe Mette, M.D., senior vice chancellor for UAMS Health and UAMS Medical Center CEO. “Patients learn in a relaxed setting and feel more empowered in talking with their care team about their health. With CenteringPregnancy, this benefits women throughout their pregnancy and in their new role as mothers.”

UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and eight institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute, Institute for Digital Health & Innovation and the Institute for Community Health Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS’ clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,275 students, 890 medical residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 12,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube or Instagram.