Funding to expand CenteringPregnancy® services, obtain program accreditation


February 2, 2011

BURLINGTON – Expecting mothers receiving prenatal services at the Alamance County Health Department (ACHD) will greatly benefit from enhanced prenatal care and support services thanks to a March of Dimes  grant that will address unmet maternal and child health needs.

The March of Dimes North Carolina Chapter recently awarded one of its 2011 Community Awards to ACHD.  The $41,565.00 grant award will be used to expand the health department’s CenteringPregnancy® program and assist in obtaining accreditation from the Centering Healthcare Institute.

“These grants address significant maternal and child health issues such as access to care, prenatal support, and infant mortality prevention that are of concern in our community,” said Marcia Swartz, March of Dimes Program Services Chair.

CenteringPregnancy®, a new option at the Maternity Clinic at ACHD, is an innovative prenatal program that  allows patients to see the same provider throughout their pregnancies, participate in their own care, eliminate wait time, and meet other pregnant women with similar due dates.  Women are given the chance to discuss topics important to them during their pregnancies and form friendships and support that last beyond the pregnancy, while at the same time receiving high quality prenatal check-ups.  CenteringPregnancy® has been implemented in a wide range of settings nationally from private OB offices to local health departments and has been associated with lower preterm delivery rates, increased breastfeeding rates, and higher patient satisfaction.

With the expansion funding, ACHD will now plan to provide four Centering groups during in the 2011 calendar year.  Each Centering group consists of 10-12 participants and their support persons.  Any pregnant woman who seeks care through the ACHD and has no high risk conditions will be eligible to participate in Centering.

“We are exceedingly fortunate to have this program at the health department,” said Dr. Kathleen Shapley-Quinn, Alamance County Health Department Medical Director.  “CenteringPregnancy® has been proven, in multiple locations around the country, to improve outcome of some of the most vulnerable babies, as well as creating supportive communities for pregnant women.  It is programs like this which will help us continue to improve the health of women and children in our community.”

The March of Dimes is a national voluntary health agency whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. Founded in 1938, the March of Dimes funds programs of research, community services, education, and advocacy to save babies and in 2003 launched a campaign to address the increasing rate of premature birth. For more information, visit the March of Dimes website at or its Spanish language website at

For more information about CenteringPregnancy® or other services provided by the ACHD Maternity Clinic, please call (336) 227-0101.