Alternative prenatal monitoring
- Traditionally, pregnancy monitoring is performed on a one-on-one basis with the health professional. A new pregnancy care model has recently emerged, emphasizing interpersonal relationships and the need for families to share their general and pregnancy-related experiences with others who are at the same stage of pregnancy.
- The Birth centre offers you this monitoring as part of a group of 5 to 8 families who, like you, are also waiting for their babies. Through these meetings, you can share your maternity or paternity experience with other extraordinary people and develop a supporting parent community which will provide you a very friendly social environment over the coming months and years. These meetings should not be confused with prenatal classes. The format of the group meetings aims at fostering discussion among members so they can learn from one another; it is not about listening to a lecture by the midwife.
- This model, which was designed in the US, and then fully developed in the Scandinavian countries, aims to create links between the families, create caring communities and promote the normalization of pregnancy. The model has no impact on health care and monitoring during pregnancy; in fact, several quality assessments actually indicate some advantages to choosing such a monitoring style.
- If you choose this alternative model, you will be assigned 2 midwives, just as in the one-on-one care model. Some meetings are one-on-one, while others are with the midwife and other families in your group. During each meeting, whether it’s a one-on-one or group meeting, you will be able to ask private questions to your midwife directly. One-on-one meetings last 30 minutes, while group meetings last anywhere between 1½ to 2 hours. If it were only up to the women, they would last 3 hours or more!
- During each of your group meetings, questions will be introduced in order to spark a discussion and address certain topics presented by your midwife to allow you to make informed choices during your monitoring. Your choices can always remain private. At these meetings, the midwives will always observe confidentiality in health and private matters. Most meetings will go with the flow of questions asked by parents and of discussions that ensue naturally. At the start and end of each meeting, the women will take a “belly break” away from the group in order to listen to the baby’s heartbeat, identify its position, and take fundal height measurements and blood pressure readings. During the last weeks of pregnancy, the meetings will be mostly one-on-one until they resume in group settings, with all your babies, postpartum.
- Satisfaction among families participating in group monitoring is very high. The meetings meet the need for connection and networking which ranks highly among Outaouais families.
- Finally, if you find that group monitoring is not suitable for you, you can simply let your midwife know, and she will either start seeing you on a one-on-one basis or refer you to a team of midwives who work solely with a one-on-one care model.