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Women walking together
Recent Healthy Beginnings Plus participants enjoy group exercising with their walking club.

LG Health offers Healthy Beginnings Plus, a free program for expectant mothers who are eligible for Medical Assistance. As a participant in Health Beginnings Plus, women have a dedicated health-care team to ensure mothers and babies receive the best medical care possible.

Among the Healthy Beginning Plus care offerings, mothers can also participate in the Centering Model of Prenatal Care, a nationally recognized model of prenatal care that brings together a group of pregnant women with similar due dates and their health-care team.

“The patient-centered environment allows women to receive time with their provider, form supportive relationships with other women, and learn about prenatal care, the birth process, newborn care, breastfeeding, overall health, and stress management,” said Mary Steffy, Manager of Health Beginnings Plus.

For five years, the Health Beginnings Plus team has offered these sessions to engage women in the health of their baby, as well as their own health. In addition to conversations about health, the sessions include an engaging activity, such as creating a breastfeeding necklace or a rice sock to provide comfort from back pain.

The group sessions end with the women discussing their personal experiences, which leads to greater engagement in well-being and stronger self-confidence. 

“We’ve found that the group discussions and meetings lessen the feeling of isolation and stress while building friendships and community supports,” Steffy added. “Many groups grow into playgroups after the birth of their babies.”

In addition to the group care setting, women are offered the support of a lactation consultant or breastfeeding counselor, stress reduction utilizing mindfulness, exercise classes, cooking classes, and childbirth education.

Health outcomes for mothers and babies in the program are improving:

  • Preterm birth rates of women participating in the Centering Model of Prenatal Care is 7 percent as compared to traditional care at 9.7 percent.
  • Breastfeeding initiation rates for women participating in the Centering Model of Prenatal Care is 84 percent as compared to traditional care at 74 percent.
  • Low birth weight for women participating in the Centering Model of Prenatal Care is 5 percent as compared to traditional care at 7 percent.
  • The Centering Model of Prenatal Care is offered at LG Health Family Medicine Downtown, Lancaster Health Center and at the Healthy Beginnings Plus office in collaboration with May-Grant Associates Nurse Midwives. 

Learn more about Healthy Beginnings Plus and Centering Model of Prenatal Care. Contact Mary Steffy with questions.

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