Vanderbilt University Study Finds That Group Prenatal Care May Be the Better Option

Researchers at the Peabody Research Institute at Vanderbilt University in Nashville have found that women who participated in group prenatal care programs were less likely to have premature or low birthweight babies than women who received individual care. The study involved 6,155 women receiving prenatal care in group or traditional one-on-one formats at five sites in Tennessee.

Tanner-SmithEmily E. Tanner-Smith, research assistant professor of human and organizational development at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College and lead author of the study, stated that the results showed “statistically and clinically significant beneficial effects on very low birth weight and fetal demise relative to traditional individually delivered prenatal care.”

Dr. Smith noted that this finding was particularly important because in some settings group care might be more cost effective and thus appealing to healthcare administrators. “The basic idea is that putting women in supportive environments leads to increased happiness and improved outcomes,” she said. “Building support networks might lead to improved health behaviors.”

Dr. Smith is a summa cum laude graduate of Belmont University in Nashville. She earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in sociology at Vanderbilt University.

The article, entitled “The Effects of CenterPregnancy Group Prenatal Care on Gestational Age, Birth Weight and Fetal Demise,” was recently published in Maternal Child and Health Journal. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study

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