Emily, an Exeter Township woman who recently learned she was pregnant, found a health care home recently when she visited a Prenatal Care Open House at the Downtown Campus of Penn State Health St. Joseph.
“I just wanted to get some more information, because it’s like, ‘we’re pregnant, now what do we do?’” she said. “I didn’t expect to get all this help when I came here today.”
Hosted by Kimberly Hunter, OB Nurse Navigator with Penn State Health St. Joseph, Emily received a tour of the Downtown Campus OB/GYN facilities and learned about St. Joseph’s innovative Centering Pregnancy program.
She was excited to hear about the program, which employs a group setting. With a group size of about six, women who are due within the same month interact with one another by learning together, sharing information and supporting one another.
While participating in the Centering Pregnancy program, expectant mothers also receive private prenatal care from Penn State Health St. Joseph providers.
“Centering is unique because there’s a self-care aspect,” Hunter explained to Emily. “I’m really proud of this program, and the women who participate in it really love it.”
The small group setting enables women to bond with one another as they share ideas and concerns and keep each other up to date about what’s happening with their pregnancies.
“It becomes a real feeling of community,” Hunter said. “There’s lots of sharing and concern for one another.”
Low-risk patients are given a choice of participating in the Center Pregnancy program or receiving traditional pre-natal care. About 60 percent choose the Centering option, which is managed by midwives.
“Most women enjoy the bonding and fellowship that happens with that group,” Hunter said. “But the more traditional type of care also is available.”
Before she left the open house that day, Emily was signed up for an intake appointment with a nurse, and feeling far more assured than when she’d arrived.
“This is amazing,” said Emily, who with her husband moved to the Reading area from a small town in Massachusetts. “Everyone here is so friendly and helpful. This place feels like a really good fit for my baby and me.”
Emily was only one of about a dozen women who attended the open house, anxious to learn more about their options for pregnancy care.
“Any patient in the community who appreciates and wants the services of a midwife can come here for those services,” explained Kelly Johnson, Clinic Leader of the Downtown OB/GYN department.
The Downtown Campus also is staffed by physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, medical assistants, community health workers and other staff who assist women throughout their pregnancies.
“Women can get all the care they need here, and then deliver at St. Joseph’s Bern Township hospital,” Hunter explained. “It makes it nice for anyone who lives in the City and might have an issue with transportation. We’ve got a great facility right here, downtown.”
Kim Hunter, MSN, RN, OB Nurse Navigator Planning a pregnancy? Expecting this year? Want to check out our birthing center? Or just have general questions? Call Kim Hunter, MSN, RN, OB Nurse Navigator and let her be your personal guide.
610-378-2569 | KHunter3@PennStateHealth.psu.edu | www.StJoesSpecialDeliveries.org