Albany and it's surrounding counties have been shown to have higher than average preterm births, lower birth weights and infant fatality.
The pregnancy complications are even higher in African American women, which is unacceptable to Dr. Jacqueline Grant, "When you say that this baby, a black baby, has twice the rate of dying or three times the rate of dying then a white baby in a certain area in a year of life, that's just not acceptable to me."
This prompted Dr. Grant to help bring a program known as CenteringPregnancy to the area. The nationally trademarked model groups 8-10 expecting mothers with similar birthrate, in a classroom like setting.
During the visit, expecting mothers first have a one-on-one exam with the doctor or nurse practitioner, which includes a detailed history review, and a lab test. Then instead of following up one-on-one, they follow up with a group.
The group discussion is open to the mothers and fathers. Dr. Grant says this allows the expecting parents a lot more face time with the doctor, "When we see them, we're seeing them for a two hour session, and you get to know them so much better, and I think that helps from a providers stand point to be able to care for them a little bit better."
Nationally, CenteringPregnancy has shown a 33 percent reduction in preterm birth rates. Dr. Grant says when a pregnancy last its full 37 weeks the child is more likely to live a more full and healthy life, "You're talking long term issues that could occur as a result of that baby being born to early like eye problems, developmental disabilities."
Dr. Grant became involved in the program because she wanted to make a difference on a broader level. It's clear she's doing just that as the number mothers that go through the CenteringPregnancy program and still deliver preterm is half of the national baseline, and that's why she was chosen as one of our "What's Right" winners.