Centering can mean healthier babies and happier parents

Centering can mean healthier babies and happier parents

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A program at Lexington Medical Center called Centering helps the parents be more involved in their care and the babies through health assessments, education and support groups.

We met with the moms and dads again - now that they've seen the fruits of their labor.

When we first met Brittany Hardy, deciding what she and her husband would name their first child was one of her main concerns.

Now, the issue is swaddles versus sleepsuits. Brittany can laugh at that as she and David feel they were well-prepped through the Centering sessions at Lexington Medical Center for the more significant aspects of having a child.

"As far as the actual delivery process I knew what to expect and it made it a lot less stressful for me," Brittany said. "And then also having tips, when we got home as far as taking care of the baby, bathing him and things like that, it was kind of like, okay, this is what they said would happen and this is what's happening."

In the last nine months, the parents have learned from Dr. Valerie Skinner of Lexington Women's Care and her staff about baby care, breastfeeding and childproofing the home. The program takes new parents in the beginning of their pregnancies and then - like in this meeting - the groups gets back together after the births to share their stories and continue the learning process.

"We've already seen a higher rate of breastfeeding in our patients. They've got a great support network, not only with our practice but with each other so they're able to call and talk to each other and discuss issues and work things through," said Dr. Skinner.

The Centering follow-up meeting also teaches to expect what could be unexpected.

"We make sure at this visit and their postpartum visit that they're recovered from their deliveries," said Dr. Skinner, "that they're continuing the breastfeeding, that they're not suffering postpartum depression." 

Depression is something that can affect a mom just days after the delivery - or weeks, even months later.  In Centering, just as much emphasis is put on the dads.

David says, "I'm big on asking questions and getting everyone's insight from their own experience and different perspectives. That's been really cool and I kind of rely on that."

Doctors are finding the supplemented care helps reduce South Carolina's normally high preterm labor and delivery rates - helping parents meet their babies' needs when they're supposed to.

"I see the bond they've formed with their children," said Dr. Skinner. "And I've formed a bond with each of them. I've cared for them medically, but on a personal level, it is very satisfying."

And as far as the name for little baby Hardy,  the Hardys named him Boston Luke.

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