UnitedHealthcare and UWH of North Carolina, an affiliated medical practice of Unified Women’s Healthcare, have announced an initiative using the group prenatal care model, CenteringPregnancy, to improve outcomes and reduce racial and social disparities among mothers in North Carolina by providing access to quality maternal care.
With $175,000 in support from UnitedHealthcare, the collaboration with UWH of North Carolina will launch the CenteringPregnancy initiative at several locations in the state, including Wayne Women’s Clinic in Goldsboro. These locations were identified in collaboration with local health care providers as practices that may benefit from the introduction of CenteringPregnancy.
CenteringPregnancy is an evidence-based model of group prenatal care shown to improve a wide range of birth outcomes including lowering the risk of preterm births, reducing low birth weights, increasing rates of breastfeeding, increasing postpartum depression screenings and promoting healthier pregnancy spacing. The initiative brings together up to 12 people with similar due dates, their partners, support people and health care team to meet for 10 prenatal visits. Participants engage in their care by measuring their weight and blood pressure, recording their health data and meeting privately with their provider for the clinical assessment.
“We recognize that poor maternal health outcomes remain high among women in North Carolina, and that Black women and infants represent a disproportionate share of adverse outcomes,” said Anita Bachmann, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of North Carolina. “Access to quality prenatal health care will help close the gap on health inequity. We are proud to partner with UWH of North Carolina to address disparities and improve maternal health outcomes in North Carolina.”
According to March of Dimes, North Carolina ranks higher in the preterm birth rate compared to the national average, and the preterm birth rate among Black women is 46% higher than all other women. North Carolina also has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting 808 infant deaths since 2019. Overall, Black women have at least twice the rate of severe maternal morbidity and are at least three times as likely to die from pregnancy-related complications, compared to white women.