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Expanding your family is a tremendously exciting time in life. Without a doubt, parenting is one the most rewarding, yet challenging jobs – but you aren’t alone. CMU Health's team of pediatricians foster a family-friendly environment for the healthy growth and development of our pediatrics patients, while directly involving the parents in their child's care plan.

In partnership with the Michigan Health Improvement Alliance, Inc. and Centering Healthcare Institute , we are proud to share with you an interactive model of care for families with newborns – CenteringParenting® . This program replaces traditional childcare and brings 6-8 moms, dads, partners, support people and their infants (age 0 – 2 years) together in community with their health care providers and other parents of same-age infants, who are experiencing similar milestones at the same time.

CenteringParenting® fosters a safe and supportive environment to ask questions and creates lifelong bonds between families. Each visit begins with individual well-child health assessments, immunizations, and developmental screenings that follow nationally recognized guidelines.

What is CenteringParenting?

CenteringParenting® provides family centered well-child care for the first two years, continuing on from CenteringPregnancy® or starting when 6-8 parents and infants of the same age are brought together for care. In each two hour visit you’ll have a one-on-one assessment with the provider and then time for group discussion. You are actively involved in your child’s assessment at every visit: tracking growth, development, immunizations and oral health. Individual well-child health assessments, immunizations and developmental screenings follow the Bright Futures™ nationally recognized guidelines. An emphasis on family, self-care, wellness and women’s health is woven throughout.

Frequently Asked Questions

What topics are discussed during sessions?

  • Tracking growth and milestones 
  • Immunizations 
  • Infant attachment 
  • Early literacy
  • Child safety and safe sleeping 
  • Breastfeeding 
  • Family dynamics 
  • Stress management and self-care

How is my privacy protected in a group setting?

At the first group session, each person signs a confidentiality agreement and it is emphasized that particular concerns should not be discussed outside the group setting. Ground rules are agreed upon and posted in the group space. The decision to share information with the group is made by each participant; no one ever is pressured to disclose personal concerns. Individual time with your provider will be conducted in a private area of the Centering® room. Should you require an exam or have issues that require additional privacy, you will be seen in an exam room outside the Centering® appointment.

What is the cost of this type of care?

Your charges and/or copays for CenteringPregnancy® and CenteringParenting® care are the same as traditional care and are determined by your insurance coverage. If you have questions about your coverage and estimated out-of-pocket expenses, talk with the healthcare practice administrator.

I am not sure I can leave my job for a two-hour appointment. Centering® group care is your healthcare visit.

And while two hours may seem like a long time for your prenatal or well-child visit, remember there is no waiting for your appointment to start – when you arrive you will go right to the Centering® room to get started. There is no need to check out after either, or to spend valuable time scheduling your next visit. You will receive a schedule of all your appointments when you enroll in Centering® so that you can make arrangements for time off in advance.

I have problems with childcare. May I bring my older children to my group visits?

There are multiple reasons why this is strongly discouraged. First, most children will be bored in a two hour group. Bored children are typically a distraction for their moms and other group participants. Also, children do not sign confidentially agreements and the group’s privacy is something we take very seriously. You will know the schedule of visits in advance and have confidence that each group visit will start and end on time. We hope this will make it easier for you to make child care arrangements in advance.

I’m afraid that my provider won’t really get to know me in a group setting.

Most patients and providers find they get to know one another better through Centering® groups. This is because you spend so much more time together! In Centering®, you get both private time to ask questions and talk with your provider, as well as group time that is fun and informative.

Can my partner or other support person attend my groups with me?

We encourage you to bring your partner or support person – they will benefit from being a part of the group too! We ask that you bring the same person to each session for continuity and confidentiality. Support people sit in the circle and fully participate in all of the activities and discussions.

What if someone is sick?

If you or your child are not feeling well and are potentially contagious, we ask that you don’t come to your group visit. Just call the practice and schedule an individual appointment. Your group will appreciate it and look forward to seeing you next time!

I won’t feel comfortable sharing information in a group setting.

That’s a common concern. Rest assured that there is no pressure to share anything with the group that you are not comfortable sharing. However, most participants find that the group quickly feels like a group of friends who are all going through similar things, and the benefits they receive from sharing their experiences are tremendous.

Two hours seems like a long time for a healthcare visit. What happens during the two hours?

At the start of a CenteringParenting® session, you will complete your self-care and have an individual assessment and time with your provider. You may complete a “Conversation Starter” in your Centering® notebook about a topic you’ll discuss later, enjoy snacks and chat with other group participants while each patient meets with the provider individually. When the group “circles up” together, there is facilitated discussion and activities.

You will weigh and measure your baby and then meet with your provider for the individual well-child assessment, screenings, and questions. Immunizations may be given at this time, during a break, or at the end of the group visit. At every visit mothers participate in their own self-assessment; tracking your weight and blood pressure (optional), completing postpartum screening tools, and recording your progress in meeting your own self-care goals in your Centering® notebook. After the well-child checks are complete, the group “circles up” to explore a broad range of health, safety and parenting topics.

Groups are lively, interactive, focused on the topics that are most important to you and FUN!

What about my child’s immunizations?

Immunizations, health assessments and developmental screenings follow the American Academy of Pediatrics Bright Futures™ nationally recognized guidelines. Your healthcare team may invite you to come in a few minutes early or may plan to administer the immunizations during a break or at the end of your Centering® group visit.

CMU Health has a Patient Vaccination Policy, which requires Pediatric patients to be up-to-date with all vaccinations recommended by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Please visit our Policies & Expectations page for more information about our Vaccination Policy.

Group Schedules

View upcoming CenteringPregnancy® group schedules or email for more information. Courses are held at 1000 Houghton Ave., Saginaw, MI 48602.