Jamaica Hospital Offers A Virtual Prenatal Experience For Women

Being pregnant can be very challenging, and even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the issues that a growing number of pregnant women are encountering at this time is loneliness.

Studies show that over 50% of expecting mothers admit to feeling extremely lonely and isolated because they are spending more time at home, and away from others.  These factors are believed to be contributors to a rise in prenatal depression.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center hopes to provide a solution to this problem by offering pregnant women a safe place where they feel supported. By moving its CenteringPregnancy program to a virtual space, patients of the hospital can receive prenatal care and actively engage with a community of healthcare providers and fellow moms on Zoom.

In the CenteringPregnancy program at Jamaica Hospital, patients with similar due dates are invited to participate in group sessions facilitated by doctors or midwives.  Participants meet every two or four weeks (depending on gestational age) and interact with nutritionists, lactation consultants and other healthcare providers.  A variety of topics including mental health, breastfeeding and labor preparation are discussed. Special guest speakers from organizations such as Safe Sleep and Queens Healthy Start are also invited to share information and connect moms to helpful resources.

Before their first group session, patients attend an in-person orientation where they are given a Centering prenatal kit. This consists of a scale, blood pressure monitor, fetal Doppler, books and other materials, all of which are needed to participate in the program.  Participants are trained on how to use each item to monitor their baby’s development and record vital health information.  Patients report this information to their providers in a private session before the start of every group meeting.

While engagement and group discussions are encouraged among participants, there are 1-on-1, break-away sessions during each meeting. Here, mothers can speak privately with facilitators about any concerns or questions they may have. If a patient’s needs cannot be addressed via Zoom, an appointment will be scheduled to see their doctor at the Women’s Health Center where strict COVID-19 safety protocols are followed.

Jamaica Hospital’s virtual CenteringPregnancy program has been highly successful. The program has earned recognition from leading institutions and is used to demonstrate the benefits of virtual prenatal care to other medical facilities.  

“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the pregnancy experience for a lot of women, and we are constantly thinking of ways to make it as positive as we can,” said Patricia Fox, Certified Midwife.  “Our team has established this unique, virtual platform so that we can provide our patients with a healthcare service that is convenient, safe and supportive. We understand how important these things are during these unprecedented times,” shared Thalita Viruet, Practice Manager for the Women’s Health Center.

To learn more about Centering at Jamaica Hospital, please call our Women’s Health Department at 718-291-3276.