Sumter OB/GYN receives Centering Pregnancy certification

Posted on 2/23/2016

Palmetto Health Tuomey-based OB practice rewarded for improving health of moms and babies.

Palmetto Health Tuomey-based obstetrics practice Sumter OB/GYN has received certification for its continued dedication to the Centering Pregnancy model and the impact it is making on the health of mothers and their babies. This certification shows the progress of Centering as well as the long-term sustainability of this empowering program.

“We appreciate that this represents the commitment of considerable time, energy and resources on the part of your staff and organization,” said John Craine, regional director of the Centering Healthcare Institute. “Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do to improve the health and well-being of mothers, babies and new families.”

Centering provides a place where moms can learn important information about their bodies, their babies and their health in a relaxed environment that fosters confidence. First-time moms and women with four other children; upper-class, middle-class and economically challenged women; black, white, Hispanic and Asian; young and not so young -- all who were asked agree that Centering creates a village of nurturing.

Certified Nurse Midwife Barbara Jarvis said a recent “graduate” commented that being in the Sumter OB/GYN Centering Pregnancy program made her feel “important, well-cared-for and loved.”

“It doesn’t get any better than that!” Jarvis said.

More than 170 women have delivered babies through one of the 31 groups implemented by Centering Pregnancy since it began in Sumter.

In 2013, DHEC and the March of Dimes chose five South Carolina OB practices to participate in the Patient Centering Initiative. The goal was to reduce the number of low-birth-weight babies by promoting individual health empowerment and community-building. Sumter OB/GYN was one of those five. The practice was later nationally certified to continue the program.

In Centering, women with similar due dates are put into small care groups led by a physician, midwife or nurse. They meet on a schedule that follows the traditional OB model: every four weeks until the 28th week; every two weeks until the 36th week; one-on-one weekly care after that.

The sessions begin and end on time – every time. There’s no waiting in the lobby or in a small exam room. The women get two full hours with a practitioner and with each other. The sessions are scheduled consistently so busy women can plan around them more easily. After a private medical assessment, the women  socialize and participate in group-led discussions about anything that comes up: Nutrition. Odd cravings. Exercise restrictions. Hair that’s thicker or thinner. The debate over whether to save the umbilical cord blood. How much swelling of the ankles is too much? Often, because of the nature of a social group, things come up that women might have never felt comfortable enough to bring up in a typical doctor’s visit – topics like anxiety about sex during pregnancy or fear of post-partum depression.
According to the Birth Outcomes Initiative, CenteringPregnancy leads to a 50 percent reduction in pre-term labor, a 55-percent reduction in NICU stays, and a 50-percent reduction in low-birthweight babies, as well as a 78-percent increase in breastfeeding. All of which can lead to far lower health care costs for the moms, the families and the hospitals.

Triz Smith, an obstetrician with Sumter OB/GYN, says that Centering benefits his patients by giving them more time with the physician. “Studies have shown a reduction in pre-term birth with Centering. We’ve also noticed fewer emergency or Labor and Delivery visits because the women are more educated about whether something is a normal discomfort in pregnancy or really something to worry about.”

The program helps physicians as well, he said. “We get to know the patient better and what their needs are.”

For more information on Centering Pregnancy, call Sumter OB/GYN at 775-9650 or visit

Submitted by Traci Quinn, a manager in the Palmetto Health Tuomey Marketing and Communications Department. Call 803-774-8663 or email questions to


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