Supportive Pregnancy Care®

Supportive Pregnancy Care® is a flexible education and resources framework that enables maternity care providers to implement group prenatal care.

We’re fostering health literacy and health equity

March of Dimes created the program to increase access to group prenatal care and achieve equity in birth outcomes. It couples the clinical care received in traditional prenatal care with a significant amount of prenatal education, all in a group setting where participants and their health care providers form a network of mutual support.

Supportive Pregnancy Care is unique in that it addresses both social drivers of health and medical factors. It strives to be culturally relevant to the variety of communities served.

The program offers:

  • Prenatal care and health education – We train providers and clinical support staff on how to align their group prenatal care program with prenatal care guidelines established by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  • Social support – Expectant moms have more time with their care providers than they would during their standard individual prenatal checkups, which provides prenatal care education as well as vital social and emotional support from other group members.
  • Positive experiences – Both pregnant individuals and health care providers report having positive experiences with the program.

Learn more about how Supportive Pregnancy Care allows individuals to be fully engaged in their pregnancy care and providers to implement customizable group prenatal care according to their organization's needs and capacity.

We're here to provide everything you need to know to plan, implement and sustain a successful Supportive Pregnancy Care program in your practice or system. Below is a breakdown of the different materials you will have available to support you.

Supportive Pregnancy Care implementation and session guides. These documents provide information on the logistics of Supportive Pregnancy Care and include:

  • How to develop an implementation plan
  • How to form groups
  • Strategies to recruit patients and market your program
  • Considerations for tracking results
  • Program monitoring information
  • How to bill for services
  • Information on how to conduct a group session, including 20 session guides (one for each topic to cover throughout your group sessions)

Online training videos. You'll get unlimited access for two years to the following online training videos:

  • Why Group Prenatal Care? The Evidence. This module provides an overview of group prenatal care.
  • What Does Supportive Pregnancy Care Look Like? This module provides a picture of the program by following a pregnant individual on their prenatal care journey.
  • How Do I Plan & Implement Supportive Pregnancy Care? This module examines the logistics of implementing the program.
  • How to Be a Good Facilitator. This module focuses on the critical skills of group facilitation in a Supportive Pregnancy Care session.
  • How to Facilitate a Supportive Pregnancy Care Group: Engaging Participants. This module focuses on how to proactively engage group members in a group session.

Patient recruitment materials. Recruit pregnant individuals and market your program throughout the community by using the Supportive Pregnancy Care patient recruitment materials.

Data analysis and reporting. Based on group-level, aggregate data you submit to March of Dimes, you'll receive an annual site-specific report that presents attendance, demographic and outcome data for individuals who participated in Supportive Pregnancy Care during the agreement period.

Technical assistance. Hands-on assistance and peer-to-peer sharing will be available via on-demand meetings and quarterly group calls.

Evidence shows that prenatal care delivered in a group leads to better care with better outcomes. For example, when compared to women receiving traditional individual prenatal care, women who participate in group care:

  • Are at reduced risk for preterm birth and having a baby with low birthweight or small for gestational age (Ickovics, Earnshaw, Lewis, Kershaw, Magriples, Stasko et al., 2016)
  • Have babies who spend fewer days in a newborn intensive care unit (NICU) (Ickovics, Kershaw, Westdahl, Magriples, Massey, Reynolds et al., 2007)
  • Have higher breastfeeding initiation and duration (Ickovics et al., 2007)
  • Demonstrate better prenatal knowledge, greater readiness for labor and birth and higher satisfaction with their prenatal care services (ACOG, 2018; Ickovics et al., 2007).
  • Are less likely to have a repeat pregnancy at six months postpartum, thus reducing the risk of a subsequent preterm birth (Kershaw, Magriples, Westdahl, Rising & Ickovics, 2009)

These improved health outcomes have the potential to save millions of dollars in U.S. health care costs by reducing preterm birth rates and NICU admissions (Crockett, Heberlein, Glasscock, Covington-Kolb, Shea & Khan, 2017; Gareau, Lòpez-DeFede, Loudermilk, Cummings, Hardin, Picklesimer et al., 2016).

Supportive Pregnancy Care is billed the same way as traditional individual prenatal care. In most states, Medicaid should cover SPC and other models of group prenatal care. Your state's Medicaid program, as well as private insurers, may also reimburse for other services provided during SPC, such as prenatal education, childbirth preparation and breastfeeding education.

Here are some commonly asked questions and answers regarding the cost of the program:

Does private insurance pay for Supportive Pregnancy Care?

Supportive Pregnancy Care is prenatal care, so if a private insurance plan covers traditional prenatal care, it should also cover SPC.

How much does Supportive Pregnancy Care cost to implement?

There are varying prices for multiple implementation options including a self-implementation option, train-the-trainer option and full-service option including in-person training, technical assistance and patient materials.

Is there a cost to women to participate?

Again, since Supportive Pregnancy Care is prenatal care, the cost for the individual woman is generally covered by her insurance. If she is a self-pay patient, the charge for the program would be the same as the clinic charges for a traditional individual prenatal care visit.

Are there ongoing costs to maintain the program?

Once established, the licensed obstetrical provider’s time is reimbursable through Medicaid and other insurance. Ongoing costs include healthy snacks for each session and any consumable materials a site chooses to use (educational materials or activity materials). There will be a modest annual fee to retain access to updated March of Dimes training and patient materials and resources. We can provide assistance in your budget development process.

Are there grants available to help us implement Supportive Pregnancy Care?

To make the program operational within an organization’s budget from the start, and therefore more sustainable, March of Dimes is not providing community grants to implement Supportive Pregnancy Care. Instead, local March of Dimes can consider underwriting some of the costs of the program for a site that needs the it but can’t purchase it.

There are some critical steps your clinic must complete to implement Supportive Pregnancy Care. You'll have to:

  • Assess your site’s readiness using the Supportive Pregnancy Care Organizational Readiness Assessment form
  • Gain buy-in from leadership and staff
  • Define anticipated outcomes
  • Organize an implementation team, including key clinical, administrative and marketing leaders
  • Assess space and equipment
  • Identify facilitators
  • Train and prepare staff
  • Schedule sessions
  • Decide how to bill for services
  • Determine your operating budget

While minimal equipment is required, it's a necessary consideration. You'll need:

  • Comfortable chairs for at least 22 people
  • A privacy screen to partition off a section of the room for physical assessments 
  • A massage table or yoga mat to use for physical assessments
  • A body weight scale for women to weigh and record their weight
  • A blood pressure monitor and cuff that women can use to take their own blood pressure
  • Doppler to check fetal heart tones
  • Healthy snacks for participants
  • Device to play music or white noise during physical assessments to enhance privacy
  • Routine supplies utilized for prenatal exams at your facility, including measuring tape, gloves, urine collection containers and dip sticks
  • Wi-Fi accessibility so that mobile devices can be used to direct women to trusted resources during group meetings
  • Patient handouts (optional)
  • A variety of educational materials, games, icebreakers, and stress management activities as well as a list of special guests to invite to group sessions
  • Storage space for equipment and patient handouts—use a rolling cart if a permanent space is not available

Supportive Pregnancy Care is flexible—it allows you the ability to implement group prenatal care in a way that's best for your patient population and for your prenatal practice or health system. Are you ready to bring it to your organization?

If so, you should first complete our Organizational Readiness Assessment to see how ready your practice or health system is to start Supportive Pregnancy Care—you'll need this information when you sign up.

Do you have questions about implementing the program? Contact our Supportive Pregnancy Care team by emailing [email protected] for additional information.

Register for Supportive Pregnancy Care

We offer a number of entry points to the program, so you can plan, coordinate and implement group prenatal care in whatever way works best for your site.

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Questions? We have answers.

Contact us at [email protected] for more information on joining or implementing the Supportive Pregnancy Care program.