Prenatal care provides a unique opportunity for healthcare providers to improve outcomes for women and their families and by extension community health. Therefore, prenatal care has the opportunity to become the cornerstone of healthcare in our nation. It can influence the health of the mother, newborn, and family unit long beyond the course of a 9-month pregnancy. However, evidence supporting positive outcomes from current tradition based models of prenatal care is lacking.

The current United States prenatal system limits the patient-provider relationship, does not empower the patient, lacks emphasis on education, and is not woman-centered. The aim of the study was to compare an alternative prenatal care model, Centering Pregnancy, to individual prenatal care. An initial comparative concept analysis of power and empowerment focused on the nurse’s role in cultivating empowerment in the pregnant woman. Subsequently, a study exploring the differences in outcomes for women in two different prenatal care groups was conducted. Differences examined included quality of prenatal care and pregnancy-related empowerment from the patient’s perspective. Also comparison of birth weight and gestational age at time of birth for a sample size of 51 pregnant patients (n =14 in Centering Pregnancy, n=37 in individual prenatal care).

Findings from this feasibility study revealed no statistical significance between the two independent groups in quality of prenatal care and gestational age. Differences in pregnancy-related empowerment (p = 0.083) and birth weight (p = 0.088) were noted to be approaching significance. Participants receiving individual prenatal care demonstrated higher post pregnancy-related empowerment. Centering Pregnancy participants had higher birth weights. The results call for further research into the effect of Centering Pregnancy on empowerment and birth weight with a larger sample size to determine if true significance exists.

Date of publication

Spring 5-31-2017

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Dr. Barbara Haas, Dr. Susan Yarbrough, Dr. Shih Yu Lee, Dr. Barbara McAlister, Dr. Suzy Lockwood


Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing