USF nurse-midwives lead group prenatal care project

The interprofessional program aims to help prevent excess prenatal weight gain

Preventing excessive weight gain in pregnancy is the goal of a leadership project spearheaded by two certified nurse-midwives from the University of South Florida Colleges of Nursing and Medicine.

Jessica Brumley, CNM, MA, and Cecilia Jevitt, CNM, PhD, will design and offer group prenatal care with a focus on optimal nutrition, caloric intake and physical activity at the USF Medical Clinics. They expect to pilot the group prenatal care project this fall at the USF Health South Tampa Center for Advanced Healthcare. Interprofessional teams from nursing, medicine, nutrition and physical therapy will provide this innovative alternative to traditional individual prenatal checkups.

Brumley is a PhD student at the USF College of Nursing and nurse-midwife with the USF Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Jevitt is an associate professor with joint appointments in the USF Colleges of Nursing and Medicine.

Jessica Brumley (right), CNM, MA, a PhD student in the USF College of Nursing, was chosen for the Sigma Theta Tau International Maternal-Child Health Leadership Institute. Her local mentor for the group prenatal care project is Cecilia Jevitt (left), CNM, PhD, associate professor of midwifery and nursing.

The 18-month project is part of the Maternal-Child Health (MCH) Leadership Academy offered by the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), and Johnson & Johnson. Through the Leadership Academy, Brumley and Jevitt will receive expert mentoring from Diane Spatz, RN, PhD, an internationally-known expert in maternal child health from the University of Pennsylvania.

“Excessive weight gain in pregnancy and maternal obesity increase numerous risks in pregnancies, including maternal high blood pressure, gestational diabetes and prolonged labor,” said Jevitt, who has studied weight gain in pregnancy for a decade. “Keeping maternal weight gain within ranges needed for healthy fetal growth reduces these risks and helps prevent future obesity for both mother and child.”

Group prenatal care has been proven as a strategy for delivering comprehensive preterm care, but not yet been used to optimize weight gain in pregnancy. The USF pilot will adapt the Centering Pregnancy model developed by a certified nurse-midwife at Yale-New Haven Hospital. In this centering model, mothers-to-be spend more time with their health care providers and peers with similar due dates, giving them the opportunity to learn together and share experiences. The groups are designed to give patients the same level clinical expertise and care as those who opt for individual care, while focusing on psychological, social and behavioral factors to promote healthy pregnancy.

This year’s MCH Leadership Academy includes 20 pairs of mentors and mentees addressing such topics as breastfeeding of near-term infants and infants with congenital heart disease, post-partum patient education, child safety, and initiatives to successfully handle obstetric emergencies. The Academy prepares maternal-child health nurses for effective interprofessional team leadership as they strive to improve the quality of health care for childbearing women and children up to 5 years old.

“In large measure the health of the world is linked with the health of women and children,” said Karen Morin, RN, DSN, ANEF, president of STTI. “Developing the leadership abilities of individual nurses so that they can influence practice and policy related to healthy mother-baby and child outcomes is a priority.”