A recent RCT evaluated CenteringPregnancy, a widely-used group prenatal care program that aims to improve racial equity in birth outcomes. Quick take: High-quality RCT finds no impact on rate of preterm birth or low birthweight for whole sample, or for Black or Hispanic subgroups.

Program:

  • CenteringPregnancy provides groups of 8-12 pregnant patients with group prenatal care sessions, including physical assessments followed by facilitated group discussion of family planning & childbirth preparation, stress management, newborn care, & parenting skills.

Study Design:

  • The study sample comprised 2,350 low or moderate income patients (41% Black, 21% Hispanic) who were randomly assigned to CenteringPregnancy vs usual (individual) care. Based on careful review, I believe the RCT was high quality (e.g., excellent baseline balance & low attrition).

Findings:

  • For the whole sample, the study unfortunately found no discernible impact on either the rate of preterm birth (10% treatment vs 9% control) or low birthweight (10% T vs 9% C). The study also found no impacts for Black or Hispanic patients analyzed separately.

  • The lack of subgroup effects for Black and Hispanic patients is disappointing but not yet definitive, as the study sample wasn't large enough to fully rule out such effects. Here's a link to the study.

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