Grant Aims to Reduce Infant Mortality Rate in Forsyth County

March 13, 2012

The March of Dimes Foundation has extended a grant of $50,000 to fund a second year of the CenteringPregnancy Program at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center's Downtown Health Plaza.

The program provides innovative prenatal care to address unmet maternal and child health needs in Forsyth County, which has the second-highest infant mortality rate among the state's five most populous regions. The program is designed for pregnant women of different ages, ethnicities, races and socioeconomic groups, and holds promise for significantly reducing rates of pre-term birth.

This year, the program expects to reach between 300 to 500 at-risk women and their newborn babies through patient-centered care and peer support, with the ultimate goal of improving birth outcomes.

"We are very excited to have continued support from the March of Dimes for 2012," said Mary Fitzmaurice, M.S.N., C.N.M., coordinator of the CenteringPregnancy Program. "Since starting our first group at the Downtown Health Plaza in March of 2011, we've observed a 4 percent pre-term birth rate among those exposed to Centering, and patient satisfaction with the program has been about 90 percent. This early data shows a lot of promise and feeds our enthusiasm to grow this program, which has potential to make a great impact on the community."

The grant will expand the number of groups in the program and allow providers to see more patients. An English-language group, a Spanish-language group and an additional group that will fluctuate based on the needs of those enrolled will meet regularly. The funding also will allow the program to serve as a model and training site for future providers of the service.

For more information, visit or its Spanish-language site at For more information about CenteringPregnancy, visit

Media Relations

Paula Faria:, 336-716-1279