• Centering;
  • Enhanced prenatal care;
  • Maternity;
  • Midwifery;
  • Prenatal quality of care;
  • Prenatal

Prenatal care is a venerable tradition in the U.S. health care system and one that deserves critical examination. Inordinate amounts of public and personal resources are expended on a tradition of care that has not proven itself equal to current perinatal prevention challenges. In this article, the evolution of prenatal care is reviewed, its efficacy is critiqued, and efforts at restructuring the content and processes of care are examined. Three promising alternatives to the dominant medical model are described: the comprehensive prenatal care approach illustrated by many publicly funded prenatal clinics, the prenatal empowerment model as exemplified by midwifery care, and the prenatal group model as illustrated by CenteringPregnancy. Nurses are called upon to champion prenatal options for women. JOGNN, 35, 278-285; 2006. DOI: 10.1111/J.1552-6909.2006.00039.x