Pregnancy help centers are gaining more and more awareness as outreach efforts to women facing unplanned pregnancies continue to rev up across the nation.
While some centers are reaching new heights by incorporating quality prenatal healthcare into their service spectrum, Florida-based New Life Solutions pregnancy help organization has taken it one step further by operating a nationally accredited birth center for its clients and the community.
Breath of Life Women’s Health and Birth Center is a vital component of New Life Solutions’ pregnancy help organization, which includes five Tampa Bay-based pregnancy help locations that offer sonograms, STD/STI testing and post-abortion recovery support. A remarkable resource for pregnancy help center clients, Breath of Life specializes in natural childbirth, and also provides clients with premium prenatal, post-partum, and gynecological healthcare services.
The extensive scope of New Life Solutions services offers a pregnancy center client the opportunity to receive full pregnancy care and support from life-affirming staff, starting with pregnancy testing, extending to the time she delivers her baby at the Breath of Life facility—and even beyond.
“We're staffed by certified nurse midwives practicing full scope of midwifery, and we do all the prenatal care here,” Glenda Pearson, Breath of Life executive director, said. “The nurse midwives become their primary care provider during their pregnancy and even beyond, because they provide the well woman exam and do the screening and pap tests, pelvic exams, and breast exams, and refer to providers and other imaging services and labs and other specialists in the area, because they are actually part of the healthcare network as nurse practitioners.”
The idea for Breath of Life was inspired amid concerns that area women, mainly those who were eligible for Medicaid, were not being treated so well in the community, Pearson said. Consequently, a client services director with the pregnancy help ministry attended the American Association of Birth Centers’ “How to Start a Birth Center” workshop, and plans to construct Breath of Life began.
Recognized as Florida’s sole nationally accredited birth center, Breath of Life is the only birth center in the nation that is affiliated with pregnancy help centers, Pearson said.
In fact, while New Life Solutions remains the only nationally accredited birthing center functioning as part of a pregnancy help organization, there are 21 pregnancy help organizations affiliated with Heartbeat International—including New Life Solutions—that offer a full range of prenatal care in Florida, California, Ohio and 10 other states in the U.S.
This month, Breath of Life celebrated the birth of its 800th baby.
Tweet This: @FollowNewLife delivers 800th baby at nation's only #prolife birth center.
“We're now in our ninth year,” Pearson said. “We are doing over 150 births a year and have been growing at about 20 percent each year.”
“We are open to the entire community, so if they choose this model of care and they choose natural childbirth, they can become clients here. Some of our moms have had three and four babies with us already.”
Pearson said Breath of Life clients should expect to receive valuable education that will empower them to make informed choices about their healthcare, as well as receive quality healthcare services comparable to what is offered in a typical OBGYN office.
“Prenatal services here are the actual exams and tests and the actual healthcare which follows the same guidelines as the American Congress of OBGYNs,” she said. “In other words, the care you receive in an OBGYN office, whether it’s provided by the doctor or the nurse midwife, it is the same care that is provided here.”
Pearson said Breath of Life is contracted with all major insurance companies in the area and does charge for its healthcare services. Staff also are available to help women navigate the Medicaid system by helping them submit their applications and activate their eligibility.
“We really work hard to get all the resources we can to help each individual mom, and it’s very personalized,” she said.
New Life Solutions President and CEO Sol Pitchon said it’s imperative that pregnancy help centers continue adding resources beyond pregnancy tests and use a more ‘holistic’ approach to reach and further impact women and their families.
In addition to full pregnancy care, New Life Solutions also offers a transitional housing program known as Shepherd’s Village to single-parent families seeking increased self-sufficiency.
“We live in a different time, the culture has changed,” Pitchon, who has been at the helm of New Life Solutions since 1999, said. “These women don’t come in just for a pregnancy test; they have other needs more than ever, so why not provide a holistic approach? The more holistic approach we have, the more relationships we build with these women.”
The fruit of the New Life Solutions pregnancy help model can be seen in the numbers, Pitchon said, which not only speak to the impact being made on physical lives but spiritual lives as well.
“We have spoken to 100,000 families, singles, teens, women and couples who have had an unplanned pregnancy,” said Pitchon, a former therapist. “There have been over 8,000 babies saved from abortion and over 6,000 salvations and recommitments that we can document.”
The 2015 recipient of Heartbeat International’s Servant Leader award, Pitchon travels the country sharing his own personal testimony of being born through miraculous circumstances to his mother Garmaine, a Holocaust survivor who is now 90 years old. Pitchon believes he’s called to help end the ‘holocaust of abortion’ through the life-affirming work of New Life Solutions.
Tweet This: Tampa Bay @FollowNewLife one of 21 national #prolife nonprofit networks offering full prenatal care.
He also knows first-hand the heart-wrenching journey many families experience while facing an unplanned pregnancy, a road he and his family traveled several years before he joined New Life Solutions.
“My oldest daughter had an unplanned pregnancy when she was 16, and half the family wanted her to abort and [the boyfriend’s family], and thankfully she knew it was wrong,” Pitchon said.
Pitchon’s daughter chose life and gave birth to a son who is now a 26-year-old Marine serving in Bagdad.
“She protected him from abortion, now he’s protecting her and protecting all of us,” Pitchon said.
Stories similar to the Pitchon family will be shared in November at New Life Solutions’ 30-year anniversary celebration.
“We have many stories of wonderful outcomes and lives totally turned around,” Pearson said.
“It’s very much like being the hands and feet of Jesus here.”