Wednesday, 04 August 2021
Pregnancy Health Center Nurse Manager Brenda Droege demonstrates an ultrasound on PHC Executive Director Heather Mitchell in the center's new medical clinic. Pregnancy Health Center Nurse Manager Brenda Droege demonstrates an ultrasound on PHC Executive Director Heather Mitchell in the center's new medical clinic. Photo By: Ricki Barker, The Richmond Register

Kentucky Pregnancy Center Adding Ultrasound for 'Moment of Pause'

The Madison County Pregnancy Health Center (PHC) recently unveiled its new medical clinic.

Executive Director Heather Mitchell said the addition of the medical component has expanded the impact the PHC can have within the community.

"We are now a state licensed special medical clinic and that is so huge for us," the executive director said. "The addition of the medical component opens up so many more ways we can reach out and help those ladies in the community who have unplanned pregnancies or who are financially underprivledged."

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The addition of the new ultrasound machine and medical staff at the center will help women make sound decisions for future care, Mitchell explained.

"With the ultrasound we can, first of all, make sure the baby is in the uterus or if she has had an ectopic pregnancy, which can be dangerous. We can also diagnose how far along the baby is, listen for a strong heartbeat and determine if the woman will have a possible miscarriage," Mitchell said. "All of these things are so important to know and sets the stage for the future care of mother and baby."

Mitchell said the ultrasound allows women to get a snapshot of both the mother and baby's health early in the pregnancy, which can help woman make more informed decisions.

It will also be a great resource to allow those with an unplanned pregnancy and don't want to use their parent's insurance to receive all the facts before making a decision.

She said the medical services will greatly impact underpriveledged women and young women who have unplanned pregnancies.

"We can offer them a place where they can still be provided with care anonymously, which is so important," Mitchell said

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Mitchell added young women can now come to the clinic and receive the help they need without judgement.

"We want these ladies and men to know they aren't alone and we want to give them these tools which will empower them and help them make informed decisions," Mitchell explained. "A lot of them are so scared and they think their parents are going to kill them. When you are motivated by fear, you aren't thinking clearly.

"We offer them peer counseling and we lay out all the options in front of them and discuss the pluses and minuses of each. We give them that moment to pause and think instead of just reacting."

After the initial appointment or walk-in, PHC then follows-up with the mothers to offer them more assistance in whatever choice they have made.

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PHC Nurse Manager Brenda Droege said in addition to the ultrasounds, the center offers women free pregnancy tests and prescriptions for prenatal vitamins as well as doctor referrals.

In addition to the medical clinic, PHC offers mothers and fathers who choose to parent a variety of services to help them not only through pregnancy, but throughout their children's lives.

After completing the parenting program, families are often provided a brand new car seat through the center's car seat program.

"We found that a lot of ladies had to borrow a car seat to take their babies home from the hospital and then are left without one or they would be forced to buy used car seats that are either not the right size or may have been in a car crash previously and are not a safe," Mitchell explained. "The dangers are too great to be traveling without a child in a car seat, so we began the car seat program to help young mothers."

The center also features a baby boutique where parents enrolled in classes can spend "baby bucks" and pick out new strollers, bedding, diapers, formula or clothing for their new arrivals.

Mitchell said it was important for the community to know about the resources available at PHC.

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"We've been here for 25 years and we have grown so much in that time. We want the community to know we can offer so much more than just diapers and formula. We offer support to women during a very stressful period. We are here for them, without judgement, and we understand," Mitchell said.

Article originally appeared June 10 at The Richmond Register. Republished with permission.

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