“This is a third-generation pregnancy center—that means we could have clients whose mothers and grandmothers have relied on our care.”
When COVID-19 came to Ohio, The Pregnancy Center of Greater Toledo came together to develop their response and adapt to changing conditions.
Under the leadership of Executive Director Savannah Marten, she and her team created a 20-page action plan laying out how they would transition to comply with all regulations and continue to serve Toledo.
Staff and volunteers began wearing gloves and masks, as well as taking temperatures before beginning their shift.
Appointments are staggered to minimize overlap between patients and allow for time to sanitize. When clients call in to schedule appointments, they are vetted to make sure they weren’t displaying symptoms. No guests are allowed, and no walk-ins. Women who are vulnerable to coronavirus exposure due to underlying conditions are encouraged to stay home—but no vulnerable client is ever turned away.
Even though they’re down to a skeleton crew of 4-5 people, The Pregnancy Center of Greater Toledo is still able to offer women appointments, ultrasounds, and even maintain their 24-hour text and call line to schedule appointments and ask medical questions at 567-694-5576.
This line also functions as a way for pregnant women to make their needs known. Since COVID-19, the center has seen a 33% increase in abortion-vulnerable women. Donations, however, have increased 200%. Working with the community, the center has received over 8500 diapers, over 300 packages of baby wipes, and more than 300 cans of formula.
Even after serving clients, the center still had enough supplies to go out into Toledo and physically deliver supplies to needy residents, including people standing in line at food pantries, community agencies, and churches.
Part of their response to the coronavirus would require coming up with a way to continue their “Earn While You Learn” program. Before coronavirus, expectant mothers would attend educational courses in person in order to earn baby equipment and supplies.
Instead of attending those classes in person, clients can now access this program through Bright Course. This way, enrollment and curriculum videos can be sent over text—no WiFi access required!
“Even women that are excited to carry their baby to term may still have issues with access. Not having a support system, a job, or access to care can all make someone vulnerable to abortion.”
Earn as You Learn curriculum is broken down into three parts so participants can learn about each trimester. Clients learn how to make a birth plan, maintain maternal health, and promote prenatal care. This technology can be utilized even in the future–working mothers won’t have to miss a class, and out-of-state clients in need can receive important education. There is also a curriculum for expectant fathers as well.
“This is not just about saving lives, it’s about building sustainable parenthood.”
The Pregnancy Center efforts don’t end at fathers, mother and children in the womb. The center is also a part of the Lucas County Infant Mortality Initiative, “Getting to 1,” which focuses on reducing the rate of infant deaths before 1 year old. Through this initiative, The Pregnancy Center of Greater Toledo takes part in coordinated referral system and proactive efforts of 14 OB/GYN offices, Mercy Health, and other community resources.
What You Can Do
- The Pregnancy Center of Greater Toledo is always looking for more volunteers!
- The center functions as a limited medical facility. Only medical volunteers, (nurses, diagnostic medical sonographers, etc.) are able to provide advice, education, ultrasounds, prenatal vitamins, and administer pregnancy tests.
- You don’t have to be a health professional to volunteer as a client advocate. Client advocates undergo a 6-8 month training process before being brought in to volunteer at the facility.