The Pregnancy Care Center has moved into newly refurbished space on South Third Street as HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital continues renovation projects in buildings at its Belleville Health Center.
The Pregnancy Care Center is one of several health-care services and clinics that continue to provide care in the downtown area. The new address is 180 S. Third St., Suite 50. Hours of operation are Mondays from 2 to 5 p.m. and Tuesdays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Pregnancy Care Center started in a small office about 36 years ago and is now a well-organized operation. Throughout the years of office moves and many changes, there has been one constant presence, notes Director Dr. Kay Bennett.
“We could not do any of this without St. Elizabeth’s. They provide the pregnancy tests; the office space, they do not charge us rent. They pay our utilities, the phone bills, clean our office. They are a blessing for us,” she said.
The Pregnancy Care Center offers support to moms from the beginning, when a woman first learns she is pregnant, and monthly until the child is age 5. They offer pregnancy tests, counseling, clothes, diapers and other necessities. Mothers are made aware of important services like WIC and Mosaic programs and services offered through the St. Clair County Health Department. When a new mom brings in a birth certificate, she is given a layette full of baby goodies such as diapers, onesies, wipes, bibs, clothes, blankets.
St. Elizabeth’s and the community also help keep the Pregnancy Care Center stocked with items. Several churches donate baby afghans that are made through Project Linus or hold clothing drives. St. Elizabeth’s puts on an annual community baby shower and the “gifts” are donated to the Pregnancy Care Center. Coat drives, collections, and memorials also help. Bennett says that the support comes from many, sometimes surprising, sources, and it is appreciated.
One of the most important volunteer activities is what Bennett calls diaper runs. Diapers are expensive, and babies use a lot of them, so distributing diapers is probably the most appreciated service the center offers.
“People ask if we have a daycare when they see the huge carts overflowing with boxes of diapers in a store checkout line,” she says. “I tell them no but then I get to tell them about our work. I do a lot of commercials for the Pregnancy Care Center in Wal-Mart. We will get moms and donations because people ‘saw the diaper ladies’ at the store.”
Bennett estimates they have distributed 20,000-25,000 last year.
Donation items are always needed at the center, including baby items and cash donations.
Anyone who needs help or who would like to volunteer or make a donation can contact the Pregnancy Care Center at call (618) 233-2273.