The Hartsville Community Pregnancy Center will begin offering free ultrasounds to pregnant women next week.
Scans will be available every Wednesday during regular business hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the center, located at 783 E. McMurry Blvd., starting January 5.
The project has been a long-standing goal of the center, which opened in 2017, and of its director, Peg Shonebarger.
“These will be limited obstetric ultrasounds. All our nurses will be able to say is “yes or no, it’s a viable pregnancy” and the approximate age. We would recommend that they follow up with their own doctor at this point, ”said Shonebarger.
Although it is not an obligation, the Pregnancy Center
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would prefer that women seeking an ultrasound there already had one with their own doctor. Women should be six weeks old for scans to confirm pregnancy.
“If there is something wrong or an anomaly, we cannot diagnose it,” said Shonebarger. “Our medical director can read a scan immediately and be able to advise a patient to make an appointment with their doctor.”
Being able to offer ultrasounds was a process in itself. Shonebarger has worked to recruit volunteer nurses who will be trained to perform scans, hire a qualified medical director to read scans, obtain ultrasound machine and accompanying supplies, obtain malpractice insurance and more. She also had to speak with local zoning officials to ensure the property’s current zoning permitted use and organize efforts to add a disabled ramp to the facility.
“They are already health professionals; it is about how to take measurements, what to look for, how to use and read the machine. The more you practice, the better off you are, ”said Shonebarger of the two volunteer nurses who will be doing the tests. Scans will be part of the training process, as each nurse must demonstrate knowledge of the process, which is non-invasive. After performing enough tests, nurses will receive certification.
“We want to know that we are doing a good job for our customers,” said Shonebarger. “It was a lot of legwork and on the phone.”
In addition to the center’s fundraising, the Hartsville Rotary Club provided a district grant of $ 6,000 to the CPC to help offset costs.
The center’s ultrasound machine arrived after Shonebarger called another pregnancy center referred her to a company in Gallatin. This business owner donated a refurbished machine to downtown Hartsville.
“We bought the service contract so I’m really confident in the machine we have. It will be good for our needs, ”said Shonebarger.
As there are only two volunteer nurses who will be performing scans, they will only be available on Wednesdays to begin. Shonebarger said she would like to have more volunteers so that she can offer ultrasounds on other days in the future.
Anyone interested in volunteering or getting more information about free ultrasounds can contact the Community Pregnancy Center at 615-680-8026.
Contact Chris Gregory at 615-450-5756 or [email protected]