Hartsville’s Community Pregnancy Center will begin offering free ultrasound scans to expectant mothers next week.
Scans will be offered each Wednesday during regular business hours from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at the center, located at 783 E. McMurry Blvd., starting on Jan. 5.
The project has been a longtime goal of the center, which opened in 2017, and its director, Peg Shonebarger.
“These are going to be limited obstetrical 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 they follow up with their own doctor at that point,” Shonebarger said.
While it is not a requirement, the Pregnancy Center
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would prefer that women seeking an ultrasound there have had one already with their own doctor. Women should be six weeks along in order for the scans to be able to confirm pregnancy.
“Should there be anything wrong or any abnormality, we can’t diagnose that,” Shonebarger said. “Our medical director can read a scan immediately and be able to advise a patient to set up an appointment with their doctor.”
Being able to offer ultrasound scans was a process in itself. Shonebarger worked to recruit volunteer nurses who will undergo training to perform scans, recruit a medical director who is qualified to read scans, obtain an ultrasound machine and accompanying supplies, obtain malpractice insurance and more. She also had to speak with local zoning officials to make sure the property’s current zoning allowed for the use and organize efforts to add a handicap-access ramp to the facility.
“They’re already medical professionals; it’s a matter of knowing how to take measurements, what to look for, how to use and read the machine. The more you practice, the better off you are,” Shonebarger said of the two volunteer nurses who will be performing scans. Scans will be part of the training process as each nurse must demonstrate their knowledge of the process, which is a non-invasive one. After performing enough scans, nurses will receive certification.
“We want to know that we’re doing a good job for our clients,” Shonebarger said. “It was a lot of legwork and phonework.”
In addition to the center’s own fundraising, the Hartsville Rotary Club has directed a District Grant of $6,000 toward the CPC to help offset costs.
The center’s ultrasound machine came after Shonebarger called another pregnancy center referred her to a company in Gallatin. That business owner donated a refurbished machine to the Hartsville center.
“We purchased the service contract, so I really feel confident about the machine we got. It will be good for our needs,” Shonebarger said.
Since there are just two volunteer nurses who will be performing scans, they will only be available on Wednesdays to start out. Shonebarger said she would like to have more volunteers in order to be able to offer ultrasounds on other days in the future.
Anyone interested in volunteering or in getting more information on the free ultrasounds can contact the Community Pregnancy Center at 615-680-8026.
Reach Chris Gregory at 615-450-5756 or firstname.lastname@example.org.