New life, new help: Resource center for pregnant women opens in Detroit Lakes
A resource center for pregnant women, Health Resources, may be one of the lesser-known nonprofits in the area. Though the center has been around for a little over a year now, Sue Ronnevik, the director, says they are really just starting to take off and get the word out about what they are offering in the Detroit Lakes area.
So far, the center has had about 180 total visits from expecting women and families in need of resources, whether it be education or referrals.
"We are serving women who are pregnant from walk-in through infancy, into toddler," said Ronnevik, adding that they are really trying to get women in as soon as they find out they are pregnant—or before.
"We like to connect with them really early," said Ronnevik, adding that they even offer free pregnancy tests. "If they're troubled by the pregnancy, we want to be the place where they can just spill those feelings."
Once the woman knows she is pregnant, they also offer free ultrasounds.
Jenny Lessman, a physician assistant at Sanford in Detroit Lakes, does the ultrasounds in a modernly-outfitted room, most of the equipment donated from other pregnancy resource centers or clinics.
"When we have the ultrasound screen, we find it to be a real benefit for the woman," said Ronnevik. "Seeing helps them make hard choices, like quitting smoking."
The center is faith-based, meaning they are pro-life, offering a judgement-free zone to educate women and families about making choices or changes that can better the life of both the parents as well as the unborn child.
Minnesota enacted the Woman's Right to Know Act in 2003, meaning prior to having an abortion, the physician is required to inform the woman of the risks of the procedure, the probable gestational age of the unborn child at the time of the procedure, as well as the medical risks associated with carrying the child to term.
"We use those materials (for education) just because they're unbiased," said Ronnevik.
Much of the education comes in video format; the center has a room where women or families can come, relax, and sort of cherry pick learning about the topics they feel they need to learn about.
"We do have an education plan they can follow, but it's really up to them," added Ronnevik.
The hope is that each client comes once a week and, while they are taking classes, they earn points, which can be used at their gift store, a back room packed with new and gently used baby clothes and other necessities.
Ronnevik added that since they are a resource center, clients can also earn points by attending outside appointments or by using the referrals the center provides them with.
And Ronnevik isn't short for resources to offer, saying she has a whole file full, whether it be resources for mental health, addiction, financial services, or resources for young, single mothers.
"We're really aiming to be a referral source," said Ronnevik.
Right now, the Health Resources Center, located at 904 Lake Avenue, is open Monday through Thursday, being that they are understaffed but, Ronnevik says there's a good chance those hours may expand in the future.
Expectant mothers—or women who suspect they may be pregnant—can stop in anytime between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. for resources; ultrasounds are provided twice a month.