". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Pregnancy Resource Centers Meet the Needs of Mothers During and After Birth

July 7, 2022

This is the final part of a series on pregnancy resource centers and the services they provide. Read part one and part two.

Pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) have always been at the heart of the pro-life movement’s work to support mothers and fathers in need and to build a culture of life.

For the past 50 years, PRCs have served mothers and fathers and demonstrated a commitment to women and children’s overall wellbeing. Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, we must recognize the work PRCs do; the value it provides to mothers, fathers, and their children; and the continued resources that communities can band together to provide.

Women who are experiencing an unexpected pregnancy should be offered support. Here are some ways PRCs have expanded their general services to meet more specific needs in their local communities — needs that will undoubtedly be greater now that the Supreme Court has returned the ability to protect unborn children to the states.

Maternal Housing

When there’s a lack of financial or social support, living situations can become hostile or be lost altogether. Maternity homes offer a safe place for a pregnant mother to live as she prepares for the arrival of her baby and cares for her little one after birth. Today, there are over 400 maternity housing programs in the United States. 

One maternal housing organization is Care Net of Central Texas. In addition to offering housing referrals, Care Net of Central Texas offers temporary housing to women. Women receive a fully furnished spacious room and bathroom and use of a community industrial kitchen, storage, laundry facilities, and a playground. Accommodations also come with the social support of education classes, Bible studies, and counseling services. Women live and support each other in community, and staff provide one-on-one support to help women meet their personal goals and achieve healthy independence. Facilitating this kind of environment sets women up for future success by building habits and expectations for healthy communities.

No woman should have to mother alone, regardless of whether her pregnancy is expected. Maternity housing programs like Care Net of Central Texas model this well by providing spiritual, tangible, and social needs — including housing. In the aftermath of the Dobbs decision, it is more important than ever that the pro-life community support these organizations that are doing the vital work of supporting mothers in need.

Adoption Referrals

PRCs do everything they can to help mothers be the best possible parents for their babies — and sometimes, being the best and most loving parent means making an adoption plan. Any woman who makes an adoption plan is a true hero who demonstrates selfless love and care for her child. Both the children and families involved in adoption speak with gratitude for birth mothers who sacrifice to give their children the best life possible.

In addition to offering parenting resources, many PRCs offer information about adoption. New Life Pregnancy Center of Arizona is one such PRC that strives to provide women with all the information they need to make informed decisions about their parenting options, be that an adoption plan or parenting. New Life Pregnancy Center refers mothers to trusted adoption agencies that can guide the decision-making process. Making an adoption plan — whether it be for financial, social, or other reasons — is an act of sacrificial love. New Life Pregnancy recognizes the weight of such a decision and connects women with trusted individuals and information to seek what is best for each woman and her child.

Post-Abortion Counseling

Abortion can take a serious toll on a mother’s mental health. Studies show an 81 percent increased risk of mental health problems after an abortion. Furthermore, mothers who have had an abortion are twice as likely to die in the next year as mothers who gave birth. These major risk factors make post-abortion counseling a priority for many PRCs. In 2019, 72 percent of PRCs reported offering post-abortion care.

Avail NYC is one example of a PRC offering this form of support. Whether by talking with the mother in the moment or offering counseling referrals, Avail prioritizes the mother’s wellbeing no matter what stage of pregnancy or post-pregnancy she is in. Services are offered to individual women or couples with a counselor who has personally experienced an abortion. The counselor listens to the woman’s story and offers practical advice for processing and healing. Abortion is both a physically and emotionally trying experience, and Avail comes alongside the woman in this time to assure her that she is not alone.

Doula and Midwife Services

Women experiencing an unexpected pregnancy and considering abortion tend to face socioeconomic setbacks, especially regarding social support. A major means of curbing these setbacks is providing practical support with a pregnancy and/or postpartum doula and/or midwife. In addition to their medical knowledge about pregnancy and birth, doulas offer emotional support for the mother and her family. Midwives are registered nurses who provide specialized care for mothers during pregnancy, at birth, and postpartum.

Boulder Pregnancy Resource Center in Boulder, Colo. provides a doula service free of charge, along with referrals and midwife volunteers who stay with the woman for the duration of her pregnancy. The benefit of doulas to women is sizable — the length of labor time is shortened, there are lower rates of cesarean sections, and they lower the rate of a negative birth experience on the part of the woman.

Although not every PRC has the capacity to offer a doula or a midwife, the volunteers at PRCs are there to support a mother before and after the birth of her baby.

Find a PRC Near You

As we enter a post-Roe world, PRCs will be looking for new ways to assist mothers in need. To find and support a pregnancy resource center near you, visit Pregnancy Decision Line at pregnancydecisionline.org or call 866-798-9541. Pregnancy Decision Line provides confidential, free support to anyone facing an unplanned pregnancy. You can also visit Option Line at optionline.org or call or text 800-712-4357. In addition to offering emergency hotline support and information about pregnancy and abortion recovery, Option Line connects you with a PRC near you for local support.

Mary Szoch would like to thank Savannah Anne Carman for her extensive research and work on this series.

Mary Szoch is the Director of the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council.