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Need a Safe Place for a New Start?

Are you pregnant? Not sure you have a safe place to live during your pregnancy or after your baby is born?

Perhaps the father of your baby does not want you to stay, now that you’ve decided to keep your baby. You might be staying with a friend or a family member. They may not have space for you and a child — or they may question your decision to parent. Maybe you’re not sure your relationships are safe for you or your baby.

It could be financial concerns are troubling. “I want this baby, but how can I afford a child? I’m not sure about paying my rent and making ends meet every month,” you may think. Maybe you’ve just lost your job. Or maybe something else has changed that could make this transition to welcoming your baby harder.

The Elizabeth House bedroom
The Elizabeth House provides a safe place for a new start for pregnant women and new moms.

Did you know that there is a safe place in Madison for pregnant women and new moms? A place to live during pregnancy and for a few months after their babies are born. The Elizabeth House is a safe place for a new start. It is a nurturing home where pregnant women can make changes in their lives – to give their children something better.

Do you ever feel like you need a “time out” on life? The Elizabeth House could be it.

While at The Elizabeth House, the necessities of life are provided free of charge. You don’t need to worry about paying rent or where your next meal is coming from. Some of the worries and concerns of life are put on hold. Then you are free to focus on setting and reaching your goals and becoming the best mom you can be.

You will work with our staff to develop your plan. If you have not completed your high school education, your first goal will be to work toward your GED or HSED. Then you can turn your attention to more school, writing a resume or getting a job. You can take steps toward the career you want.

Planning a meal in The Elizabeth House kitchen
While at The Elizabeth House, you will take turns preparing family dinners and planning meals, with the help of staff.

You will also learn about nutrition, meal planning, finances, pregnancy and parenting. As needed, you will learn how to set boundaries in relationships. You can learn what a healthy relationship looks like and begin to form healthy, supportive relationships. You can seek emotional and spiritual healing.

At The Elizabeth House, you will live in community with other pregnant or new moms and their children. You’ll be supported by 24/7 House Staff. Each weekday evening, you’ll enjoy a family dinner together. You will also take turns with meal preparation and other household chores.

The father of your baby may be able to be visit you, depending on your interest, and take advantage of many of the opportunities you will have. He is welcome to join you for childbirth education and pregnancy and parenting classes. And he can be a part of our clinic’s Being Dad program to learn what it means to be an involved dad.

Most women live at The Elizabeth House for six months to a year. During this time, each woman secures a job, finds her own apartment and obtains safe and affordable childcare for her baby and any other children.

Many women save money while living at The Elizabeth House. Having this time without other expenses means they can be ready with a security deposit and first month’s rent. They may even have couple months’ expenses in savings when they move out on their own.

A successful graduate of The Elizabeth House
Women graduate from The Elizabeth House ready to be on their own and give their children a great start on life.

Women graduate from The Elizabeth House with a steady job and appropriate childcare. They are ready to be on their own and give their children a great start on life.

Wondering if The Elizabeth House might be a good fit for you? Find out more at elizabethhousedane.org. If you’re interested in this nurturing home where you can make a new start, fill out an online request form and someone will be in touch with you about next steps.

What are Early Signs of Pregnancy?

You’ve had sex and you’re wondering if you might be pregnant. You want to find out as soon as possible. And you’re not sure — what are the early signs of pregnancy?

Request an AppointmentThis is a very common question. And with good reason. Being pregnant can be a significant, life-changing event. Whether you’d desperately like to be pregnant or being pregnant seems like the worst thing that could possibly happen right now or somewhere in between, you’d like to know – today.

Here are ten common signs of pregnancy:

  • Missed period – Missing a period is often the first sign that a woman might be pregnant. But, especially if you’re periods are irregular, this sign may be misleading.
  • Tender, swollen breasts
  • Nausea with or without vomiting – This is often called morning sickness, but it can occur anytime day or night.
  • Increased urination
  • Fatigue
  • Moodiness
  • Bloating
  • Light spotting
  • Cramping
  • Food aversions

You could have many of these signs and not be pregnant. Many of these signs could also be symptoms of being sick or under stress or could mean your period is about to start. And you can be pregnant without experiencing many of these signs of pregnancy.

If you have had a missed period or think you may be pregnant the only way to know for sure is to have a pregnancy test. Call or text now to make an appointment at First Care Clinic.

Request an Appointment

We can provide you with pregnancy testing in Madison, Wisconsin — free of charge. We can also provide a consultation on your pregnancy options, ultrasound as indicated, materials resources and evidence-based medical education. Everything is free of charge and confidential.

You will have the results of your pregnancy test during your appointment.

We’re here to provide the pregnancy related medical services you need. And we’ll listen, answer questions and help you. Come see us.

Request an Appointment

Eating Right (and What to Avoid) During Pregnancy

You know it’s important to eat right when you’re pregnant. But what does that mean? Mom probably told you to eat your vegetables, which is a good start. But if you’re pregnant, or thinking about becoming pregnant, it’s time to learn more about nutrition during pregnancy.

Good nutrition is important for overall health during our entire lives. But pregnancy is a time to be aware of specific nutritional needs. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), pregnant women need to pay special attention to their additional calcium, folic acid and iron requirements. It is also important to be aware of food borne illnesses that pose risks to developing babies.

Know what to eat (and what to avoid) during pregnancy
Good nutrition is important for overall health during our entire lives. But pregnancy is a time to be aware of specific nutritional needs.

Be sure to consume enough of these three vital vitamins and minerals during pregnancy:

  • Calcium is a mineral that helps to form a baby’s bones and teeth. Pregnant women should get between 1,000-1,300 mg daily. Calcium is found in dairy products, broccoli and dark leafy greens. Calcium supplements may also be recommended by your doctor.
  • Folic Acid. Folic acid is essential during a baby’s development in his or her mother’s womb. Neural tube defects are a result of incomplete development of the brain or spine. Folic acid is necessary to prevent these types of defects. Current guidelines suggest pregnant women get 600 micrograms of folic acid daily. Folic acid is also known as folate (a B vitamin). It is difficult to measure the amount of folic acid in our food alone. Because of this difficulty, pregnant women and women trying to get pregnant should take a daily supplement.
  • Another mineral, iron, is especially important during pregnancy. Iron helps carry oxygen to the organs. During pregnancy, you should get 27 mg daily. That is about twice the amount suggested for non-pregnant women. Iron is in lean red meats, fish, poultry, dried peas and beans, and iron-fortified cereals. A daily supplement is usually still required to reach the daily amount that’s recommended during pregnancy. Eating foods high in Vitamin C, such as citrus fruits and tomatoes, helps the body to absorb the iron more easily.

Food borne illness should be carefully considered during pregnancy. Food borne illness poses risks to both mother and baby.

  • Diarrhea or vomiting brought on by food borne illness can cause your body to lose too much water. It can also disrupt your body’s chemical balance.
  • Other complications of food borne illness such as listeriosis can have more serious effects. Listeriosis can lead to premature labor, miscarriage, or stillbirth.
  • Pregnant women are 13 times more likely to get listeriosis, a certain kind of food borne illness, than the general population. To help prevent listeriosis, pregnant women should avoid these foods:
    • Soft cheeses
    • Cold cuts or cold hot dogs
    • Refrigerated meat spreads
    • Raw or undercooked eggs, meat, or seafood

If you are pregnant, you should be aware of the specialized nutritional needs you and your baby have. By following these guidelines, you will increase your chances of delivering a healthy child. And you’ll be doing good for you own body too.

Good nutrition is something that should start even before we are born. Eating a healthy diet carries us through all phases of our lives. It gives us the best possible foundation for good health and a long life!

7 Reasons to NOT Have Sex on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is all about romance. Roses, chocolate and sex are big items of the day. But if you’re not in a long term committed relationship (marriage), you would do well to think again about having sex to celebrate the day. Stick with the roses, chocolate and a romantic dinner.

Here are seven reasons why postponing sex until you’re ready to say, “I do” is a good idea:

  1. Sex can become a substitute for healthy communication. When you decide to wait a while before you’re sexually active, you give yourself and your partner time to learn how to communicate well. You’ll have space to learn how to navigate conflict without leaving the emotional connection behind. According to Mark Regenerus, Phd, couples who “prioritize sex promptly at the outset of a relationship often find their relationships underdeveloped when it comes to the qualities that make relationships stable and spouses reliable and trustworthy.”
  2. Having sex with a person develops deep bonds in your brain. Having sex with one person and then having that relationship end and starting again and again hurts. It hurts emotionally and part of this is due to the connections your brain has formed.
  3. If you wait to have sex, you won’t have other memories to deal with when you enter the bedroom after you get married. Further, a 2010 study reported in the Journal of Family Psychology that couples who wait until marriage are happier with the quality of sex than couples who have intercourse before their vows.
  4. Refraining from sex lets you enjoy life without the fear of an unintended pregnancy. An estimated 15% of couples with “typical” condom use will get pregnant within the first year. This is reduced to 3% for “perfect” condom use. (Dr. Fitch on Condom Effectiveness: 2013 Update)
  5. Without sex, you are free from the fear of sexually transmitted diseases or infections. STDs are at an all-time high. According to the CDC, Young people aged 15-24 acquire half of all new STDS. Further, one in four sexually active adolescent females has an STD, such as chlamydia or HPV.” While “perfect” condom usage may reduce risk, for STD prevention there is a significant difference between always use and typical use. Most research indicates that condoms are ineffective or substantially less effective at reducing STD risk if they are not used for every act of intercourse. According to the CDC, the most reliable ways to avoid transmission of STDs are to abstain from sexual activity, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.
  6. You know that your partner loves you for who you are and not for what you can do for him or her. The man (or woman) you want to be with will respect you for sticking to your standards.
  7. No regrets. Rarely does someone say, “I wish I would have had sex with my boyfriend/girlfriend sooner.” But it is common for a person to wish they had waited longer. Some people wish they’d waited to be sexually active until they were with the person who would cherish, love and respect them for the rest of their lives. Researchers from the 2010 study said “the longer a couple waited to become sexually involved, the better that sexual quality, relationship communication, relationship satisfaction and perceived relationship stability was in marriage …”
Be mine: Roses and chocolate
This Valentine’s Day what if he’s ready for sex, but you’d rather stick with the chocolate and flowers? You have the freedom to choose.

This Valentine’s Day, what if he’s ready for sex but you’re not? You have the freedom to choose.

In a healthy relationship, both people seek to be friends. They focus on getting to know each other and enjoying shared activities along the way. Physical involvement follows relational and emotional connectedness. Sex is treasured and reserved for a lifelong committed relationship.

You have the freedom to choose sex now or to save sex, beginning today, for the person who commits to love and cherish you for the rest of your life.

To talk with someone confidentially, call or text us at 608-259-1605. If you are concerned about your sexual health or want to talk, contact us. Make your appointment for STI/STD testing for women in Madison, Wisconsin today.

Request an Appointment

Figuring Out What’s Best for You

Chloe* found First Care Clinic, saw that it had great reviews, and tells of her experience with welcoming and helpful staff. She talks about walking through best and worst case scenario and sorting out her options.

Request an AppointmentIf you think you might be pregnant and are looking for someone to talk to — someone who won’t judge you but will help you process your thoughts and feelings — listen to Chloe’s story and come see us.

If you think you might be pregnant in the Madison, Wisconsin area, text or call us at 608-259-1605 to make an appointment – all of our services are free of charge.

Request an Appointment

 

*Name changed to protect privacy.

5 Things to Consider When Making a Pregnancy Decision

If you think you might be pregnant and you weren’t planning on it, your mind may be swirling with all kinds of thoughts.

“I can’t be pregnant. Not now.” “I was on birth control. How is this possible?” “How can I care for another child?” “What about finishing school?” “How will I tell my parents?” “I can’t afford a child right now.”

Woman looking at pregnancy test
Pregnant and not sure what to do? Take time to consider these 5 things before making a decision about your pregnancy.
An unintended pregnancy can present many challenges. But you will want to take time to consider a number of things before making a decision about your pregnancy.
  1. Are you pregnant?
    • Are your symptoms or a home pregnancy test indicating that you are pregnant?
    • Before making any decision, get your pregnancy confirmed by a medical professional. An ultrasound can tell if the baby has a heartbeat and how far along you are.
  2. Consider your options. If you are pregnant, you have three options.
    • Abortion: Abortion is often seen as an option of necessity. It is not a choice that most women want to make but they feel that they don’t have other options. Learn more.
    • Adoption: Adoption can be a very difficult choice to make. However, making an adoption plan can be a good option for women who are not ready to parent and are also not comfortable choosing abortion. Find out more about adoption.
    • Parenting: Some women who initially consider abortion decide that they can parent their child after considering their feelings, values and fears as well as resources and support that are available. Find out how we can help.
  3. Consider your thoughts, values and resources.
    • It can be helpful in sorting out your thoughts to make a list of your options and the benefits and risks of each option.
    • Think about what you value. Looking at your list, rate how important each benefit and risk is to you.
    • Think about and write down any resources and support you know about that may support each of your options. How might the important people in your life support you in your choice? What community resources are available to you?
      • If you feel you do not have enough support, discuss your options with a trusted person. Our nurses and patient advocates can help you with this. Text or call us.
      • Is anyone in your life pressuring you to make a certain decision? It will be best for you – and for the long term health of your relationships – if you can both respectfully communicate your thoughts and feelings.
    • You will want to consider whether you want not make this decision alone or share the decision.
      • Regardless of who you involve in the decision, it will be best if you can make it freely – without feeling pressured to make a certain choice.
      • We can offer a listening ear to the person or people you are involving in your decision.
      • The father of your baby may find it helpful to meet with our Fatherhood Specialist or a male client advocate. Text or call us to find out more.
    • If you feel pressure from others to make a specific choice, find someone to help you and the others involved. Our nurses and patient advocates are available to meet with you. We can help you navigate the challenges you are facing. Text or call us.Request an Appointment
  1. Learn all you can about each of your options.
    • Abortion: Do you know what abortion procedures are available to you? Do you understand the potential risks of abortion? You have the right to give fully informed consent and to assess risks and side effects.
    • Parenting: Do you know what risks are associated with continuing the pregnancy? What community resources are available for pregnant moms and moms with infants and other children? What are the responsibilities of the father of the baby?
    • Adoption: Do you understand the options available with making an adoption plan? There are now many options for adoption. An adoption can be open or closed. You may get together with your child regularly and send birthday cards and gifts or choose to live life separately. Find out more.
  2. Know your rights: In the state of Wisconsin, you have the right to make this decision. No one else, including your parents or the father of the baby, can legally force you to have an abortion. The decision you make must be voluntary and non-coerced. If you are feeling pressured to get an abortion you don’t want, get help. Contact us or call the police.

As you attempt to cope with the complex emotions associated with an unintended pregnancy, it can become more difficult to think clearly about your options. Come in and talk about how you are feeling. We can help to answer some of the questions that are going around in your head. Text or call us today.

Request an Appointment

I Can’t Be Pregnant

“I can’t be pregnant. Not right now.”

“I have plans. And I can’t afford a baby.”

Perhaps you or someone you know is having thoughts like these. You may wonder what to do next.

Should I have an abortion? Parent? Or maybe consider making an adoption plan? All of these sound like hard choices. Where do I go from here?

The nurses and patient advocates at First Care Clinic are here to help you sort through your options and create a plan to move forward. Come see us.

To find out more or to make an appointment, call or text us at 608-259-1605.

Request an Appointment

5 Ways to Help a Friend

What do you say when a friend tells you she might be pregnant? 

Recently I was talking with a woman I’ll call Leslie. Leslie was a client at First Care Clinic a couple years ago.

Leslie told me that she wished more people knew about First Care Clinic. Then she told me why. Leslie has a friend who had been pregnant and ended her pregnancy. Leslie didn’t know how to help support her friend as she was making her pregnancy decision.

5 ways to help a friend who might be pregnantEspecially for situations like Leslie’s, we like to share these 5 Ways to Help a Friend Who Might Be Pregnant.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Listen without judging. Many women who are facing an unintended pregnancy expect that some around them may look down on them for how they got into this situation. A listening ear is invaluable and can be rare.
  • Don’t pressure her. Women facing unintended pregnancies often feel pressure from their boyfriend, parents or friends. Support her and let her know you care without adding pressure.
  • Let her know there’s a place she can go for help in First Care Clinic.
  • Be there for her. Invite her to join you for coffee or to call you whenever she needs to talk to continue the conversation.
  • Keep the news to yourself. Don’t share the news with others. Keep her confidence unless there is a dangerous situation which should be reported.

Here’s how we can help:

  • Medical services
    • Pregnancy testing
    • Obstetrical ultrasound
    • STI testing and treatment for women
  • Education and support
    • Evidence-based medical education about pregnancy options
    • Pregnancy, childbirth and parenting education
    • Support for men from men
    • Healthy relationships education
    • A listening ear and ongoing support
  • Residential maternity program, The Elizabeth House

We offer all of our services confidentially and free of charge.

Don’t keep First Care Clinic a secret! If you know a young woman or man who might be making a pregnancy decision, listen, be there and spread the word that there is help available!

Chloe’s “Best Decision She Ever Made”

Chloe* had been feeling really sick for about six weeks – so sick she spent most of her time on the couch. A medical appointment found nothing wrong and Chloe soon began to feel better.

Chloe and her best friend, Allison*, decided to vacation in the Madison area. While on the drive, Allison asked Chloe if she could be pregnant. “Absolutely not,” was Chloe’s reply. But she started to wonder. A pregnancy test indicated that Chloe was indeed pregnant.

“I was absolutely freaking out,” Chloe remembered. “I needed answers now and didn’t want to wait until we got back home. I was in total disbelief and just wanted to find out.”

Chloe searched online and found a clinic in Madison, Care Net’s First Care Clinic. “It said it was free. That was hard to believe, but I made an appointment and went in the next day.”

Chloe and her best decision
“It was so valuable to talk with your clinic staff. They took a neutral position on my options and spent so much time with me.”

Chloe expected something “run down and shady—like something you’d see on a TV show.” But when she arrived at First Care Clinic she found something entirely different. “It was so, so nice. The facility was amazing and the people were extremely helpful. I was sitting there thinking, ‘They’re going to bill me for something.’ I was so nervous. It helped that they let Allison stay with me the whole time.”

First Care Clinic staff took the time to listen and heard Chloe’s worries. “One of my biggest concerns was talking to my parents. I’m not married. My parents are kind of old school and I didn’t know how to tell them I was pregnant. The clinic staff helped me talk through why I thought they’d be upset and how I could deal with different reactions and concerns.”

Clinic staff also gave Chloe the tools she needed to make decisions about her pregnancy. “I filled out a decision guide that helped me break down all my options and weigh the pros and cons of each one.

“If I chose to have an abortion, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to live with myself afterwards. But I also wasn’t prepared to be a mom and had so many worries. I wasn’t sure what to do.”

Having to make such a critical decision on her own was terrifying. But Chloe soon realized there was someone on her side. “It was so valuable to talk with your clinic staff. They took a neutral position on my options and spent so much time with me.”

“They did a pregnancy test and then an ultrasound. I was in awe. I could see that he already had arms and legs and was moving around. It was pretty crazy.”

Chloe chose to carry her baby to term. Her son, Ethan Lucas*, was born earlier this year and is “doing great.”

“Since coming to First Care Clinic, I have definitely changed. I feel that I was a mature person before, but this experience helped me grow up even more. Becoming a mom and having my son has given my life a whole new meaning.”

Chloe thanked those who make First Care Clinic possible. “First Care Clinic helped me to make the best decision I ever made.”

* Names changed to protect privacy.

Think You Might Be Pregnant?

Being pregnant can be an exciting, scary or overwhelming time – especially if you think you might be pregnant and weren’t intending to become pregnant right now. Even if you feel like your world is a bit out of control, there are people who can help you figure out whether or not you’re pregnant and help you sort through your options.

The most common sign of being pregnant is missing your period. However, this sign can be misleading if your periods are irregular.

You could also experience nausea, with or without vomiting. This is often called morning sickness, but can occur anytime day or night.

Your breasts may also feel sensitive and sore because of early pregnancy hormonal changes.

You may need to use the bathroom more often and feel unusually tired or moody.

You could also experience bloating, light spotting or cramping, constipation, food aversions and even nasal congestion.

You could have many of these signs and not be pregnant. Many of these signs could also be symptoms of being sick or under stress or could mean your period is about to start. And you can be pregnant without experiencing many of these signs of pregnancy.

If you have had a missed period or think you may be pregnant the only way to know for sure is to have a pregnancy test. Call or text now to make an appointment at First Care Clinic.Request an Appointment

Even if you’ve already taken a home pregnancy test, you should contact your health care provider or our clinic to have your pregnancy confirmed so you can begin getting the care you need.

 Wondering what to do next?

If you think you might be pregnant in the Madison, Wisconsin area, we can help you find out for sure. Our clinic provides everything free of charge and confidentially – pregnancy testing, consultation on your pregnancy options, ultrasound as indicated and STD testing and treatment for women.

You will have the results of your pregnancy test during your appointment.

If you are pregnant, you have three options:

  • Parenting – Continuing the pregnancy and raising your child
  • Adoption – Continuing the pregnancy and letting someone else parent the child
  • Abortion – Ending the pregnancy now by having an abortion

We can help you explore these options.

We will listen to you as you talk about your feelings, values and fears. We can help you think through who your support people are and talk about resources that are available to you. And we’ll answer questions you might have.

Call or text us today to get started.Request an Appointment

Wondering how to tell your parents?

This is a common question. You may be nervous about how your parents would react to the news of your pregnancy.

Everyone’s parents are different. However, parents may initially be disappointed but often become more supportive than you may expect. Your parents could become your biggest ally.

This is big news. Plan to have a conversation when you and your parent(s) have time to talk and aren’t already upset or really stressed about something. And probably not too late at night either so they’re not really tired.

If you’d like help in talking through how to talk with your parents, we can help. Call or text us and we’ll set an appointment for you to meet with a nurse or patient advocate.

You don’t have to walk through an unintended pregnancy alone. Talk with someone you trust or contact us and we can help. That’s what we’re here for.

Request an Appointment

Welcome

Welcome to First Care Clinic, one of the most trusted women’s health clinics in Madison, WI for over 30 years!

Our medical professional provide compassionate medical care, free of charge and confidentially. If you are experiencing signs of pregnancy, pregnancy symptoms or thinking about abortion, call us.

We are available to discuss your options, listen to your concerns and answer your questions.

We also offer STI/STD testing and treatment for women, diagnostic ultrasound and pregnancy and parenting education.

To make an appointment, call or text us at 608-259-1605.

And visit our new blog to find up to date information related to pregnancy, sexual health, healthy relationships, abortion, community resources and more.