Essential Pregnancy Resources in MA: A Comprehensive Guide

All women start their pregnancies in different places. Some women start out feeling well-established and supported. If that’s you, what a blessing! It’s great to have a strong support network in this new season of life, whether this is your first baby or you are growing your family. 

If this is not you, and you feel not-so-ready, that’s okay too. Plenty of new moms start out with a ton of worries and challenges; this is quite normal and actually to be expected. Most often, these same women discover that they have an unexpected capacity to overcome their difficulties. You are much more resilient than you think. We at Clearway are here as a first step for you! Please know there is a network of support waiting for you, it’s just a matter of getting connected to the right resources. 

Let’s address some of the items that may be a concern for you!

Housing Vulnerability

Housing vulnerability is not an easy thing to face. It’s a reality faced by more and more people every year, and it can happen to anyone. 

If you or someone you know is at risk of homelessness, already experiencing homelessness, or in need of emergency housing assistance, here are some local resources that may be available to you: 

  1. Way Finders: Way Finders offers emergency financial housing assistance funds, support with rehousing, job retention support and workforce training, first-time home ownership workshops, and more. Way Finders builds and advocates for a thriving and equitable region by improving the stability and economic mobility of families and individuals, together with developing and managing a wide range of housing to support strong communities. 
  2. Ascentria Care Alliance: Ascentria’s Young Parent Living Program supports low-income, single, teenage mothers and their small children who might otherwise be homeless or living in unsafe situations/substandard housing. Young parents find support, counseling, training, advocacy and transitional housing within two Ascentria programs in Massachusetts (the Florence House in Worcester, MA, and the Ruth House in Brockton, MA). These provide youth with housing in safe, therapeutic, residential environments that build individual strengths and help young families move toward self-sufficiency.
  3. Friendly House: The Friendly House (located in Worcester, MA) provides emergency shelter, housing searches, and other services to help families become self-sufficient. They serve both families with children and expectant parents who are homeless. Additional programs include after school teen programs, food services, shelter, social services, and summer camps.  
  4. Find Shelter Tool (HUD): The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Find Shelter Tool provides information about housing, shelter, healthcare, and clothing resources in communities across the country. Visit their page, click on one of the categories shown, enter your location, and search to get started.
  5. Maternity Homes: There are multiple maternity homes in the Springfield and Worcester areas for pregnant women and mothers with children in need of safe transitional housing. This includes Christina’s House in Springfield and Visitation House in Worcester.

Nutrition & Food Security

Next to shelter, one of the most essential needs is for food and nutrition support. You’re not alone in this either! In fact, 27% of adults in the US reported food insecurity in 2023. There are numerous government programs and local organizations that offer nutrition support. Some of the organizations include: 

  1. Mass WIC: The Women, Infants, & Children Nutrition Program provides healthy foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and referrals to healthcare and other services free of charge to qualifying families. WIC is here to help you stay healthy!  
  2. SNAP: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly food stamps) provides food benefits to low-income families to supplement their grocery budget so they can afford the nutritious food essential to health and well-being. Check out their application to see if you qualify for benefits. 
  3. Food Pantries: If you need food assistance, the application processes for Mass WIC and/or SNAP may take some time. In the meantime, many local food pantries offer free grocery assistance to people in the community. These include:
    1. First Baptist Church of Amherst: Open every Wednesday from 2-4PM
    2. Bethany Food Pantry of Agawam: Open Mondays and Fridays, 12:30-2PM 
    3. Friendly House of Worcester: Food & Diaper Pantries (Various Locations and Hours) 
    4. Worcester County Food Bank: Use their agency locator to find your nearest food pantry or community meal program.

Health Insurance

If you are pregnant in the state of Massachusetts and your income is up to 205% of the federal poverty level (FPL), you are immediately eligible for MassHealth, even if a previous application has been rejected. You are also eligible for coverage up to 12 months postpartum if you are an individual with income up to 200% of the FPL, regardless of immigration status.  

Maybe this all feels a bit complicated (and scary!) to have to navigate. Lucky for you, there are organizations prepared to help you do that!

The Family Health Center of Worcester is equipped to offer you in-person support navigating health insurance. Their services include a team of bilingual/bicultural Health Benefits Advisors who provide individual counseling sessions to anyone who needs help with a health insurance application. They can also help you apply for the sliding fee scale. Learn more about their hours and services on their website.

Emotional Support

The above sections all addressed physical needs. Perhaps material needs are a challenge for you, perhaps not. Please know that there are plenty of local resources to help in this area as well.  Once any physical needs are met, there is still another important layer of support that is essential for you to thrive in this pregnancy. Your emotional support! 

A recent study assessing the decision satisfaction rates of women who had a past abortion experience showed that 60% of women surveyed would have preferred to give birth if they had received more emotional support or had more financial security. While finances matter, emotional support is a significant factor as well in a pregnancy and parenting experience. 

If you do not have the support of a partner or from family, you are not alone. Embrace Grace is a nationwide support group for single mothers, and Embrace Legacy offers the same for single dads. These programs have local chapters all over the country, including in Massachusetts. The groups offer an opportunity to walk through this journey with others who have been (or currently are) in your shoes. If you want to learn more about what this would look like, ask your Clearway advocate! We are here to support and empower you as you connect with others. 

Free Pregnancy Confirmation: Clearway Clinic

There are a lot of resources in this article. Whew! Stop and take a breath. 

If you feel overwhelmed, it’s normal and totally okay. That is exactly why Clearway is here for you! We help to provide you a safe space to process your needs and your concerns about being pregnant in a neutral environment while also getting some of your most urgent physical and emotional support needs met.  

If you recently found out you are pregnant and don’t know what to do, we offer both medical and advocacy services to turn your fear into confidence. Our medical services include pregnancy and STI testing and a free ultrasound. These services help you answer questions such as: 

  • Do I have an intrauterine pregnancy? 
  • How far along am I?
  • Do I have an untreated STI? 
  • What pregnancy options are available to me? 

Our nurse will answer all of your questions and our doctors who read the ultrasound scans will provide you with a medical confirmation of pregnancy for your continuum of care. 

Our advocacy services will help you access any of the above-mentioned resources (and more!) that you may need. You don’t need to walk this path alone! Clearway is here as a first step for you. 

Schedule your free pregnancy confirmation appointment today and get started on empowering your journey through pregnancy and beyond. 

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Clearway Women's Health Clinic - Pregnancy & STI Appointments Available

A member of our team will contact you within 30 minutes if requesting an appointment during normal business hours.

Monday through Friday: 9am-03:30pm

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