A Connecticut Health Center Builds a Holistic Support Team for Pregnant Women

A Connecticut Health Center Builds a Holistic Support Team for Pregnant Women

First Choice Health Centers Put the Needs of Underserved Women First

For more than 25 years, First Choice Health Centers has been known for compassionately providing accessible, quality healthcare to patients of all ages and backgrounds, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. The East Hartford organization’s unique model focuses on building a personalized support team for each patient.

What makes First Choice unique is the fact that we have a lot of services under one house. We’re in a community—we’re not in the major cities connected to the major hospitals, so it’s nice to be able to offer primary care, women’s health, obstetric services, podiatry, optometry, we even have a chiropractor and a nutritionist, so it’s kind of like a little one-stop shop for health care.

-Heather, Nurse Practitioner, First Choice Health Center

High Diversity, Low Income

East Hartford, Connecticut is an ethnically diverse city: over 84 percent of its population identifies as Black, African American, Asian, Hispanic, or Latino, compared to 78 percent of the state’s population who report as white.1 The city also has a high poverty rate, with nearly three times as many of its residents living in poverty as the state average in 2020.

This disparity in income, coupled with higher diversity rates, leads to inequities in healthcare, particularly for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) women and children. For example, Black babies born to Black women in Connecticut are significantly more likely to die before their first birthday than babies born to white women.2 Furthermore, wage gaps and transportation issues often present barriers to accessing prenatal care. 

Our patients face a lot of challenges with obtaining accessible health care; not only do many of our patients live paycheck-to-paycheck, some of them are unemployed or have low-income jobs and so finding affordable healthcare is a big challenge for them. On top of that, we do see a lot of patients, especially our pregnant females, who don’t have adequate transportation or reliable transportation, [and] those who don’t have partners here with them. A lot of our women are living here with their families, but their partner may be in their home country, and so they lack a lot of the social support.

Amelia, PA, First Choice Health Centers

Building a Holistic Support Team

First Choice Health Center in Hartford puts an emphasis on individualized care that takes into account the physical, social, and emotional well-being of each patient. The center provides a range of services to meet the needs of pregnant patients, including midwifery, nutritional counseling, and access to Vitamin Angels’ prenatal vitamins and minerals to reduce financial barriers to care.

 Through their holistic approach, First Choice is making a positive difference in the lives of women and their babies. And the prenatal vitamins and minerals from Vitamin Angels give their patients one less thing to worry about during their pregnancies.

I would say our patients who have been pregnant before especially if they’ve been with us before …they take them happily because it’s easy, it’s one less thing for them to have to think about throughout this pregnancy.

Heather, Nurse Practitioner, First Choice Health Center