Florida's Healthy Start Program: What You Need To Know

If you live in Florida and become pregnant, you may have heard of the Healthy Start Program before. If you haven't, I am here to tell you!

Healthy Start is a FREE, statewide non-profit health program that offers support and education to at-risk pregnant women and infants. This includes prenatal screening, infant screening, childbirth education, breastfeeding education, parenting support, counseling and more. It is completely confidential.

Again: All services are FREE and are not based on your income or immigration status!

So how do you know if you're high risk? You don't. That's why you should take advantage of this program and find out!

In case you didn't know, I am a Healthy Start partner and can provide you with a referral into their program. So if you are one of my Doula clients and you are interested please let me know asap! It is a great program that is very overlooked.

In this article, I wanted to go over what Healthy Start is exactly and how it is beneficial for moms and moms-to-be.  

How does Healthy Start help moms and babies?

The main goal of Healthy Start is to reduce infant deaths, reduce the number of low birth-weight babies and premature babies, and improve health and developmental outcomes. Healthy Start = healthy baby.

How do I qualify for Healthy Start?

The Healthy Start program is available to all Florida residents. Every prenatal care provider, hospital and birth facility in the state fo Florida is required to offer a Healthy Start Risk Screen to all pregnant women and infants.

What is a Risk Screen?

Don't worry, this is not a blood test or anything like that! The Healthy Start Risk Screen is a one-page questionnaire that is completed by you with the assistance of your midwife, doula, doctor, nurse or healthcare provider. To receive services, you must initial "YES" next to consent questions and sign it. If you initial "NO" you will not know if you or your baby are at risk or if you qualify for the program. 

What if I don't need Healthy Start? Can I still complete a Risk Screen?

Even if you are in a position where you don't need help or want to use Healthy Start, providing the information helps the Healthy Start Coalition to improve the health care system for all moms and babies in Florida! So why not?

What services does Healthy Start provide?

Here is a breakdown of the services offered by Healthy Start:

Care Coordination: Your personal care coordinator will help you organize and schedule services you require and refer you to other community resources should you need them.

Childbirth Educator: Classes that will help you understand the process of labor and delivery, proper nutrition, and relaxation/pain relief techniques.

Breastfeeding Education: Teaches the importance of breastfeeding your baby addresses challenges and provides education about feeding choices and support groups.

Tobacco Education & Cessation: Services that help mothers quit or reduce smoking and understand the effects of second-hand smoke.

Psychosocial Counseling: Individual, couples, groups, or families are provided emotional, situational and developmental counseling. 

Parenting Support and Education: Classes on infant care, growth and development, changes in family dynamics, bonding and attachment, nutrition, safety, immunizations, and successful parenting techniques. 

Interconceptional Counseling & Education: Information about access to health care, baby spacing, nutrition, physical activity, chronic health problems, mental health, and environmental risk factors. 

You can get more details about Healthy Start at www.hscmd.org or by contacting 305-541-0210. 

And if you are one of my clients who would like to participate in Healthy Start, please reach out so I can help make that happen for you!

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