Expectant Mothers and the Healthy Start Program

Healthy Start

The key elements of the Healthy Start Program:

  • Healthy Start provides access to prenatal care for women without any form of health insurance or the a bility to pay for their p rena tal care, especially those women with chronic health conditions.
  • Electronic application for Medicaid makes it difficult for women in need to apply- we help!
  • Healthy Start staff is located throughout the county at various locations: the Genesis Clinic (regional prenatal intensive care center), Hillsborough County jail infirmary and neonatal intensive care units in area hospitals.

Healthy Start Helps Expectant Mom’s with these Essential Services:

  • Nutrition
  • Psychological counseling
  • Parenting education & support
  • Childbirth education
  • Breastfeeding education
  • Interconceptional Care Education
  • Smoking cessation

Here is the Process:

  • All women that test positive for pregnancy are screened for Healthy Start services. The paperwork is filled out at the medical provider’s offices—in fact most of our clients don’t even realize they’ve already filled out the paperwork.
  • The program is not based on income or age- everyone has the opportunity to< participate, but selection/invitation does depend upon risk index scores—we want to provide the most benefit for those most at risk.
  • Factors that indicate the need for Healthy Start are education level (HS will provide services to get back in school), medical history (previous difficult pregnancies), smoking (very dangerous to the unborn child) and involvement of the father.
  • Healthy Start provides a variety of services to the mother prior the birth of her child, and then actually takes on the baby as the client for the baby’s first year of life. We expect Healthy Start babies and moms to transition to Success 4 Kids and Families as the healthy family takes shape.

Following are the Key Programs and Services that Healthy Start Administers

Safe Baby Campaign- funded by Healthy Start Coalition and Florida Department of Health to prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome, promote safe sleep, and teach parents how to be good parents. Ultimately goal is to educate and empower parents to prevent infant mortality and protect our community’s children.

Beds 4 Babies Campaign- This campaign was created to provide a safe sleeping environment for anyone who cannot afford a crib. Healthy start case workers visit mothers in the hospital to offer support, go over safe sleep techniques and provide an Evenflo Baby Suite Select Crib, if needed. They show how to assemble the crib and explain how babies are safest when sleeping:

  • Alone (do not co-sleep or bed share with baby)
  • On their backs
  • On a firm mattress, not a sofa, waterbed or other soft surface
  • Only with a light blanket
  • In a smoke-free environment

MomCare Program- sponsored by Florida Department of Health to ensure that pregnant mothers receive prenatal care as soon as possible. MomCare offers guidance for finding an obstetrician or medical provider, assists with prenatal visits, and refers clients to other services for which they may be eligible. The MomCare program serves more than 8,000 women each year.

Healthy Mom Program- works with mothers who have had infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Tampa General Hospital to decrease likelihood of repeat poor birth outcome. This program has bilingual health educators as well.