Image of baby nursing

Healthy Start is a government-supported program. It is part of the Maternal and Child Health Bureau and resides in the division of Perinatal Services and Women’s Health. Healthy Start is a system of care that offers education, promotes positive birth outcomes, and protects the health and well being of all mothers and children.

What are the issues that Healthy Start addresses?

Healthy start is a comprehensive program that seeks to invest in the overall wellness of both mom and her developing baby.

This includes:

  • Providing adequate prenatal care
  • Promoting positive prenatal health behaviors
  • Meeting basic health needs (nutrition, housing, psychosocial support)
  • Reducing barriers to healthcare access
  • Enabling client empowerment

What are some of the services provided by Healthy Start?

Healthy Start is administered by local agencies in each state and services may vary from state to state.

In most states, the following services are offered:

  • Care coordination
  • Breastfeeding and childbirth education
  • Parenting education and support
  • Smoking cessation assistance
  • Nutritional services and counseling
  • Psychosocial counseling
  • Home visits
  • Support Groups
  • Other programs based on individual needs

Who does Healthy Start serve?

Healthy Start is focused on meeting the needs and serving the women who are considered most at-risk for infant mortality, low birth weight and racial disparities in perinatal outcomes. There are currently 96 Healthy Start Programs throughout the United States.

In order to qualify for Health Start, the woman must reside in the program’s targeted area. Women who may be eligible are pregnant women in need of prenatal care, mothers who have recently delivered and mothers who have children under the age of two.