More than 9.5 million women live in the Sunshine State — a third are childbearing age (15-44 years old). A woman’s health during this critical period impacts both her and her baby. Here is how Florida is working to support women’s health and well-being. We welcome new partners to support our Every Woman Florida Initiative, to assist with project oversight and evaluation, and also speakers who can reach out to consumers, professionals, and media outlets as needed.

Florida’s Preconception Health Plan

Preconception health--the health of a woman before she becomes pregnant--has been recognized as one of the key factors in improving maternal and infant health during and after pregnancy. Improving preconception health translates into healthier women, pregnancies, and birth outcomes.  Florida’s focus is on the importance of preconception screening, education, and counseling. Implementation of preconception health activities is a part of each program within the Department of Health that provides services or outreach to Florida’s women of reproductive age.  Interconception care is provided by each of the 31 Healthy Start Coalitions statewide.   

Preconception Health Activity Highlights

  • The Every Woman Florida (EWF) statewide campaign aims to raise awareness on the importance of screening for risk factors that could lead to adverse birth outcomes at every healthcare visit.   The EWF initiative encompasses a social marketing/awareness campaign which includes marketing materials, providing education and outreach, and a website.  
  • The Florida Department of Health initiated an outreach campaign to improve the use of Medicaid Family Planning Waiver services, titled Family Planning Medicaid for Today’s Woman. Increasing utilization of the waiver program is imperative for its success. Several different types of materials were developed for distribution in each local community. The materials were chosen with the assistance of focus groups. The marketing materials available include brochures, posters, buttons, and tear-off pads. 
  • In 2011, the Florida Department of Health was chosen as one of six states to participate in the AMCHP Initiative known as Optimizing Health Reform to Strengthen Preconception Health and Improve Birth Outcomes. The purpose of this initiative is to increase a state's effectiveness and capacity in improving women's health and ultimately their potential future birth outcomes. The project focuses on key opportunities within health reform and other related national initiatives to promote preconception health and health throughout the life course for women and girls.  The Florida team will be working on three objectives over the next year: 1) Improvement of the postpartum visit return rate through interagency collaborations, 2) Improvement in the quality and content of the postpartum visit, and 3) Incorporation of preconception health language into existing systems of care that touch women and children.
  • High-risk postpartum mothers are receiving inter-conceptional education and support through the Camellia Project, a pilot program funded by the March of Dimes, Florida Chapter, in northeast Florida.  The project provides curriculum-based group activities and individual support to mothers who have had a fetal or infant loss, or a baby hospitalized in the NICU.  It offers an inter-conceptional intervention for  addressing maternal risk factors that could impact a subsequent pregnancy in this high risk group. The Camellia Project is being implemented by the Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition, Inc. 

March of Dimes Initiatives

  • In addition to supporting Every Woman Florida and Every Woman Southeast, the March of Dimes Florida Chapter is supporting a multi-year demonstration project to provide interconception health services to high-risk women who have already experienced a fetal or infant loss, or who have had a baby hospitalized in the NICU.  Mothers are recruited while their babies are still in the NICU and followed for at least one year.  Projects are located in Broward County (Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies), Hillsborough County (Healthy Start Coalition of Hillsborough County) and the Camellia Project in Jacksonville (Healthy Start Coalition of Northeast Florida).  

Federal Healthy Start Projects

  • Florida is home to six federal Healthy Start projects: Woman-to-Woman, Gadsden County; the Magnolia Project, Jacksonville; REACHUP-Central Hillsborough Healthy Start, Tampa; St. Petersburg Healthy Start; Women’s Health Improvement Initiative (WHIN), West Palm Beach, and the Jasmine Project, Miami-Dade County. These projects serve high-risk communities and neighborhoods that experience significant disparities in birth outcomes. Each of these projects offers interconception care to women, including special initiatives that focus on depression (WHIN, REACHUP), family planning (Pinellas),  healthy weight (Magnolia) and primary care (Gadsden).

Examples of Florida’s Healthy Start Coalitions Interconceptional Tools

  • Community-based interconception health education and counseling curriculums have been developed and implemented by each of Florida’s 31 Healthy Start Coalitions.  
  • The Pinellas County Healthy Start program developed a series of pamphlets entitled “All Women Need to Know”.  The pamphlets are used to provide interconceptional education and counseling. 
  • The Escambia County Healthy Start Coalition has developed a set of preconception health tools and information resources for expanding outreach activities, promoting health education, providing referral information, and for increasing individual awareness of potential health risks prior to and during pregnancy. 
  • The Healthy Start Coalition of Brevard County recently developed and printed a booklet that represents a consolidation of the interconception curriculum used by the Healthy Start care coordinators in Brevard County. 
  • The Magnolia Project in Duval County operates as a collaborative among the Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition, the Duval County Health Department, and local community-based organizations to improve birth outcomes of high-risk African-American women, ages 15-44, living in five ZIP code areas of Jacksonville.  
  • Save Our Babies, a Healthy Start program in Orange County, focuses on African-American women who live in Orange County ZIP code areas with the poorest birth outcomes.