The Four Perinatal Periods

Local Healthy Start programs strive to ensure access to community-based, culturally sensitive, family-centered and comprehensive health and social services to women, infants and their families, before pregnancy through the child’s second birthday.  Healthy Start works with its participants across the four perinatal periods: Preconception/Interconception, Prenatal, Postpartum, and Parenting. Utilizing the EPIC principles assists grantees in their efforts to strengthen community service systems to best meet participant needs across the perinatal period.


This phase refers to the time period before and between pregnancies. During this phase, Healthy Start works with women (and sometimes partners) to improve their own health, and promote family planning.

Some key aims for HS grantees during this phase:

  • Optimize women’s health, behaviors, and knowledge before pregnancy
  • Enhance access to and quality of care for women before and between pregnancies
  • Facilitate reproductive life planning (planning pregnancy, contraception, optimum birth spacing)
  • Promote education, screening, referral, and treatment for women with high-risk conditions


Inventory of Evidence-based Practices (EBPs) for Healthy Start Programs – A collection of evidence-based programs, practices and tools, searchable by phase of the perinatal period, topic and resource type.  HS EPIC Center.