Improve Women’s Health

The life course perspective, MCH research and experience from the field all point to the importance of improving women’s health before, during and after pregnancy as a means to improve perinatal outcomes and reduce infant mortality.  To improve women’s health Healthy Start programs assess participants’ needs and work to ensure their access to comprehensive medical, social, behavioral, educational, and support services. Healthy Start also supports prevention and health promotion for women and families, including access to clinical preventive services, attention to pre/interconception health and reproductive life planning, and provision of health education.

Consult the data dictionary for exact definitions and measurement of each benchmark.

 

Benchmark: Health Insurance

Increase the proportion of Healthy Start women and child participants with health insurance to 90% (reduce uninsured to less than 10%).

Healthy Start participants should enroll in health insurance to guarantee that they qualify for and receive both preventive and essential health care services. Although uninsured rates are decreasing in the U.S., disparities persist within race, income, and age groups. Under the Affordable Care Act, many women not previously insured now qualify for health insurance (including Medicaid and Marketplace coverage) but may not realize this, and may need assistance in accessing it.

A Change Package is available summarizing recommended strategies and a selection of resources and evidence-based practices related to this benchmark to aid Healthy Start grantee organizations, partners and their staff in supporting the women and families they serve.

 

Benchmark: Postpartum Visit

Increase the proportion of Healthy Start women participants who receive a postpartum visit to 80%.

Since the period immediately following birth is a time of many physical and emotional adjustments, a visit for the mother with a healthcare provider approximately six weeks postpartum is important. Recovery from the delivery can be assessed, and preventive health measures such as screening for postpartum depression, providing contraception, and reinforcing the health benefits of breastfeeding can be provided.

A Change Package is available summarizing recommended strategies and a selection of resources and evidence-based practices related to this benchmark to aid Healthy Start grantee organizations, partners and their staff in supporting the women and families they serve.

 

Benchmark: Reproductive Life Plan

Increase the proportion of Healthy Start women participants who have a documented reproductive life plan to 90%

A reproductive life plan is a set of personal goals about having (or not having) children, accompanied by family planning intended to help achieve those goals. The CDC recommends that everyone make a reproductive life plan based on personal values and resources. Reproductive life plans reduce the risk of unintended pregnancy and increase the number of women who plan their pregnancies, and engage in healthy behaviors before becoming pregnant.

A Change Package is available summarizing recommended strategies and a selection of resources and evidence-based practices related to this benchmark to aid Healthy Start grantee organizations, partners and their staff in supporting the women and families they serve.

 

Benchmark: Usual Source of Care

Increase proportion of Healthy Start women and child participants who have a usual source of medical care 80%.

“Usual source of care” refers to a place an individual or family usually goes to when sick, such as such as a doctor’s office, clinic or health center but not an emergency room.  Having a usual source of medical care has been shown to increase quality of care,  boost access to preventive services, improve health outcomes, and reduce overall health care costs.

A Change Package is available summarizing recommended strategies and a selection of resources and evidence-based practices related to this benchmark to aid Healthy Start grantee organizations, partners and their staff in supporting the women and families they serve.

 

Benchmark: Well Woman Visits

Increase proportion of Healthy Start women participants that receive a well-woman visit to 80%.

ACOG recommends annual assessments to counsel women about preventive care and to provide recommended services such as screening and immunizations. A number of illnesses can be prevented when proper well-woman care is a priority, and even illnesses that can’t be prevented have a much better prognosis when detected early. In addition, a woman who has been receiving annual well-woman care is more likely to be in optimal health before any subsequent pregnancy.

A Change Package is available summarizing recommended strategies and a selection of resources and evidence-based practices related to this benchmark to aid Healthy Start grantee organizations, partners and their staff in supporting the women and families they serve.