What is the Healthy Start
Florida Statute 383.14 requires that all pregnant women be
offered the Healthy Start Prenatal Risk Screening at their
first or consequent prenatal visit and the Healthy Start
Infant (Postnatal) Risk Screening be offered to parents or
guardians of all infants born in Florida before leaving the
delivery facility. Healthy Start risk screens identify risk
factors so women and infants may be referred for services
that complement and assure continued participation in
prenatal and infant health care.
How were the screening forms developed?
The Healthy Start screening instruments (prenatal & infant)
were developed by a workgroup that included physicians,
nurses, social workers, researchers, program specialists and
other professionals knowledgeable in the field of maternal
and child health. The instruments were created after
extensive research and analysis of risk factors and a
statewide advisory council later approved the forms.
Have the screens been evaluated for validity?
The risk screens have been evaluated to determine their
success in identifying those women and infants most at risk
for adverse outcomes. Current studies that have linked
birth outcomes to Healthy Start screening data suggest that
both screening instruments are effective.
Studies indicate that the Healthy Start Prenatal
- Predictive of preterm birth (34 weeks since LMP) and
LBW< 2000 Grams Of 87K women screen in 2001, 35% were at
an increased risk.
- 48% of the women who had an adverse birth had a
- Women with positive scores are 1.7 times or 70% more
likely to experience preterm birth or to have a low
birth weight infant.
The Healthy Start Infant (postnatal) screen is:
Are the screening forms available in more than one
- Predictive of post-neonatal death
- 12% screen positive (score of 4+)
- 51% of post-neonatal deaths occur among the
12%Infants who score 4 or more on the Healthy Start
screen are 6 times as likely to die during the
post-neonatal period (28 -364 days after birth) than
those who score less than 4.(Data from Healthy Start
Annual Report 2003)
Screening forms are available in English, Spanish &
What is the goal of screening?
Healthy Start risk screening is the collection of
information on the designated prenatal & infant
(postnatal) screening forms. The form is scored to
assess risk and to identify those infants most at risk
for adverse health outcomes. Screening is the first
step to identify Healthy Start service recipients. It is
our goal to ensure that all newborns and pregnant women
are screened for risk factors. The majority of pregnant
women and infants will not be eligible for Healthy Start
services, as they will not have the risk factors
required. However, the data collected in the risk
screen enables the state of Florida to analyze the
factors that have the greatest impact on birth outcomes
and the factors that most affect residents of our