Healthy Start Coalition
of Miami-Dade

Parent(s) and Parents to Be

Becoming a parent is one of the most exciting and rewarding life events that will ever happen to you. But it can also be a period of time of many "unknowns" and feeling like your the only one going through it. We hope that our website can provide you a sense of calm and "I have resources" I can use to get through those long nights and most importantly - those unknowns.


We hope that the following information can provide you some important information as you become a parent for the first time, or maybe your'e a second time parent but need some guidance on how to do it all over again.

As a place for resources and information, the Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade knows the importance and value in providing resources to you is. As a result, The Family Resource guide (pictured to the right), is a gateway to vast variety of resources available in Miami-Dade County to meet your needs. You may download this for free and/or print it out and use as needed. We hope that you find great value in this wonderful resource guide.

Healthy Start - Free Services

Exhibit F - Prenatal Risk Screen Form

If your currently pregnant, one of the first steps to ensuring your baby gets a Healthy Start in life is to see your OB/GYN and get a screen completed for Healthy Start! The screening form is pictured below and we encourage you to fill out the questions,  discuss with your OB/GYN and if interested, consent to the screen/program so someone from Healthy Start can be in contact with you. All services are FREE of charge and helps encourage and promote a good positive pregnancy. Ask your OB/GYN for this important form at your first or next visit! Click on the picture to the right to enlarge.

Exhibit G - Infant Risk Screen Form

Once you deliver, you'll be asked a to answer a few questions which help complete the following documents:

  • Social Security Card
  • Birth Certificate and
  • Healthy Start Infant Screening
Although you will not see the form below as is, the questions you answer will help fill in important questions that will help determine the services that can best be offered to you. You should note that in order to participate in our program you must ensure you Consent to the screen and also sign the screen which will allow for it to be processed. Your information is held strictly confidential and someone from our Team will be happy to be in contact with you as soon as they receive your information. Click on the picture to the right to enlarge.

For more information, check out our Frequently Asked Questions section located on top or click here, to be quickly directed. This section here will help answer your questions and provide additional information on all our other programs which we offer. You may also continue to go through the website or contact us at 305-541-0210 and someone from the Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade will be happy to assist you.


Please visit the Florida Department of Children and Families website by clicking here, to get more information on additional resources and information that will help you be prepared.

Drowning Prevention

Drowning is the leading cause of death in many counties in the State of Florida and these deaths are 100% preventable. Please do not let your child become part of this devastating statistic.

Did you know?:

  • A child is 100 times more likely to drown in a pool than be killed by a gun;
  • 90% of the drowning occurs when the child walks out the door without anyone noticing;
  • The majority of children who drowned walked out of their home through the sliding glass door;
  • 1-3 year olds are the most likely to drown

To learn more about what you can do, please click here.


Car Seat Safety

One of the most important purchases a parent makes is a Car Seat which will keep their baby safe while transporting them from the hospital for the first time to the baby's new home and day-to-day.

For more information, please click here to get all the necessary information and tips from picking the right car seat, to how to install in your car. Our Healthy Start program is proud to have Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians available to assist you with this important process, so if interested enroll for FREE to our program and if eligibility is determined and availability, Healthy Start will assist you.

car-seat-safety chart

Additional Information


Perinatal Bereavement Resources

Support groups for families in Miami-Dade County are available for any family who has lost a baby at any stage of pregnancy or newborn death. These services are absolutely free and confidential. Click here for local resources:Perinatal Bereavement Resources



Thank you for taking an important step in better understanding your child’s growth and development. Children grow up so fast – they are crawling, walking and talking before you know it. That’s why the Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade is working together with you and your child’s doctor to follow your child’s development. By providing you with access to this free online developmental checkup, you can track your child’s development every step of the way!

Additional information before you begin:

  • You must be an active participant of the Healthy Start Program
  • You must have an access code that is provided by your Healthy Start Care Coordinator
  • The Ages and Stages Questionnaire is meant to be completed WITH your child
  • The Ages and Stages Questionnaire will take approximately 30 minutes to complete
  • It is recommended that you print out the questionnaire prior to beginning. You will need to have a few items on hand (blocks, pencil, ball, etc.) which change depending on your child’s age
  • You will not receive immediate results after completing the Ages and Stages Questionnaire. Once you begin, you will be asked to enter your contact information in order for a developmental specialist to contact you to discuss your child’s results.

Click here to begin the Ages and Stages Questionnaire in English. (Unfortunately, this link is currently unavailable. Please contact us if you would like further assistance at 305-541-0210. We do apologize for this inconvenience and anticipate having this link working soon.) 

ASQUsted ha dado un gran paso que le ayudará a entender mejor como crece su bebé. ¡Los niños crecen tan rápido! Gatean, caminan y hablan casi sin darnos cuenta. Es por eso que la organizaciónHealthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dadeestá uniendo esfuerzos con su pediatra, proporcionando este cuestionario en línea que le ayudará a seguir cada paso del desarrollo de su bebé.

Tenga en cuenta la siguiente información, antes de comenzar:

  • Usted debe participar activamente del programa Healthy Start
  • Usted debe tener un código de acceso. Este código se lo da su Coordinador de Servicios deHealthy Start
  • El cuestionario Edades y Etapas debe ser completado con su bebe
  • El cuestionario Edades y Etapas tomará aproximadamente 30 minutos para completer

Le recomendamos que tenga a mano algunas cosas que va a necesitar antes de empezar con el cuestionario (cubos, lápiz, pelota, etc). Estos materiales cambiarán dependiendo de la edad de su bebé y del cuestionario que utilice

Después de completar el cuestionario no recibirá los resultados inmediatamente. Una vez comience, tendrá que ingresar su información de contacto para que un especialista en desarrollo infantil se comunique con usted para darle los resultados.

Haga clic aquí para comenzar el Cuestionario Edades y Etapas en Español (Disculpe, este enlace no está disponible actualmente . Por favor, póngase en contacto con nosotros si desea más ayuda a 305-541-0210 . Pedimos disculpas por este inconveniente y esperamos tener esta obra enlace los mas pronto posible.)

Teacher Helping Students




Many new fathers struggle to figure out their role when their wife or partner has a baby. The close, intimate relationship between the mother and baby can be intimidating for some fathers. Here are some tips for fathers to get involved and bond with the new baby.

  • Starting in the hospital after birth, hold your baby skin to skin with baby’s bare chest against your bare chest.
  • Cradle, rock, read a book, and sing to your baby. You can even do some of these while your partner is still pregnant.
  • Get on diaper duty – help with the thousands of diaper changes that will take place in the first couple of years.
  • Encourage your partner to breastfeed and support her efforts by bringing baby to her at feeding time. This is particularly helpful in the middle of the night.
  • Make bath time your fun time with baby.
  • As your child gets older and can sit up or crawl or walk, you can help with feeding, make playtime, making sandcastles at the beach, and more.
  • Your only limit is your imagination.

Fathers Not Living With Their Children

One in three children live in a home where the father is not present. Statistics tell us that children have better outcomes when there is a father in the home. An actively involved father is important to a child’s development and self-esteem. Children need the love and support of their father, regardless of whether or not he lives in the home.

If you are a father who does not live with your child, you still play an important role in his/her life. Call often, even during the early months, to let baby hear your voice. Make it a priority to see your child frequently and schedule visits even if the visits are during a time that is most convenient for the mother. Be sure to pay your child support every month on time, even if you don’t agree with how your child’s mother manages her finances. Your child still needs and deserves your financial support. Speak positively of your child’s mother in the presence of your child. Make every effort to be there for your child in every way you can and be a good role model.

Local Resources in Miami


Fatherhood Task Force  of South Florida – The FTFSF serves fathers, grandfathers, uncles and other significant male role models or mentors in a child’s life.

Click here for more information

National Fatherhood Initiative – National Fatherhood Initiative® (NFI) works to improve the well-being of children by increasing the proportion of children growing up with involved, responsible, and committed fathers.  We accomplish this by educating all Americans, equipping fathers with skill-building resources, and engaging all sectors of society.

Click here for more information

Other Resources Available

DadLabs, Inc. – a start-up company dedicated to providing creative media content and information products to serve this new generation of “Super Dads.”

Click here for more information

All Pro Dad – is Family First’s innovative and unique program for every father. We strive to help fathers become passionate about their role in their family’s life. We strive daily to provide them every resource needed to rightly train up their children and give them a hopeful future. Our aim is to interlock the hearts of the fathers with their children and as a byproduct the hearts of the children with their dads.

Click here for more information



Medicaid is the state and federal partnership that provides health coverage for selected categories of people with low incomes. Its purpose is to improve the health of people who might otherwise go without medical care for themselves and their children. Medicaid is different in every state.

Florida Medicaid

Florida implemented the Medicaid Program on January 1, 1970, to provide medical services to indigent people. Over the years, the Florida Legislature has authorized Medicaid reimbursement for additional services. A major expansion occurred in 1989, when the United States Congress mandated that states provide all Medicaid services allowable under the Social Security Act to children under the age of 21.

Eligibility for Medicaid Services
Recipient eligibility for Medicaid is determined by the 
Department of Children and Families (DCF), Office of Economic Self Sufficiency. DCF determines Medicaid eligibility for:

  • Low income families with children
  • Children only
  • Pregnant women
  • Non-citizens with medical emergencies
  • Aged and/or disabled individuals not currently receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

How to apply:
There are three ways to apply for pregnancy Medicaid.

  • Presumptively Eligible Pregnant Women (PEPW) –   Pregnant women may go to a Qualified Designated Provider (QDP) to receive temporary Medicaid coverage for their prenatal care, usually on the same day they apply.
  • Simplified Eligibility for Pregnant Women (SEPW) – Sometimes called MomCare, this process was created in 2001 to allow eligible pregnant women to be approved for full Medicaid coverage quickly and simply.
  • ACCESS Florida Application –  If the pregnant woman wishes to receive other benefits, such as cash, food stamps or benefits for other family members, she must complete a “regular” paper ACCESS Florida Application (AFA) or web application.  Normal processing guidelines apply.

Application Forms:

  • Presumptive Eligibility for Pregnant Women (PEPW)
  • Simplified Eligibility for Pregnant  Women (SEPW)
  • Other Medicaid, including Medically Needy

Can all be completed by clicking here.

Where to Apply:

  • Presumptive Eligibility for Pregnant Women (PEPW): At a Qualified Designated Provider (QDP).
  • Simplified Eligibility for Pregnant Women (SEPW): At a DCF ACCESS office in person, by mail or by fax.
  • Other Medicaid, including Medically Needy: At a DCF ACCESS office in person, on-line, by mail or by fax.
  • County Public Health Units (CPHU) (aka: County Health Departments): See listings Florida Department of Health
  • Children’s Medicaid Services (CMS): See listings CMS Programs — Children’s Medical Services Homepage
  • Regional Perinatal Intensive Care Centers (RPICC) (i.e., certain designated regional hospitals): See listings CMS RPICC Family Brochure Information

Required Verification:

  • For Presumptive Eligibility for Pregnant Women (PEPW):
  1. Proof of pregnancy from a medical provider.
  2. Verbal Statement of Income
  • For Simplified Eligibility for Pregnant  Women (SEPW):
  1. Proof of pregnancy from a medical provider.
  2. Proof of citizenship and identity for US citizens.
  3. Proof of non-citizen status for non-citizens.
  4. Proof of self-employment income
  5. Other verifications, such as a Social Security Number.
  • For other Medicaid, including Medically Needy:
  1. Proof of pregnancy from a medical provider.
  2. Proof of citizenship and identity for US citizens.
  3. Proof of non-citizen status for non-citizens.
  4. Proof of income and assets for all household members.

Extent of Medicaid Coverage:

  • Presumptive Eligibility for Pregnant Women (PEPW) – Limited Coverage:
    Covers the pregnant woman only.
    Covers pregnancy related outpatient services and prescriptions only.
    Only one presumptive period per pregnancy allowed.
  • Simplified Eligibility for Pregnant  Women (SEPW) – Full Coverage:
    Covers the pregnant woman only.
    Covers all Medicaid services, including inpatient services and delivery.
  • Other Medicaid, including Medically Needy – Full Coverage:
    Covers all Medicaid services for all eligible household members, if requested.

Duration of Medicaid Coverage:

  • Presumptive Eligibility for Pregnant Women (PEPW)
    Begins the date of application and lasts until DCF makes a determination of ongoing eligibility, or 60 days (whichever is less).
  • Simplified Eligibility for Pregnant  Women (SEPW)
    Begins the first day of the application month and lasts through two (2) post-partum months. Lasts up to three (3) months retroactive coverage available, if eligible and requested, provided woman was pregnant during the retroactive period.
  • Other Medicaid, including Medically Needy
    Other Medicaid:  Begins the first day of the application month and lasts through two (2) post-partum months.
  • Medically Needy:  Begins the date that Share of Cost is met.
    Up to three (3) months retroactive coverage available, if eligible and requested.

U.S. Citizenship and Identity Verification Policy for Medicaid

  • This policy does not apply to PEPW
  • Most individuals who indicate they are U.S. citizens on the application must provide verification of their citizenship and identity.
  • Exceptions:  Individuals who are:
  1. SSI recipients
  2. Social Security Disability (SSDI) recipients
  3. Children in state foster care or adoption
  4. Medicare (any part) recipients
  5. Medicaid cannot be authorized prior to receipt of verification


Medicaid Family Planning Waiver

What is the Medicaid the Family Planning Waiver?
Professionals suggest that waiting at least two years between pregnancies is better for a woman and her baby’s health. The Medicaid Family Planning Waiver is a program which provides family planning services (services that help prevent, delay or plan a pregnancy).

What services are covered by this program?
This program provides family planning services for up to two years and includes:

  • A family planning check-up and pap smear
  • Access to different types of birth control
  • Limited testing and treatment for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and other gynecological problems
  • HIV testing
  • Tubal ligation (permanent surgery to prevent pregnancy)
  • Pregnancy testing

Am I eligible?
To qualify for this program a woman must:

  • Lose full Medicaid benefits or have lost them within the past 2 years
  • Want to have family planning services
  • Be 14 to 55 years of age
  • Not be pregnant
  • Be a United States citizen or eligible resident
  • Not have had surgery which prevents pregnancy (tubal ligation–”tubes tied”– or hysterectomy)
  • Have a household income within 150% – 185% of poverty guidelines (approximately $30,975 – $38,200 for a family of four)

Note: Women on SOBRA Medicaid since September 1, 2006 are automatically enrolled for one year, then must reapply for year two.

How do I apply?
To request an application by mail or find out more about eligibility, call the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County at 305-325-2758. To download the form click here and scroll down to the “Applications” section.

Where can I get services?
Ask your current doctor, nurse or midwife if they provide Medicaid Family Planning Waiver Program services.

Medicaid for Children

The State of Florida has several programs designed to provide Medicaid for children only. The income limits for most of these programs vary based on the age of the child. Only the income of the child and parent(s) is counted when determining the child’s eligibility.

Families that wish to apply for Medicaid just for their children may do so through the KidCare program. The KidCare application can be mailed in and does not require an interview with the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Children who do not qualify for Medicaid may be eligible for other KidCare coverage if income is less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level and will be referred to Florida Healthy Kids for this determination. To apply for KidCare, click here to be directed to their website.


Pregnant Black and White


A healthy pregnancy begins before you become pregnant. This is known as preconception health. It actually begins long before you even think about motherhood. It is important to learn what you can do now to make sure any future pregnancies are planned and healthy. All women can benefit from some basic pre-pregnancy planning. Women and men should prepare for pregnancy at least three months before getting pregnant. Some actions, such as quitting smoking, reaching a healthy weight, or adjusting medicines you are using, should start even earlier. In addition to talking to your doctor before you get pregnant, the five most important things you can do for preconception health are:

  • Take 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid every day if you are planning or capable of pregnancy to lower your risk of some birth defects of the brain and spine. This is available over the counter and may be part of a multivitamin you already take;
  • Stop smoking and drinking alcohol;
  • If you have a medical condition, be sure it is under control;
  • Some health conditions can affect pregnancy or be affected by it;
  • Talk to your doctor about any over-the-counter and prescription medicines you are using;
  • These include dietary or herbal supplements;
  • Be sure your vaccinations are up to date;
  • Avoid contact with toxic substances or materials that could cause infection at work and at home. This includes avoiding chemicals and cat or rodent feces.

For additional information, follow these links:

Office of Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

March of Dimes – Get Ready for Pregnancy

Prenatal CareBaby and PRegnant Mother

Early and regular prenatal care helps keep you and your baby healthy during pregnancy. It involves physical exams and screening tests along with education and counseling about how to handle different aspects of your pregnancy. During your visits, your health care provider may discuss many issues, such as healthy eating and physical activity, tests you might need, and what to expect during labor and delivery. Be sure to attend all appointments and stay informed about your care and test results. Keep in mind that women with healthy habits are more likely to have healthy babies. If you are a smoker, it’s important to be informed and understand the risks associated while pregnant. You may visit the CDC’s website for more information by clicking here.

Choosing a Prenatal Healthcare Provider

You will see your prenatal healthcare provider many times before you have your baby. You want to be sure that the person you choose has a good reputation and listens to and respects you. Your provider should be willing and able to give you the information and support you need to make an informed choice about infant feeding methods. Ask your primary care provider, friends, and family members for recommendations. There are many factors to consider when making your choice such as the provider’s reputation, personality and bedside manner, gender and age, office location and hours, where you want to deliver, etc. If you would like help choosing a provider or need a list of providers, click here to search our local provider directory.

Choices in Childbirth

Many women have strong views about where and how they’d like to deliver their babies. Women can choose to deliver at a hospital, birth center, or at home, depending on their health insurance coverage. Make sure that the doctor or midwife you are considering can deliver your baby in the place you want to give birth. Whatever you decide, remember that you have options in your prenatal care and delivery of your baby.

Hospitals are a good choice for women with health problems, pregnancy complications, or those who are at risk for problems during labor and delivery. In a hospital, an obstetrician can do a cesarean delivery if you or your baby is in danger during labor. Women can get epidurals or many other pain relief options.

Birth or birthing centers are a good option for healthy women who are at low risk for problems during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. It is a more “homey” environment where health care providers try to make labor and delivery a natural and personal experience.

Maternal Depression

Baby Blues

Though pregnancy and having a new baby at home is supposed to be a joyous time, it is fairly common for women to experience baby blues in the days following childbirth. In fact, up to 80% of women report experiencing some symptoms of baby blues such as crying spells, mood swings, irritability and anxiety, difficulty sleeping, or changes in eating habits. They are likely related to rapid hormonal changes that occur after delivery along with being tired and a little anxious about caring for your little one. Not to worry – they usually resolve on their own within a couple of weeks. Having the support of your loved ones and getting plenty of rest is helpful in resolving the symptoms of baby blues. When symptoms continue past the first couple of weeks after birth or they are more severe or intense, you may be experiencing postpartum depression and will need some additional help to feel better. Postpartum depression can also show up a bit later in the months following childbirth and is more common in women who have a history of depression.

Signs of postpartum depression may include:

  • Feeling restless or irritable
  • Feeling sad, depressed, or crying a lot
  • Having no energy
  • Having headaches, chest pains, heart palpitations (the heart beating fast and feeling like it is skipping beats),
  • numbness, or hyperventilation (fast and shallow breathing)
  • Not being able to sleep, being very tired, or both
  • Not being able to eat and weight loss
  • Overeating and weight gain
  • Trouble focusing, remembering, or making decisions
  • Being overly worried about the baby
  • Not having any interest in the baby
  • Feeling worthless and guilty
  • Having no interest or getting no pleasure from activities like sex and socializing
  • Thoughts of harming your baby or yourself (This is an emergency – seek immediate help)  

You are not alone. If you or someone you know is experiencing postpartum depression and needs help, please talk to your healthcare provider and call the Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade for guidance on receiving help at (305) 541-0210.


Teens & Pregnancy

Did you know:

  • 3 in 10 teen girls will get pregnant before age 20
  • More than half of teen moms drop out of high school, less than 2% graduate college
  • 8 in 10 teen dads don’t marry their baby’s mother
  • 50% of teens had not considered how pregnancy would affect their lives before they got pregnant

Being a teen can be stressful and adding pregnancy into the mix makes life extra complicated. You learn about teen pregnancy and sexual responsibility in school, from your parents, and on tv — and you learn that it’s not a good idea to get pregnant before you’re ready.

As a teen, it’s important to have a plan. Are you ready to have sex or are you going to wait? If you choose to have sex, do you know how to do it safely? Here are some things to consider:

  • You can delay sex until you’re older, this is called abstinence. Not having sex is the only 100% effective method of preventing pregnancy and STIs or STDs.
  • If you choose to have sex, you need to look at your options for protection – protection from pregnancy, STDs and STIs. See below for Prevention information.

You are the only person that can decided whether you are ready to have sex or not. But once you do decide for yourself, it’s important to talk about it with your partner. Knowing the facts and being sure of your decision will make the conversation easier and less uncomfortable. You can even talk it over with a friend, parent, or doctor first.

If you’re already a teen parent it’s also important to have a plan. You are traveling down a difficult and scary road. Just remember that you’re not alone. The Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade offers a variety of services to help. If we can’t help you, then we’ll try to get you in touch with someone who can.

Am I Pregnant?


Think you might be pregnant, but aren’t certain? If you are pregnant, your body will show signs and symptoms of pregnancy, like:

  • Missed period
  • Frequent urination
  • Spotting
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Sore or enlarged breasts
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Cravings
  • Sensitivity to smells
  • Headaches
  • Backaches

If you have three or more symptoms then you may be pregnant and should take a pregnancy test. You can take an at-home pregnancy test or go to a medical facility to take a pregnancy test. At-home pregnancy tests are 99% accurate when used correctly and can be purchased at most drug stores or grocery stores. You will urinate on a small plastic stick. If pregnancy hormones are detected, you’ll see a positive which means that you are pregnant. Pregnancy tests at a medical facility will be either a urine test, like an at-home test, or a blood test.

To get a pregnancy test at a health center near you, visit this page.

When you confirm that you are pregnant, you will probably experience a variety of feelings like uncertainty, excitement, confusion, and fear. Now that you are facing the reality of becoming a teen parent, you need to prepare yourself emotionally, physically, and financially. Knowing all of the facts will make you feel better and help you to have a healthier pregnancy. An unplanned pregnancy will change your life as you know it. Now that you are pregnant, you will need to: 

  • Start seeing a doctor for prenatal care—don’t put this off, the sooner the better
  • Eat certain foods and avoid others (visit our page on healthy eating)
  • Do not drink alcohol, smoke, or do drugs
  • Take prenatal vitamins and get plenty of rest
  • Take good care of yourself physically and emotionally
  • Start planning a stable future for you and your baby
  • Prepare a safe home for you and your baby
  • Look at options for child care so you can continue school

At this point, you know how pregnancy is caused– by having unprotected sex. After you have your baby, it is important not to get pregnant again for another 2 years. This allows your body to recover and regain strength. To learn how to avoid getting pregnant again, see our Prevention Information below.

Prevention Methods

Are you sexually active or thinking about having sex, but aren’t sure what prevention methods are available? Here are some common contraceptives you may want to consider, but remember, abstinence is the ONLY 100% sure fire way to avoid getting pregnant or contracting an STD.

Male Condom

The only method that protects against both pregnancy and STDs and STIs

Details: In order to be effective, the condom must be worn before you start having sex and must be kept on the entire time. The condom slips over the guy’s penis to prevent pregnancy and STIs by keeping his sperm inside the condom and not in the girl’s vagina. Latex condoms are most recommended. If you’re allergic to latex, polyurethane condoms are recommended. Stay away from sheepskin condoms as they contain dozens of tiny little holes that make the condom more likely to break and cause the sperm to leak out.

To find a business or organization near you that distributes condoms for free, simple search here.

Effectiveness: 82%

Pros: Condoms are relatively easy to use, but it’s very important to follow the directions carefully. You can easily purchase condoms inexpensively at your local grocery or drug store and do not need a doctor’s prescription.

Cons: If you are allergic to spermicide or latex, then you’ll want to avoid those types of condoms. The condom will be far less effective or completely ineffective if not used correctly.

o-TEEN-PREGNANCY-facebookFemale Condom

A pouch the girl inserts into her vagina that collects the guy’s sperm and protects against most STIs
Details: Female condoms work similarly to male condoms but instead of being snug around the guy’s penis, it fits loosely inside the girl’s vagina. It protects both partners from STIs including HIV and keeps the guy’s sperm contained to prevent pregnancy. Female condoms are not the easiest method and they must be used correctly in order to be effective.

Effectiveness: 79%

Pros: You do not need a prescription from a doctor to get female condoms. They can be found at most drug stores. This is a good option for people allergic to latex as they are made out of plastic or synthetic rubber. This is also a good option for a girl if the guy refuses to wear a male condom.

Cons: The female condom looks awkward, like a floppy, clear elephant trunk. Some women find it mildly uncomfortable to insert. It’s very important that it’s used correctly, otherwise it won’t be effective.

The Pill:

A pill the girl takes daily, some even have positive side effects besides pregnancy prevention

Details: Also known as ‘oral contraception’ (because the pill is taken orally), the pill must be taken every day at the same time in order to be effective. There are hundreds of different kinds of birth control pills but they all work similarly in that they release hormones that keep the ovaries from releasing eggs. The hormones also thicken the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from getting near the egg. In most cases, the girl takes a pill everyday for three weeks and on the fourth week she takes a placebo (also known as a sugar pill) and has her period. The pill is only effective in preventing pregnancy, but has no effect for preventing STDs or STIs.

Effectiveness: 91%

Pros: Some girls experience positive side effects like clearer skin, weight loss, and boosted mood. The pill also regulates your period so you can know exactly when to expect it. The pill is easy to use and a private method of birth control.

Cons: Because the pill is hormonal, you will need to go to your doctor to write you a prescription then you can get the prescription refilled at your pharmacy. Some girls see negative side effects with certain types of the pill, such as sore breasts, mood swings, skin break-outs, and weight gain. Because the pill does not protect against STDs or STIs, it’s a good idea to double up with a secondary contraceptive like the male condom or female condom. Some girls have trouble remembering to take their pill everyday at the same time. If the pill is not taken correctly, then it won’t be effective. If this is the case for you, use Bedsider’s Reminder tool at

The Ring:

Flexible ring inserted into the vagina that works like the pill, providing pregnancy prevention for a month

Details: Small and flexible, the ring is squeezed and inserted into the vagina. The girl keeps the ring in for 3 weeks while it releases a steady stream of hormones that prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs. On the fourth week she takes the ring out and has her period. Inserting the ring is similar to inserting a tampon, but if you’re uncomfortable with putting your fingers inside yourself then this is not a good option for you. This is a good option for girls that would have trouble remembering to take the pill every day. You only need to remember to put it in each month and take it out three weeks later. Usually the pharmacy will give you three to four months worth of protection (3-4 rings) and they need to be store in the refrigerator. So, if it’s important to you to keep your birth control private, this might not be your most secretive option.

Effectiveness: 91%

Pros: The ring releases a low dose of hormones so there’s less chance of negative side effects. It’s a low maintenance option – just remember to put it in and take it out each month. Because it’s so easy, it’s less likely that you’ll do it incorrectly, improving your odds of effectiveness.

Cons: There is only one company that makes the ring, Nuva Ring. Without insurance, it can be a more expensive option. Because the ring is hormonal, you will need to go to your doctor to give you a prescription then you can get the prescription refilled at your pharmacy. Some girls see negative side effects, such as sore breasts, mood swings, skin break-outs, and weight gain. Because the ring does not protect against STDs or STIs, it’s a good idea to double up with a secondary contraceptive like the male condom or female condom.

The Patch

Works like the pill, is worn on the girl’s skin, and only needs to be changed monthly

Details: The patch (also called Ortho Evra) is a thin, beige, plastic sticker that stays on your skin for a week. It slowly releases hormones that prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg. The girl changes the patch three weeks in a row then takes it off for the fourth week when she has her period. It also causes the cervical mucus to get thick which prevents sperm from getting near the egg. This is a good option for girls who don’t want to have to worry about taking a pill every day, but it must be changed weekly. Because the patch only comes in one size – about 2 inches by 2 inches – it is only recommended for girls who weigh less than 198 pounds.

Effectiveness: 91%

Pros: The patch is easy to use and doesn’t require daily maintenance. It is very effective in regulating girl’s periods.

Cons: There is a weight restriction to remain conscientious of, 198 lbs. Because the patch is hormonal, you will need to go to your doctor to give you a prescription then you can get the prescription refilled at your pharmacy. Some girls see negative side effects, such as sore breasts, mood swings, skin break-outs, and weight gain. Because the patch does not protect against STDs or STIs, it’s a good idea to double up with a secondary contraceptive like the male condom or female condom.

The Shot:

A shot of hormones for the girl that lasts three months

Details: The shot (aka Depo-Provera) contains progesterone – no estrogen — that prevents the ovaries from releasing eggs and creates a thick cervical mucus. The shot will provide effective birth control for three months, after three months you go to the doctor for another shot. If you can’t handle needles, this isn’t a good option for you.

Effectiveness: 94%

Pros: It’s virtually fool-proof — highly effective long-term coverage, no daily or weekly hassle, and completely private. Most girls who regularly received the shot noticed their periods get much lighter or even stop over time.

Cons: Because the nature of a shot, you will need to go to your doctor to have the shot administered – and you’ll need to go every three months. Some girls see negative side effects, such as sore breasts, mood swings, skin break-outs, changes in appetite, headaches and weight gain. Because the patch does not protect against STDs or STIs, it’s a good idea to double up with a secondary contraceptive like the male condom or female condom.


A shallow cup inserted into the vagina that prevents sperm from entering the uterus; non-hormonal and effective immediately

Details: A diaphragm is a small dome-shaped silicone or latex cup that the girl inserts into her vagina before having sex. The diaphragm covers the opening of the cervix which prevents sperm from entering into the uterus. In order for it to be most effective, spermacide needs to be applied to the inside of the dome before inserting it into the vagina. It also needs to be positioned correctly. If you are uncomfortable inserting your fingers into your vagina, this is not a good option for you. A diaphragm is non-hormonal so it must be used every single time you have sex and it does not regulate your period. In fact, you can’t use the diaphragm while on your period. Your doctor will measure your cervix in order to fit you properly with a diaphragm. The diaphragm will come in a storage case that can be discretely kept at home or carried in your purse.

Effectiveness: 88%

Pros: Since a diaphragm is non-hormonal, you will never experience the negative side-effects that sometimes come with hormonal birth control. The diaphragm is also convenient since it is discrete and is immediately effective.

Cons: Though it is non-hormonal, you will still need to go to your doctor to get a diaphragm. This is not the birth control method for you if you or your partner is allergic to latex or spermicide. Because a diaphragm does not protect against STDs or STIs, it’s a good idea to double up with a secondary contraceptive like the male condom or female condom.


Non-hormonal and non-prescription substance that immobilizes sperm

Details: Spermicide comes in many different forms such as creams, foams, gels, films, and suppositories. The spermicide is inserted deep into your vagina. When sperm comes into contact with the chemicals in spermicide, the sperm is stopped from moving. Women who have a higher risk of HIV or who are with a partner who may have HIV should avoid this method because one of the chemicals in spermicide, Nonoxynol-9, causes changes in your natural vaginal chemical balance. This imbalance makes you more susceptible to HIV. It is also common from people to be allergic to spermicides. If you feel an irritation during or after use of spermicide, then you are likely allergic to it.

Effectiveness: 71%

Pros: Spermicide is readily available at most drug stores. Spermicide boosts the effectiveness of other contraceptive methods such as male or female condoms, diaphragm, cervical plug, the pill, the ring, the patch, etc.

Cons: The failure rate of spermicide is pretty high so it should always be used with another form of contraception – but it’s better than using nothing at all.

Emergency Contraception:

For emergency use, not a regular birth control, to stop a pregnancy before it starts

Details: Emergency contraception (aka EC) if taken in time, can stop a pregnancy before it happens. This is not the abortion pill so it will not terminate an existing pregnancy. The sooner taken after unprotected sex, the more effective it will be but it can be taken up to 5 days after. There are three different options:

Ella: This one-pill formula stops your body from producing the hormones that your body needs to conceive. Unlike the other pill, the effectiveness does not decrease during the 5 days after unprotected sex. You will need a prescription from your doctor to get this pill, but there is no age restriction.

Plan B One-Step, Next Choice One Dose, Next Choice, and Levonorgestrel: Available at most drug stores and without a prescription, this pill form of EC works much like birth control but at a much higher dosage. It must be taken within 5 days and it’s effectiveness decreases during those 5 days. You must be 17 or older to purchase these pills.

Pros: All three methods reduce your risk of an unplanned pregnancy after unprotected sex.

Cons: All three options will disrupt your period and likely cause spotting. The insertion of Paragard IUD can be painful or uncomfortable and will disrupt your period for the following weeks while your body adjusts. Ella, Plan B One Step, Next Choice One Dose, Next Choice, and Levonorgestrel will likely cause nausea, cramping, sore breasts, and irregular bleeding.


Highly effective, private, long term birth control inserted into the uterus

Details: An IUD is a small T-shaped plastic piece that is inserted by your doctor into your uterus. It prevents the sperm from fertilizing the egg(s). Depending on the IUD, it can provide highly effective birth control for anywhere from 3 to 12 years.

  • Paragard

This is the most effective form of EC, but it must be administered by a doctor within 5 days of unprotected sex. Paragard is also a long lasting method of birth control. It can actually last up to 12 years. This method is not recommended for women who have not given birth yet.

This IUD is 100% non-hormonal so you won’t experience the side-effects of a hormonal birth control like the pill, the patch, the shot, etc. Paragard is made out of plastic and a small amount of safe copper. Though Paragard provides contraception for up to 12 years, it does not protect against STDs or STIs.

  • Mirena

Mirena provides pregnancy prevention for up to 5 years by releasing a synthetic hormone, progestin, that prevents sperm from reaching the cervix. Mirena is also effective for lightening your period flow and frequency.

  • Skyla

The smallest IUD available, Skyla is the only IUD approved for women who have not previously given birth. It releases progestin that prevents sperm from entering the cervix for up to 3 years.

Effectiveness: 99%

Pros: IUDs are a great form of birth control for people who don’t want to have to worry or think about birth control – no prescriptions, no packaging, and no daily, weekly or even monthly obligations. Aside from abstinence, it is the most effective form of birth control. For most women, IUDs will cause a lighter period flow and may even eliminate the period for months at a time. Most experts agree that IUDs are perfectly safe and you will be fertile again almost immediately after the IUD is removed.

Cons: Some women experienced pain and discomfort at the insertion of the IUD. Only a doctor can approve a candidate for an IUD and perform the insertion of the IUD. An IUD will almost certainly change the nature of your period. At first you’ll experience irregular bleeding but your body will eventually establish a cycle and you will likely have a lighter flow. For women who find comfort in a regular, consistent period, this might not be the best option. No IUD can protect you from STDs or STIs, so it is still important to use a secondary form of protection like and male or female condom.



True or False? There are hundreds of false claims about how NOT to get pregnant. Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies wants to educate teens on the common myths associated with teen pregnancy and sexual activity. Check out these unbelievable falsities…how did you score?

Everyone’s doing it

Actually, less than half of high school students have had sex, 48% to be exact. You can’t believe everything that everyone tells you. Some people may talk about sex, but that doesn’t mean that they’re having sex.

It’s not cool to wait til you’re older to have sex

Waiting to have sex is one of the smartest things you can do. If you wait, you’re 100% safe from pregnancy and STDs. Anyway, most teens that have had sex say that they wish that they waited.

If you love someone, you should have sex with them

This couldn’t be farther from the truth. If a person loves you then they will respect your decision to wait. Sex tends to complicate relationships. If the relationship ends, then you will feel even more hurt. In fact, 8 out of 10 first time teen sexual relationships last 6 months or less and 25% are one-time occurrences. That’s not exactly the happily ever after you had in mind.

You can’t get pregnant the first time you have sex

FALSE! It does not matter how many times you’ve had sex, you can get pregnant. A girl gets pregnant when a guy’s sperm fertilizes her egg. The sperm and egg don’t care how many times you’ve had sex before. The only certain way to not get pregnant is by not having sex.

A girl can’t get pregnant when she’s on her period

This is a very common misconception. A girl can in fact get pregnant if she has sex while she’s on her period. The sperm released during sex lives in the vagina for several days. When her period is done and she ovulates then the sperm can fertilize the egg resulting in pregnancy.

Girls: “If I ___(fill in the blank)____ then I won’t get pregnant.”

  • Douche – False. Douching with water, soapy water, soda pop, or anything else will NOT prevent you from getting pregnant. Sperm are swimmers and they travel up into the cervix where the douche can’t get to them. Douching is not effective for preventing pregnancy. 
  • Push hard on my stomach after se – False. Pushing on any body part after sex won’t make any difference whether you get pregnant or not. It will probably just hurt you. Your eggs and the sperm released during sex are microscopic and protected by your reproductive organs. Pushing on or hitting your stomach will NOT prevent you from getting pregnant.
  • Jump up and down after sex – False. Sounds like a lot of work for nothing. There is nothing you can jump on for any amount of time that will prevent you from getting pregnant.
  • Have sex in the water – False. Having sex and making waves in a pool, bath tub, hot tub, ocean, or any other water will not prevent you from getting pregnant. In fact, water will get pushed into your vagina and can cause irritation or infections.
  • Have sex standing up or girl-on-top style – False. The position that you get-it-on in has no affect on your chances of getting pregnant. Upside down, standing up, laying down, in a car, in a bed – it doesn’t matter how you do it, you can get pregnant.
  • Don’t have an orgasm – False. An orgasm is the physical and emotional sensation felt at the peak of a sexual experience. For a man, this is the point of ejaculation. For a woman, it is nothing more than a feeling. Having or not having an orgasm does not affect your chances of getting pregnant.
  • My partner pulls out before he ejaculates – False. This method of preventing pregnancy is not effective. Before a guy has an orgasm and ejaculates he produces pre-ejaculatory fluid (aka pre-cum). This fluid contains sperm that can fertilize the egg and cause pregnancy.

There is no 100% effective form of birth control.

Abstinence, or waiting to have sex, is the only 100% effective protection from pregnancy and STDs. If you are not having sex then you cannot get pregnant.

Condoms can be reused.

Absolutely not! Condoms are only good for one use. Once you remove a condom from its wrapper you need to use it or lose it. After using a condom it should be thrown away immediately.

When you don’t have a condom, you can use plastic wrap.

Plastic wrap, baggies, etc are fine to use in the kitchen but never as a replacement for a condom. Condoms are specifically made to have a secure fit and are made from material that keeps the seminal fluid from getting into the vagina. Plastic wrap is made to cover your food. It doesn’t work for preventing pregnancy or STDs.

Birth control pills are effective as soon as you start taking them.

Birth control pills are a series of hormones that must be taken consistently over a full menstrual cycle (or one month) to be effective. The hormones need time to build up in your body to be effective. It’s also important to take the pill at the same time every single day and not skip days. If you just started taking the pill, then you can still get pregnant. You should use a back-up birth control like a condom. 

Having ‘The Talk’

Talking about sex, STDs, and intimate things can be downright uncomfortable and awkward – but it doesn’t have to be. Being more open and honest with your partner about how you feel will establish a stronger, happier relationship. It’s important to let each other know where you stand on issues relating to your sexuality and your boundaries.shutterstock_112862056-638x425

Be bold, take charge. Don’t wait for your partner to bring something up. You may find that he/she is relieved that you brought it up first. Nervousness is normal, but you won’t regret the conversation.

Have ‘the talk’ before things start heating up between you. Having the conversation after you’ve been together sexually may be too late. All it takes is ‘one time’ to get an STD or get pregnant. Once you feel that you’re ready to take the relationship to the next level, have the conversation. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Be totally honest. If you have an STD, tell your partner. It’s important to tell them before you have any sexual contact – including skin-to-skin contact, oral sex, anal sex, or vaginal sex. You and your partner can take steps to prevent sharing the STD. You may find it helpful to go to a local health center together where you can learn about proper protection.

Be in the know. Knowledge is power. You and your partner should get tested so that you know if you have any STDs. Not all STDs show symptoms, so you can’t tell just by looking. Know what STDs are and how to protect yourself from getting them.

You should talk to you partner about things like:

  • Sexual activity
  • STD and STI Testing
  • Use of STD protection and pregnancy prevention
  • Being monogamous

Sexual activity – Ideally, you’ll have this conversation before you and your partner become sexually involved. You should communicate to your partner your sexual boundaries – how far you are comfortable going. If your partner doesn’t respect your wishes, then you should reconsider your relationship.

STD and STI Testing – If you haven’t been tested since your last sexual partner, then you should get tested. Ask your partner if you can go together to get tested. You can find a local health clinic here (link). You should also agree to a form of STD and STI protection, like wearing a condom or abstaining from all sexual activity. If one or both of you has an STD, don’t worry. You can use precaution and protection to prevent sharing the STD. It’s best to talk to a doctor about how to prevent sharing STDs with each other and to get immediate treatment for your STD.

Use of STD protection and pregnancy prevention – One of the most important conversations you can have with your partner is about STDs and pregnancy prevention. Is he willing to wear a condom? Is she on birth control? If he is not willing to wear a condom, is she willing to wear a female condom? Are you using a secondary birth control method, such as spermicide, the pill, or a diaphragm? If he is not willing to wear a condom then you are both at very high risk for contracting STDs and the girl getting pregnant. To learn about all of your STD and birth control options, click here (link). Stand firm in using a form of STD and pregnancy prevention. Some things are okay to compromise on (like what to do this weekend), but some things should never be compromised– like your sexual health, safety, and boundaries.

15-Ways-Your-Latina-Daughter-Can-Avoid-the-Teen-Pregnancy-Trap-photo13Being monogamous – This means sleeping with only one person at a time. One way to minimize your risk of STDs and STIs is to be monogamous. Both you and your partner should agree to only sleep with each other. Unfortunately, sometimes relationships end. It’s a good idea to get tested when you end a relationship so you are prepared for another relationship in the future.

*Thank you to the Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Palm Beach County, Inc. for providing this information. In addition, the Coalition does not endorse anyone particular option listed above over another. We strive to provide all known information so that you – the client, can make an objective decision based on your care and needs. 


All classes listed below are FREE of charge and for you to come and learn all about becoming or continuing to be the BEST parent to your baby. Please read the details provided and contact the organization to register.

No events available...

You may also click on the “Events” page on the top menu or click here to view all the upcoming educational classes. Should you not find any upcoming classes listed, we encourage you to please visit often and our training classes occur on a regular basis. For additional information, please feel free to contact the Coalition via our Contact us Page by clicking here.