Alessandra was new to the country with a limited support system. “The Healthy Start Program was essential during my pregnancy and postnatal care,” said the first-time mom. Her Healthy Start Program Care Coordinator, Mara Cunha, assisted her with services and referrals. The pair bonded over shared stories. “She speaks my language and shares my culture.” Both women are originally from Brazil.
With support from Mara, Alessandra was able to quit smoking and attended childbirth education classes at Sarasota Memorial. She attended obstetric visits at the Department of Health’s Women’s Care Clinic downstairs from the Healthy Start Program office. She enjoyed
the care she received there and liked all of the providers. Her husband, Rodulfo, attended many of her visits and was very supportive and involved in her pregnancy.
Rodolfo enjoyed Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s Boot Camp for New Dads. Boot Camp “gave me the opportunity to meet with other fathers and see that I’m not the only one in this new journey. I knew that I was supported and I realized that I’ve got what it takes to be a better person for me and for my family.”
Alessandra continued services after her baby was born, receiving breastfeeding help from Certified Lactation Counselor Jeanie DeLa, a wraparound service provider for the Healthy Start Coalition. Mara credits Alessandra’s success with her positive attitude and grateful outlook on life. The two keep in touch.
Alessandra is grateful for the support she received from Healthy Start. “I just have to thank you guys to let me [be a] part of Healthy Start so I can be a better mom!”