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October 25th, 2012
11:33 AM ET

Actress Melissa Joan Hart balances acting with motherhood, talks about work promoting prenatal care

Melissa Joan Hart is known for her TV personalities, playing a PG version of Carrie Bradshaw in “Clarissa Explains it All” and a 16-year-old who finds out she has magical powers in “Sabrina, The Teenage Witch”. She’s now starring in the ABC Family series “Melissa and Joey”, where her character hires a male nanny, played by fellow '90s television heartthrob Joey Lawrence, to look after the niece and nephew she’s in charge of raising.

Off-screen, Hart’s own family and career continues to grow. She just gave birth to her third son with husband Mark Wilkerson, and is now partnering with Merck and their “Once Upon a Birth” campaign. Hart comes to “Starting Point” to explain it all.

Hart was only a teenager while filming “Clarissa Explains It All”.

“That’s 20 years ago,” Hart says, “long time ago.” She was balancing high school, the show in Orlando, and her family back home in New York. She’s pulling much the same weight now, managing her family in Connecticut and shooting “Melissa and Joey” in Los Angeles, a show she also executive produces. She was also an executive producer on in “Sabrina, The Teenage Witch”.  

“You get to have some fun,” she says about the benefits of producing to playing the lead actress. “You get to have some creative control,” like working with the talent of your choice. “So I really enjoy that.”

A mother to three healthy kids, Hart’s paid partnership with Merck is rooted in her wish to empower women with more access to prenatal care. Her own birth story is on Merck for Mothers’ Facebook page as a part of its “Once Upon a Birth” initiative.

“For every story shared, they will make a donation to Join My Village,” an empowerment program for women around the world, Hart says, “because 800 women die everyday in child birth.” Hart feels blessed to have proper healthcare and healthy children.

“Anything related to mothers and babies is where my heart is,” Hart says.

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