Texting for your baby's health
Did you just find out that you’re pregnant? Are you concerned about your infant’s nutrition? Want quick tips to help you have a healthy pregnancy and healthy first year for your baby? Now expectant or new moms can easily get the information they need through a free service on their cell phones: text4baby.
Text4baby provides timely pregnancy and health tips sent directly to participants’ cell phones in the form of text messages. While 90 percent of people in the U.S. have cell phones, text4baby is the first free, health education program in the country to harness the popularity of texting as a mode of communication.
Pregnant women and new mothers who text "BABY" (or "BEBE" for Spanish) to 511411 receive weekly text messages, timed to their due date or their baby’s birth date through the baby’s first year. The messages, which have been vetted by government and non-profit health experts like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics and March of Dimes, deal with nutrition, immunization and birth defect prevention, among other topics.
"There’s lots of information out there in books, on the Web and being shared by doctors, but what is unique about text4baby is that it brings personal and timely information directly to women three times a week wherever they are at that moment," said Judy Meehan, CEO of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) which administers the program.
In its first year, text4baby is already reaching more than 125,000 women thanks to an unprecedented partnership between the nonprofit HMHB and private sector and government partners including the White House Office on Science and Technology Policy, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), CTIA – The Wireless Foundation and Voxiva. Johnson & Johnson is the program’s founding sponsor.
Now, through a multi-million dollar, multi-year commitment from Johnson & Johnson, text4baby aims to reach 1 million underserved mothers by 2012. New features of the expanded program include increased interactivity, such as quizzes, to reinforce comprehension. There are also more opportunities to gather user feedback in order to better serve moms.
"Pregnancy and motherhood bring a great deal of joy into a woman’s life, but they also bring new and unique responsibilities," said Elizabeth "Betty" T. Jordan, a registered nurse and director of the undergraduate program at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. "Text4baby gives expectant and new mothers critical information they need so they can take charge of their health and the health of their babies in partnership with their care provider during pregnancy and the critical first year of life."
Sample text4baby messages include:
* "Need free or low-cost health care for you & your baby? Your state has programs to help. Call 877-543-7669 to find out if you qualify."
* "Talk to your Dr. about getting a flu shot. Pregnant moms & babies can get very sick from flu. For info call CDC at 800-232-4636."
* "Did you get info from your Dr. on newborn screening tests? If not, ask for it. Your baby will have these tests in the first 48 hours after birth."
Text4baby is an exciting and innovative way for the millions of pregnant women and new moms across the country to get the most important information they need to ensure their child’s healthy development.
If you’re an expectant or new mom or you know one and want to learn more, go to www.text4baby.org.