July 13, 2010
Text4baby is a free mobile information service providing text messages with timely health information to pregnant women and new moms from pregnancy through a baby’s first year. “Our hope is that these reminders will encourage healthy actions and behaviors, reducing the risk for premature births and promote a healthy baby’s first year,” said Anne Matics, RNC, MS, project education specialist. Nurses and patient care staff at the CAMC Women’s Medicine Center are encouraging expectant moms to sign up for the free service at their first visit. Women who sign up for the service by texting “BABY” to 511411 (or “BEBE” for Spanish) receive three free SMS text messages each week timed to their due date or baby’s date of birth. These messages focus on a variety of topics critical to maternal and child health, including birth defects prevention, immunization, nutrition, seasonal flu, mental health, oral health and safe sleep. Text4baby messages also connect women to prenatal and infant care services and other resources. An educational program of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, text4baby delivers timely health tips via text message to those who need it most. Each year in the U.S., more than 500,000 babies are born prematurely and an estimated 28,000 children die before their first birthday—signifying a public health crisis. The infant mortality rate in the U.S. is one of the highest in the industrialized world, and for the first time since the 1950s, that rate is on the rise. “Our goal is to provide risk reduction education and services to promote healthy pregnancies and births,” said Beverly Thornton, RN, BA, project coordinator. Research shows that while 90 percent of Americans have a mobile phone, fewer have access to the Internet and texting is more prevalent among women of childbearing age. Texting (especially free texting) is a nationally growing movement to reach the underserved. “The staff at Women and Children’s Hospital is pleased that free, healthy reminders will be delivered weekly to the mother-to-be, not just when they have appointments once a month,” said Matics. The text4baby wireless carriers are voluntarily providing the critical communications link of the initiative, distributing text messages to recipients at no charge. For more information about text4baby, visit www.text4baby.com. For more information about programs and services offered at the Women’s Medicine Center, call (304) 388-2427.

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