Text4Baby to Provide Free Health Tips for Expecting Moms

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Major cellular carriers such as Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T are partnering with the US Chief Technology Officer, Aneesh Chopra, and The National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) to bring a free mobile information service called Text4Baby to provide timely health information to expectant and new moms.

According to a recent report issued by PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research that discussed the top ten health industry issues in 2010, delivering health information via text messaging is an up-and-coming trend for healthcare providers to reach patients who are most in need of monitoring. It is estimated that 90% of Americans have mobile phones.

Because of recent reports that the infant mortality rate in the United States is rising, expectant mothers are an excellent target audience for this type of monitoring. Each year, more than 500,000 infants are born prematurely, and an estimated 28,000 babies die before their first birthday. Key predictors of a child’s’ chance for survival are birth weight and gestational age.

“Text4Baby is the first free mobile health service to be taken to scale in the United States,” said Chopra. “We know that mobile phones hold tremendous potential to inform and empower individuals. Text4baby represents an extraordinary opportunity to expand the way we use our phones, to demonstrate the potential of mobile health technology, and make a real difference for moms and babies across the country.”

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Women can sign up for the service by texting “BABY” to 511411 (or “BEBE” in Spanish) to receive three free SMS text messages each week timed to their due date or baby’s date of birth. The messages focus on a variety of topics critical to maternal and child health, including birth defect prevention, immunization, nutrition, seasonal flu, mental health, oral health, and safe sleep. The service will be provided throughout the first year of baby’s life.

Women will also be connected to prenatal and infant care services and other resources through their cellular phone.

The HMHB is a coalition that promotes optimal health for mothers and babies and works to strengthen families and build healthy communities. It acts as a catalyst for creating change by creating partnerships among community groups, nonprofit organizations, professional associations, businesses and government agencies.

Among the additional sponsors of the Text4Baby program are founding corporate sponsor Johnson and Johnson, Voxiva, CTIA-The Wireless Foundation, The Grey Healthcare Group (a WPP company, WellPoint, Pfizer and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield

For more information about the program, visit www.text4baby.org.

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