What expectant or new mom doesn't have health-related questions? Whether you're a stay-at-home mom or planning to go back to work, all moms have questions that range from when to immunize to the most recent child safety sleep recommendations and finding local health care providers. Now Baltimore-area moms, along with moms across the country, won't have to look further than their cell phones for the answer. A new initiative, launched Friday, will help bring answers to some of those burning questions via free text messages.
The Text4Baby program will send three free text messages a week with health information to women from early pregnancy through their babies’ first year. The service sends important health tips that are timed to the mother’s stage of pregnancy or the baby’s age. It will also connect women to public clinics and support services for prenatal and infant care. "Text4baby is the first free mobile health service to be taken to scale in the United States," said Aneesh Chopra, Chief Technology Officer for the U.S. Government.
Text4Baby is an innovative public service program by a coalition of mobile phone service providers, health professionals, and Federal, State, and Local agencies. Among the groundbreaking program's implementation partners is Silver Spring, Maryland-based Danya International. The local company is a communications, research, and technology firm.
The hope is the information provided to moms through text4baby will help mothers take care of their health and give their babies the best possible start in life. "Getting connected to prenatal care and other services for a healthy pregnancy is a problem for a lot of women," said Wanda Jones, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Currently in the United States more than 500,000 babies – 1 in every 8 – are born prematurely and an estimated 28,000 children die before their first birthday, a rate among the highest in the industrialized world. Premature babies can face lifelong health and intellectual development problems. "Text4baby provides pregnant women and new mothers with a new tool to obtain vital information that is critical to maternal and child health," Jones said.
Sign up for the text4baby service by texting "BABY" to 511411 (or "BEBE" for Spanish or go to Text4Baby.org to register.
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