GOLD Perinatal Care Conference News

Text4BabyText messaging offers an opportunity to address health inequalities given that cell phones are nearly ubiquitous in the United States, and text messaging can be used to reach populations at the highest risk for poor health outcomes - low-income and young women, particularly those who identify as Hispanic or African-American. Compared to their older, Caucasian counterparts, young adults, Hispanics, and African-Americans are more likely to own a cell phone, text more frequently, and do most of their online browsing on their mobile device. Among U.S. 18-29 year old cell phone owners, 95% send or receive text messages, and 79% of African Americans and 83% of English-speaking Hispanics text. Furthermore, 99% of all text messages are read and 90% within the first three minutes of receipt.

A service of the nonprofit National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, text4baby is the U.S.’s largest and only free mobile service. The program sends health and safety information to expecting and new moms personalized to their due date or baby’s birth date.

The messages are offered in either English or Spanish and cover prenatal care, breastfeeding, nutrition, baby’s development, safety and more. Many of text4baby’s messages link to mobile pages, videos and health hotlines which connect moms to additional resources. Interactive features, including appointment reminders, quizzes, and opt-in modules allow moms to customize text4baby to their needs.

Text4baby aims to improve maternal and child health outcomes among low-income and traditionally underserved pregnant women and mothers with babies under age one. This free service is the result of a public-private partnership with Founding Sponsor Johnson & Johnson, founding partners Voxiva and The Wireless Foundation, and over 1000 national, state and local organizations including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Pediatrics

Text4baby’s success is demonstrated by internal and external evaluation of the service. Participant feedback shows moms like the service with 94% saying they would refer a friend to text4baby. External evaluations show text4baby is facilitating interaction with health providers, improving adherence to appointments, strengthening access to health services, and participants are significantly more likely to report they are better prepared for motherhood compared to non-participants.

Text4baby is utilizing a popular communications tool to share critical health and safety information. There are a lot of things to remember when you’re pregnant or a new mom. Text4baby makes it easy to get important information – and it’s free. Women can sign up by simply texting BABY (or BEBE for Spanish) to 511411.

Catch the presentation "Texting as a Valuable Tool for Maternal and Child Health" at the GOLD Perinatal Online Conference 2013