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Text4baby: It’s for you, Mom!

Over the past 10 months, more than 115,000 pregnant and new mothers have taken an important step to improve their health and the health of their babies. They’re subscribing to”text4baby,“ a free text-messaging service from the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition.  Women who sign up for the service by texting BABY (or BEBE in Spanish) to the number 511411 receive free text messages each week that are timed to their due date or their baby’s date of birth.

Recent findings suggest that babies who were deprived of healthy nutrition before birth have an increased risk of being overweight, so just like the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Campaign to solve the problem of childhood obesity, the “text4baby” program has the same goals.  It underscores the importance of providing pregnant women with the information they need to give their babies a strong start in life.

Text messages give moms important reminders about doctor’s appointments and vaccines; share tips on nutrition, sleep, and other important topics; and provide referrals to prenatal and infant services.

The “text4baby” program is based on an unprecedented partnership that includes more than 400 organizations from the private and public sectors. It is also a model employed by Let’s Move!, which uses community partnerships to reach families in their own neighborhoods. Programs through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – such as Early Head Start and Federally Qualified Community Health Centers and the Medicaid CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) – are actively promoting “text4baby,” as are other state- and community-based organizations.

By reaching out through national partnerships to statewide teams and community-based organizations and leaders, “text4baby” is putting important health information in the hands of those who need it most.  The Office on Women’s Health has been a proud partner of the program since its “conception” in 2009. We continue to be its ambassador and strive to help the program reach one million users by the end of 2012.