DPHHS, Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Partner To Raise Awareness About Text4baby
The Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) and Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies (HMHB) are partnering to raise awareness about text4baby, a free health text messaging service for pregnant women and new moms.
Montana First Lady Lisa Bullock, a mother of three, says this service provides invaluable information and urges all Montana women to sign up. “I know from personal experience that the more knowledge I have at every stage of my kids’ lives, the better equipped I am as a mother to ensure they are healthy and happy,” she said. “That’s why increasing awareness for this incredibly helpful program is so important.”
DPHHS Director Richard Opper said the state health department supports text4baby prevention messages and the communication tool being used. “Using text messages to reach out is a great way to get valuable information to people in a timely fashion,” he said.
In September, DPHHS and HMHB sent information about text4baby to pregnant women receiving Medicaid benefits in Montana urging them to sign up for this free service. The mailing produced an immediate spike in text4baby participation statewide with several hundred more people signing up for the program.
According to HMHB-Montana Executive Director Melissa Synness, the text messages promote healthy eating, car seat safety, exercise and fitness, safe sleep, quit smoking, prenatal care, labor and delivery and breastfeeding. The text messages are timed to a pregnant woman’s due date and provide 1-800 numbers and other resources to learn more.
“Those who sign up receive three free text messages each week with tips and the latest health information to help both mom and baby,” Synness said. “Even people who don’t have a text messaging plan can still get the messages for free.”
To sign up for the service, an individual can text BABY to 511411 or visit http://www.text4baby.org. Then, enter the baby’s due date or the baby’s birthday and zip code. Then, the free text messages are timed to the women’s due date or the baby’s birth date. “Once you have your baby, be sure to text UPDATE to 511411 with your baby’s birthday so you keep getting messages until your baby’s first birthday,” Synness said. “If you want to stop receiving messages at any time, text STOP to 511411. Enroll today!”
Since text4baby was launched in February 2010, the service has connected over 600,000 pregnant women and new moms to vital health and safety information nationwide. Currently in Montana there are about 2,500 text4baby users.
This service is an education campaign of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition that works with a broad range of partners to encourage the women they reach to take advantage of this free service. The messages are developed by the National Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies in collaboration with federal partners, physicians, nurses and national medical organizations. Text messages are available in both English and Spanish.