A few days ago I got this text message: “Protect your back! Bend your knees when lifting weight (or lifting your toddler) & avoid lifting more than 25 pounds in the 3rd trimester.” Good advice for me - right up until the 3rd trimester part - since well, I’m a guy.
I signed up for Text4Baby, using this year’s e-Patient Connections 2010 conference as my due date. Every few days I receive helpful prenatal advice by text message. The messages are aligned with my due date, so I get timely updates about my health, the baby’s health, things I should be thinking about as an expectant mother, and warning signs I should look out for. The message prompts me to call my doctor if I have any of the symptoms listed.
I’ve just entered the 3rd trimester, which means I’ll start seeing my OB/GYN more frequently - or in my case, starting those weekly conference calls with the conference staffers.
An educational program provided by the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, it is designed to promote the health of mother and child. The program is free to end users and it’s been wildly successful so far. Text4Baby launched in February 2010 and in just 5 months, is reaching over 50,000 expectant parents.
After just 5 months, Text4Baby already reaches over 50,000 expectant parents.
In addition to successfully signing up users, Text4Baby has also amassed an amazing number of partners - including corporate entities, academic institutions, government agencies, professional associations, and non-profit organizations. Sponsors include Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, WellPoint, and BlueCross BlueShield. The program runs on Voxiva’s mobile health platform and free messaging services are provided by participating wireless service providers.
The sheer number of partners and people becoming involved is truly amazing, with hundreds of partners listed on the website and more being added each week. There’s a Text4Baby Partner Portal Community, which runs on the Ning platform, as well as a weekly newsletter called Text4Baby Tuesday. The newsletter highlights organizational news, partner news, and other information. The big story in recent weeks comes from Hillary Clinton about a partnership between the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition and the Healthy Russia Foundation to bring text4baby to Russia. To learn more about Text4Baby going international, click here.
With all the things expectant parents have to worry about, Text4Baby provides an important service by providing support and gentle reminders in digestible chunks. It makes remembering to drink enough water or take your prenatal vitamins easy. Text4Baby is great example of how to encourage healthy behaviors in an easy, fast, and targeted way that actually fits into the whirlwind of daily life. They say it takes a village to raise a child; Text4Baby is proving that we’d like to find that village even before the baby’s born.
To sign up all you need to do is visit the Text4Baby website and click the button that says “click to register” or text the word BABY (or BEBE for Spanish) to 511411.
Arlene Remick, Director of Text4Baby, will present their latest results and mobile health insights at e-Patient Connections 2010 (September 28-29, Philadelphia).