PPNC Links Pregnant Women, New Mothers With Mobile Health Service

Text4baby Provides Free Health Tips Via Text Message

Contacts

Kate Bernhard, Community Affairs Associate
Phone: 516-750-2661
Fax: 516-483-3592
E-mail: kate.bernhard@ppnc.org


Published: 05.20.10| Updated: 05.20.10

Hempstead, NY—Planned Parenthood of Nassau County (PPNC) is encouraging all pregnant women and new mothers to sign up for text4baby – a new, free mobile information service providing timely health information to pregnant women and new moms from pregnancy through baby’s first year.  

Each year in the U.S., more than 500,000 babies are born prematurely and an estimated 28,000 children die before their first birthday—signifying a public health crisis.  The infant mortality rate in the U.S. is one of the highest in the industrialized world, and for the first time since the 1950s, that rate is on the rise.

An educational program of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB), text4baby delivers timely health tips via text message to those who need it most.  It is made possible through a broad, public-private partnership which includes the White House Office on Science and Technology Policy, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Voxiva, CTIA-The Wireless Foundation, Grey Healthcare Group (a WPP company) and founding corporate sponsor Johnson & Johnson. 

“Text4baby provides vital health information to pregnant women and new moms during a critical time of life,” said JoAnn D. Smith, PPNC President & CEO.  “Our hope is that more women in our community will take advantage of this free resource to help them better care for their health and the health of their children.”

Women who sign up for the service by texting BABY to 511411 (or BEBE for Spanish) receive three free SMS text messages each week timed to their due date or baby’s date of birth.  These messages focus on a variety of topics critical to maternal and child health, including birth defects prevention, immunization, nutrition, seasonal flu, mental health, oral health and safe sleep.  Text4baby messages also connect women to prenatal and infant care services and other resources.

Additional sponsors include Wellpoint, Pfizer and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield and wireless carriers are distributing text messages at no charge to recipients.  Implementation partners include BabyCenter, Danya International, Syniverse Technologies, Keynote Systems and The George Washington University, which will coordinate a thorough evaluation of the program to measure its effectiveness.  MTV Networks is a media sponsor.

Research shows that while 90 percent of Americans have a mobile phone fewer have access to the Internet, and texting is more prevalent among women of childbearing age and minority populations who face higher infant mortality rates.

“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. “We know that mobile phones hold tremendous potential to inform and empower individuals,” said Chopra. “Text4baby represents an extraordinary opportunity to expand the way we use our phones, to demonstrate the potential of mobile health technology, and make a real difference for moms and babies across the country.”

About the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition

The National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) is the only coalition of its kind which acts as a catalyst for change by creating partnerships among community groups, nonprofit organizations, professional associations, businesses and government agencies. The Coalition promotes optimal health for mothers and babies, and works to strengthen families and build healthy communities.

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Planned Parenthood of Nassau County (PPNC) is one of 89 affiliates of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and operates 3 health centers in Nassau County. In 2009, PPNC provided services to more than 13,000 patients during 26,000 visits. We conducted education workshops and street outreach to 32,000 teens and families, and mobilized approximately 5,500 advocates to protect reproductive health care rights.  PPNC has served the community for 77 years, and is dedicated to educating and empowering individuals to make responsible choices regarding their sexuality and sexual health. For more information about PPNC’s services and programs, visit www.ppnc.org.

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