Three years ago, The Wireless Foundation, CTIA and a number of its members joined the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) to launch text4baby, a free mobile educational service designed to promote the birth of healthy babies, particularly those in underserved populations.
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. In addition, one of the leading causes of infant mortality is prematurity. Key predictors of a child’s chances for survival are birth weight and gestational age. Signifying a public health crisis, more than 500,000 babies are born prematurely and an estimated 28,000 children die before their first birthday in the U.S.
In the three short years of the program, it’s shown fantastic results.
- In the first month, there were more than 25,000 expecting or new moms who signed up.
- 95% of users who responded to a survey said they would refer text4baby to a friend and rated the helpfulness of the service as a 7.8 out of 10.
- 74% of the total respondents who participated in the California State University San Marcos National Latino Research Center and University of San Diego (CSUSM/UCSD) evaluation reported text4baby messages informed them of medical warning signs they did not know.
- 67% of total respondents who participated in the CSUSM/UCSD evaluation reported they talked to their doctor about a topic they read on a text4baby message and 40% reported they called a number for a service they received from text4baby, with a higher percentage of uninsured respondents reporting they called a service number.
By texting BABY to 511411 (or BEBE for Spanish), a woman will be signed up to receive three free text messages each week that are timed to her 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 text messages also connect women to prenatal and infant care services and other resources. Expectant or new mothers who opt-in to receive these text messages will incur no charges.
Watch former U.S. CTO Aneesh Chopra talk about the innovative text4baby program at 2010 CTIA Show.