Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Text4Baby Program Can Help Maryland Mothers

Have you heard about the service text4baby? Last week was the program’s one year anniversary, marking a full year of sending informative free text messages to women who are pregnant or have a baby less than a year old. Founded by the The National Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition, this text service sends free messages to women with information and reminders to improve the health of both mother and child. Over 135,000 women have signed up, receiving a wealth of information from what to expect with mood swings to how to care for a newborn. Signing up for text4baby is easy, simply send a text message to 511411 with the word BABY or BEBE for messages in Spanish.

Here’s a few worrisome facts:
• In 2009 the Maryland the infant mortality rate was 7.2 per 1000 live births, and the rate among African American women,13.6 per 100 live births, is even more concerning.
• Over 25% of infant mortality deaths in the state of Maryland are due to a low birth weight.
• Health risks such as a late start to pre-natal care can increase infant mortality by 40%.

Although the infant mortality rate is falling in the state, many Maryland women would clearly benefit from the text4baby program’s care services and support to expecting women. For example, they could receive information on the importance of proper prenatal care, which can prevent low birth weight. With over 90 percent of Americans owning a mobile phone, and over a third of impoverished households, the text4baby’s program puts a potentially life saving message right in to a woman’s hands. Many low-income women are without access to pregnancy health care information, and just having up to date basic knowledge can do wonders for a baby’s development.

A program like text4baby is an innovative way to get valuable information to pregnant women. Savvy initiatives like this play a crucial role in ensuring more, and hopefully all, Maryland mothers can have healthy pregnancies and babies. Help us spread the word about the fantastic program by sharing this blog on your facebook or twitter!

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