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Text4Baby Provides Health Tips to Thousands of New Moms in San Diego

October 13, 2011 (San Diego) -- Today, text4baby announced that over 2,000 new San Diego parents have signed up for its free text messaging service that provides vital pre- and postnatal information. Text4baby’s remarkable success is evident nationwide, with over 200,000 new parents enrolled in the free program since its launch in February 2010.

Text4baby provides timely and expert SMS text messages, which contain valuable health information and resources to parents throughout their pregnancy and the first year of their baby’s life.
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.

“This opportunity to reach women with important information using technology that they are already comfortable with, has tremendous potential to impact health outcomes,” said Barbara Mandel, Executive Director of text4Baby and the San Diego County Medical Society Foundation.

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—indicating a public health crisis.  The infant mortality rate in the U.S. is one of the highest in the industrialized world; for the first time since the 1950s, that rate is on the rise.

“Mobile health services around the world have demonstrated the ability to help change patient behavior and improve health outcomes. We believe that this program can have a significant impact on maternal and child health in San Diego, and across the country,” said Mandel.

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.“By putting key health information directly into the hands of pregnant women and new moms, text4baby demonstrates the tremendous reach of mobile health technology and the ability of mobile phones to inform and engage people to help them live healthier lives,” said Paul Meyer, Chairman and President of Voxiva, the mobile health platform provider.  “These same tools can be applied to many of America’s big health care challenges.”

Text4baby wireless carriers are voluntarily providing the vital communications link of the initiative, distributing text messages to recipients at no charge.  Participating carriers include Alltel, AT&T, Cellular South, Cellcom, Centennial Cellular, Cincinnati Bell, Metro PCS, N-Telos, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon and Virgin Mobile.

“We believe programs like text4baby are critical to providing much-needed information and support to pregnant women and new moms, especially among underserved populations,” said Brian D. Perkins, Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Johnson & Johnson, text4baby’s founding sponsor.

Text4baby is made possible through an unprecedented 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.  Premier sponsors include First 5 San Diego, WellPoint, Pfizer and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield.  Implementation partners include BabyCenter, Danya International, Syniverse Technologies, Keynote Systems and The George Washington University.
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.