Now this is cool! From the White House:
Pregnant women and new mothers will be able to get health information delivered regularly to their mobile phones by text message at no charge under a public service program by a coalition of mobile phone service providers, health professionals, and Federal, State, and Local agencies.
The new program, called text4baby, is a free mobile information service that provides timely health information to women from early pregnancy through their babies’ first year. The service sends important health tips that are timed to the mother’s stage of pregnancy or the baby’s age.
Ninety percent of Americans have a mobile phone and texting is especially prevalent among women of childbearing age and minority populations, who face higher infant mortality rates. 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. The messages focus on topics critical to the health of moms and babies, including, nutrition, seasonal flu prevention and treatment, mental health issues, risks of tobacco use, oral health, immunization schedules, and safe sleep. Text4baby messages also connect women to public clinics and support services for prenatal and infant care.
Currently in the United States more than 500,000 babies – 1 in every 8 – are born prematurely and an estimated 28,000 children die before their first birthday, a rate among the highest in the industrialized world. Premature babies can face lifelong health and intellectual development problems. Medical expenses for babies born prematurely average about ten times those for babies born after a full-term pregnancy. All told, premature births cost the Nation tens of billions of dollars—at least $26.2 billion in 2005, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Getting connected to prenatal care and other services for a healthy pregnancy is a problem for a lot of women,” said Wanda Jones, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Text4baby provides pregnant women and new mothers with a new tool to obtain vital information that is critical to maternal and child health.”
For more information on text4baby, visit text4baby.org
For more information on OSTP, visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ostp