For Immediate Release
May 13, 2010

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

KDHE highlights new mobile health service for pregnant women, new mothers

Text4baby Provides Free Health Tips Via Text Message

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is joining the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health in celebrating National Women’s Health Week May 9 – 15 to call attention to the importance of women’s health.

To coincide with National Women’s Health Week, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) announces a new service available to pregnant women and new moms – text4baby. Text4baby is part of a national campaign from National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) which provides free health information via text messaging.  

Each year in the United States, more than 500,000 babies are born prematurely and an estimated 28,000 children die before their first birthday.  In Kansas 3,873 babies were born premature in 2008 and the number of infant deaths was 303.

“Text4baby provides vital health information to pregnant women and new moms during a critical time of life,” said Roderick Bremby, KDHE Secretary.  “My hope is that more women in Kansas 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.

“Kansas’ infant mortality rates are high compared to other states, especially in regards to minority populations,” said Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, State Health Officer and Director of Health for KDHE. “We hope this program will help reach our Kansas mothers as research shows that 90 percent of Americans have a mobile phone and texting is more prevalent among women of childbearing age and minority populations who face higher infant mortality rates.”

Text4baby is made possible through a broad, public-private partnership which includes the White House Office on Science and Technology Policy, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Voxiva, CTIA-The Wireless Foundation, Grey Healthcare Group (a WPP company) and founding corporate sponsor Johnson & Johnson. 

For more information about the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, visit http://www.hmhb.org/.