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Healthy Pregnancy? SCKMC Has an App for That

September 14, 2015

South Central Kansas Medical Center has partnered with text4baby – the first free texting service to provide health information to pregnant women and new moms starting with early pregnancy through a baby’s first year.

Arkansas City, KS – South Central Kansas Medical Center has partnered with text4baby – the first free texting service to provide health information to pregnant women and new moms starting with early pregnancy through a baby’s first year.

SCKMC promotes text4baby on its website, and facebook page, as well as directly to expectant mothers during hospital birthing center tours and childbirth education classes.

“Every woman deserves access to information that will help her give her baby the best possible chance at a healthy start in life,” said Judy Meehan, CEO, National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. “It’s partners like South Central Kansas Medical Center that are making it possible for text4baby to deliver health messages to those who need them most.”

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, safe sleep, and more.

“The greatest potential benefit (of using Text4baby) is having a healthier pregnancy and healthier baby. My hope is that by using this service, women are empowered to improve their own health and the health of their families,” said Darci Hiten, Registered Nurse and Childbirth Education Coordinator at SCKMC.

Dozens of federal agencies, national, state, and local organizations provided input into the content development. In addition to health information, Text4baby messages also connect women to prenatal and infant care services and other resources.

“Nothing can replace the prenatal care provided by your doctor,” Hiten said. “But the mom's who use this service tend to ask more relevant questions and feel more confident participating in their own care. Plus text reminders mean less missed doctor appointments too.”

According to the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, 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. 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.

SCKMC and Text4baby are trying to reduce the infant mortality rate by educating more pregnant women and new mothers directly. Research shows over 85% of Americans own a cell phone and 72% of cell users send or receive text messages. The majority but not all mobile carriers are providing this service. Text4baby is available to over 96% of people with cell phones in the U.S.

“Mom's can get correct information about what's important to them just by doing something they're probably already doing, reading a text message. By getting little bits of information at the appropriate times, mom's gain knowledge without feeling bombarded with 'information overload',” Hiten said.

Text4baby is made possible through a broad, public-private partnership that includes government, corporations, academic institutions, professional associations, non-profit organizations, and more. More information about text4baby can be found at https://www.text4baby.org. For additional information about South Central Kansas Medical Center’s childbirth education classes or other birthing services call (620) 442-2500.