Press Releases

Sen. Carper Announces Text4baby State Enrollment Contest

Free service provides prenatal and postnatal advice to expecting mothers; Delaware 2011 contest winner

May 21 2012

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) announced the launch of the 2012 Text4baby State Enrollment Contest, a national competition to enroll pregnant women and new parents in the text4baby program. From May through October, states and territories will be encouraging moms and dads to sign up for text4baby, the country's first free, health education program in the form of text messages, which provides timely tips and expert advice sent directly to the cell phones of pregnant women and new parents. The top states that enroll the highest percentage of pregnant women, mothers and fathers in the text4baby service during the contest period will be the winners and offered national exposure. Last year, the Delaware Partners of text4baby won first-place in the contest.

"The text4baby program is a proven tool that helps accomplish one of my top health care priorities – helping patients get better health outcomes for less money," said Sen. Carper. "This free and simple tool can help ensure healthier pregnancies and reduce health care costs that stem from a lack of access to important information about prenatal health. Together, text4baby and its partners work to promote better health by helping to provide moms and dads with the information they need to have the healthiest pregnancy and babies possible – that's an idea that we can all applaud. I encourage expecting and new parents in Delaware who have not done so already to utilize this helpful tool and hope the First State can win again in this year's contest."

Throughout the contest, states with the highest text4baby enrollment over seven days will be identified as the weekly winners in text4baby Tuesday. The top three states that have enrolled the most users in text4baby between May 17 and October 22, 2012 will be announced and recognized during the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California in late October.

National organizations that are supporting the State Enrollment Contest include:

  • American Public Health Association
  • Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP)
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • CityMatCH
  • National Healthy Start Association (NHSA)
  • March of Dimes
  • National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)
  • The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
  • National WIC Association
  • Southern Governors' Association

For more information on the enrollment program, please click here.

In honor of National Women's Health Week, U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) hosted a briefing on the text4baby program Thursday, May 17. At the briefing, maternal and child health experts and a text4baby user discussed how increasing access to health care through the innovative use of technology is leading to more affordable health care and better health outcomes for mothers and their newborn children. The panelists highlighted the text4baby program's positive impact on patients' interactions with health providers and improved adherence to appointments and immunizations.

About text4baby

Text4baby is a free text-messaging service that provides prenatal advice and healthy lifestyle tips to expecting mothers and fathers. Pregnant women and new mothers who text "BABY" (or "BEBE" for Spanish) to 511411 receive text messages tailored to the woman's projected due date or baby's birth date. Messages are sent three times a week in English or Spanish until the baby reaches his or her first birthday. The messages, which have been developed by government and non-profit health experts like the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and American Academy of Pediatrics, deal with nutrition, immunization, and birth defect prevention, among other topics.

Comprehensive prenatal health care is critically important in helping to reduce infant mortality rates and in improving the health of mothers and their babies. Unfortunately, many new parents without adequate health insurance or Medicaid cannot afford or easily obtain prenatal care. However, since over 85 percent of Americans own a cell phone and 72 percent use text messaging, text4baby is an effective way to disseminate critical health information to underserved communities.

Text4baby was launched in 2010 by the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. As the first free health text messaging service in the United States, text4baby is working with more than 780 public and private partners, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with the goal of improving prenatal and postnatal health. Text4baby is the largest mobile health initiative in the country and in just over two years has enrolled over 345,000 individuals in the service.

For more information, please visit www.text4baby.org.

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