become outreach partners to promote OB health
Clearwater Valley and St. Mary’s Hospitals are two of seven health care entities in the state of Idaho who have become Outreach Partners with the national Text4Baby program. The program, designed by the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, sends free specially designed educational text messages to moms during their pregnancy and to parents during their baby’s first year.
Approximately three text length messages are sent per week to anyone enrolled in the program. Each is designed either for the particular stage of pregnancy or for the developmental stage of the infant. When a user enrolls she is prompted to list either her due date or the date of the baby’s birth so the messages coincide with the month of pregnancy or the baby’s stage of development.
“St Mary’s and Clearwater Valley Hospitals are interested in doing all we can in our OB programs to promote a healthy pregnancy and first year of life so we signed up as partners with this new program. We will be enrolling anyone interested when they take our childbirth education classes or during their prenatal appointments,” said Sr. Janet Barnard, SMHC/CVHC Mission Director. “We’ll also be getting the word out to childbearing women in our area so they can enroll on their own if they’d like”
According to Barnard, registration is easy and can be done online or from a person’s cell phone. “Use your cell phone to text the word ‘BABY’ to 511411. You’ll be prompted to enter your due date or your baby’s birthday and zip code,” said Barnard. “Even family members or friends can enroll to receive the messages and act as a support system for the parents. Once the baby is born mom can text in her baby’s birthdate and the messages will convert from OB health to baby’s health during their first year of life.”
According to the website, www.text4baby.org, not all mobile carriers are participating, but over 96% of people with cell phones have a service that will cover the text messages at no charge. The carriers have agreed to waive the standard text messaging fees for text4baby users through the end of 2013.
Text message topics include information on prenatal and infant nutrition, breast feeding, immunizations, safety and other subjects. The messages end with toll free numbers where users can get help with things like quitting smoking or buying an inexpensive crib.
Text4Baby has enrolled 170,000 users and has a goal of enrolling one million users by December, 2012.
“Our OB departments continue to give personal care to each family during this special time of their life, but we also don’t hesitate to use modern technology if it helps the mom and baby,” said Barnard.
The physicians at both SMH and CVH usually deliver about 60 babies per year in the homelike birthing suites. Both facilities offer free childbirth education classes. The doctors are also trained and can provide Caesarean sections, when necessary.
“We treat each baby as truly a special delivery; although our service is personal we also have modern equipment and outside resources available, if needed,” said Barnard who is also a registered nurse with OB experience.