In 2010, the National Healthy Mothers, Health Babies Coalition launched Text4Baby, a free text-messaging service designed to promote healthy birth outcomes among underserved populations. Free, weekly text messages are sent to subscribers with tips on how to have a safe, healthy pregnancy and how to protect the health of babies during their first year of life. The messages have been carefully crafted to improve health literacy and have been vetted by government and nonprofit health organizations including the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics, and March of Dimes. Text4Baby messages deal with nutrition, immunization, and birth defect prevention, among other topics.
Text4Baby is an innovative program and one of the first public health applications of this common communications tool. The de Beaumont Foundation funded Emory University to evaluate the Text4Baby program. The goal of this effort was to measure what percentage of the text messages were actually read or not read, what knowledge was gained, and what behaviors were changed.