Health

Texting for Healthy Babies

San Diego County leaders announced new partnerships today with text4baby, the Alliance Healthcare Foundation, Council of Community Clinics and First Five San Diego to expand the reach of text4baby, the nation’s leading mobile health information service for pregnant women and new moms.

Officials also announced a state-wide text4baby immunization reminder to promote childhood immunizations in California.

“Research on text4baby has shown that this free service helps new mothers raise healthy babies,” said Chairman Greg Cox, County Board of Supervisors. “Providing this service to San Diego moms ensures we are doing our part to provide them with vital health and safety information.”

Text4baby is a free service that delivers three text messages per week through pregnancy and the baby’s first year. Since 2010, text4baby has sent more than 800,000 health tips to 6,300 new and expectant San Diego County mothers. Under the new partnerships, First 5 San Diego will include text4baby materials in the San Diego County New Parent Kits. The Council of Community Clinics will integrate text4baby into its perinatal services. 2-1-1 San Diego also enrolls moms in the program.

“As a result of these new partnerships to increase participation in text4baby, more moms in San Diego County will have a powerful resource to help them keep their kids healthy and safe,” said Nick Macchione, Director of the County Health and Human Services Agency.

Of the more than 44,000 babies born in 2011 in San Diego County, 9.4 percent were preterm births, nearly 17 percent received late or no prenatal care and 6.5 percent were born at low birth weight. The 2011 San Diego County Report Card on Children & Families reported that in 2009 local child immunization rates dropped below the national goal of 80 percent to 77 percent of children who completed the basic immunization series by age 3.

Results from a year-long evaluation by California State University San Marcos and University of California, San Diego documented that text4baby increased users’ health knowledge, communication with health providers, and reminded participants of important milestones like appointments and immunization dates.          

José A. Álvarez is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact