People use their cell phones in very different ways, with some relying primarily on voice features while others make use of their phones to stay connected to the Internet. Few would have predicted years ago, however, that cell phones could actually be a powerful tool to help reduce infant mortality rates in the United States.
Unfortunately, the U.S. has a high infant mortality rate for an industrialized nation. Some health centers are beginning to use the text messaging features on cell phones to try to bring that down. A free phones health service for pregnant mothers and new mothers is available from text4baby, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving health outcomes for young children.
The service allows patients to text the word BABY or BEBE to 511411 to sign up. This will set up their phone to receive text messages on a weekly basis. The content of messages is designed to match the stage of pregnancy or infancy involved, so that women receive appropriate information about such issues as prenatal care, postpartum depression, infant nutritional needs, and immunizations, among others.
Pregnant women or new mothers who have little access to health insurance may have few sources of information about issues that can arise during pregnancy or the first year of a baby’s life. Thanks to this program, however, anyone with a cell phone will be able to get vital information that can improve health outcomes for both mother and child.