Expectant mothers have a new number to learn, and it's not the amount of folic acid they should be getting or the number of miles between their house and the closest hospital. It's 511411, the number for text4baby, a free SMS messaging service providing pregnancy advice and other health tips.
New moms and moms-to-be can sign up for the helpful messages by texting BABY, for English, or BEBE, for Spanish, to 511411. In addition to general pregnancy and infant-care advice, like tips for safe sleep practices, subscribers receive reminders timed to their due dates and even information about resources in their communities. They may also receive helpful public service announcements—text4baby sent out a special notice when children's formula medications were recalled earlier this spring.
The service also sends users phone numbers for local clinics as well as national hotlines. The National Hispanic Prenatal Helpline (800-504-7081) and the National Hunger Hotline (866-348-6479) say they've been receiving more calls because of text4baby as well.
Text4baby has been around since February of 2010. Since then, over 36,000 mothers have signed up and over one million texts have been sent! The Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition nonprofit organizes and produces text4baby, in conjunction with the U.S. government, tribal associations, corporate partners, and others.