Pregnancy & Motherhood: Tips in Your Back Pocket

There's a lot to remember when you're pregnant or a new mom — not just doctor appointments (though there are LOTS of them), but things like which medications to avoid during pregnancy or breastfeeding, how and when to introduce solid food to baby, and when you and baby need tests and vaccinations. New issues seem to come out of nowhere, and all of a sudden you're adding Zika to the list of things you need to learn more about.

Text4babyEnter Text4baby.

Text4baby offers pregnant women and new moms the health information and tips they need most, delivered right to the trusty device in their back pocket — their cell phone.

Here's how it works: Text the word BABY to 511411 (or BEBE for messages in Spanish), answer a few short prompts including your due date or baby's birth date, and reminders and useful info — timed to your pregnancy or baby's age — pop up on your screen three times a week. Thanks to the CTIA Wireless Foundation, these messages are free (and don't count toward your totals if you have a texting limit).

Super pregnant and anxiously awaiting the arrival of my first child, this message appeared on my phone:

  • text4baby: Help protect your baby from illnesses like the flu. Breastfeed right after baby is born. Your milk can help fight disease & protect your baby. Have questions or concerns about breastfeeding? Call 800-994-9662 for help during pregnancy and once you start nursing baby.

Overwhelmed by the responsibility of sustaining another human being and the decisions that come with it, this reminder tipped the scales in favor of attempting to breastfeed when the time came — which it did just days later.

As my due date approached with my second child, this text spoke to me:

  • text4baby: Are you really in labor? Real labor won't stop when you lie down or walk around. In real labor, the pains get worse & happen more often. For more information on the signs of labor, visit text4baby.org/002.

Though it wasn't my first rodeo, it's amazing how much you can forget between pregnancies — and how different they can feel. A click on the link and a stroll around the block later, I calmed down and knew it wasn't quite go time yet.

You too can be in the know during pregnancy and baby's first year (like more than 1 million moms before you) by sending a simple, four-letter text. Here's what Text4baby can do for you:

  • Provide high-quality health info. Text4baby messages are reviewed by top women's health experts, including those at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and more.
  • Remind. Remind. Remind. Text4baby offers text message reminders about doctor appointments for you and your baby, as well as info on what to expect (shots, tests, etc.) at those appointments. You'll also get reminders and information on open enrollment for Medicaid and other health insurance subsidies, flu shot reminders, and more.
  • Ease your mind. Concerned about recalls, guidelines, and outbreaks? Text4baby sends messages on those, too. Product recalls, guideline changes on products like car seats, and diseases like whooping cough and Zika.
  • Connect. Text4baby connects you with resources (local and national) when you need them most. Resources include help for quitting smoking, substance abuse, postpartum depression, finding childcare, domestic violence, health insurance, and more.

As we celebrate National Breastfeeding Month, Text4baby offers a valuable way for expecting and new moms to learn about breastfeeding, including resources and guidance for moms who choose that path. (Don't worry — if you formula feed, Text4baby has lots to offer you, too!)

For more information on Text4baby, visit www.text4baby.org. Have questions? Please contact us at info@text4baby.org. Sign up by texting BABY to 511411 (or BEBE for Spanish), and be sure to check out our newly updated, FREE Text4baby app in the Google Play and iTunes stores.

The statements and opinions in this blog post are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health.