NH DHHS - NH Competes in National Contest to Help Pregnant Women and New Mothers

New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Aims to

Reach 3,000 Moms with text4baby Program

Concord, NH – In honor of Mother's Day and National Women's Health Week,

the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health

Services announced today its participation in the 2012 Text4baby State

Enrollment Contest, a national competition to enroll pregnant women and new

mothers in the text4baby program. The official launch of the Contest was

announced today as part of a Congressional Briefing in Washington, DC,

which was co-hosted by Senators Ayotte (R-NH), Carper (D-DE), Cochran

(R-MS), and Landrieu (D-LA). The New Hampshire WIC Breastfeeding

Coordinator, Lissa Sirois, also spoke at the Congressional Briefing about

the collaborative work New Hampshire has done to promote text4baby.

Text4baby, the country's first free health education program in the form of

text messages, provides timely tips and expert advice directly to the cell

phones of pregnant women and new moms. Pregnant women and new mothers who

text “BABY” (or “BEBE” for Spanish) to 511411 receive weekly text messages,

timed to their due date or their baby's birth date, through the baby’s

first year. The messages, which have been developed by government and

non-profit health experts such as the Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention and American Academy of Pediatrics, cover nutrition,

immunizations, breastfeeding, and birth defect prevention, among other

health topics.

“The Division of Public Health Services is pleased to partner with the

text4baby initiative to give expectant and new mothers critical information

they need so they can take charge of their health and the health of their

babies,” said Public Health Director, Dr. Jose Montero.

The United States has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the

industrialized world. Each year in the U.S. more than 500,000 babies are

born prematurely and an estimated 28,000 children die before their first

birthday. In response to this national public health crisis, the National

Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) launched text4baby in

partnership with founding sponsor Johnson & Johnson, Voxiva, CTIA-The

Wireless Foundation, Grey Healthcare Group (a WPP company), the nation’s

wireless carriers, and the U.S. government.

In its first two years, text4baby has already reached more than 335,000

users nationwide, including 2,500 users in New Hampshire, thanks to its

unprecedented public–private partnership. By engaging a vast network of

over 775 text4baby Outreach Partners around the country, including fourteen

in New Hampshire, the Contest aims to reach even more women through healthy

competition among the states.

A number of formal evaluations of Text4baby are underway to determine its

impact on the knowledge and behaviors of its users. An early evaluation

conducted in San Diego County, California with interviews and phone surveys

of 160 women indicated that text4baby is increasing user's health

knowledge, facilitating interaction with their health providers, improving

adherence to appointments and immunizations, and improving access to health


The top three states to enroll the most users by population between May 17

and October 22, 2012 will be announced and recognized during the American

Public Health Association Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California in

late October. Last year, New Hampshire won 2nd place in the enrollment

contest. New Hampshire currently leads the nation for total enrollment of

unique users since the launch of the text4baby program on February 2, 2010.

For more information about text4baby, WIC, and the Division of Public

Health Services visit www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/index.htm . For more information

about the national text4baby program visit www.text4baby.org .

Community programs, hospitals, healthcare providers, and new moms are

encouraged to contact the New Hampshire text4baby program for enrollment

posters and brochures. Emails may be sent to text4baby@dhhs.state.nh.us