A partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services and Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies has already led to an increase in the number of people participating in text4baby, a free health text messaging service for pregnant women and new moms.

In September, information about text4baby was sent to pregnant Montana women receiving Medicaid benefits, urging them to sign up for the service. As a result, a spike of several hundred people signing up for the program occurred.

The service began in 2010 and messages promote healthy eating, car seat safety, exercise and fitness, safe sleep, smoking cessation, prenatal care, labor and delivery, and breast-feeding. Messages are timed to a woman’s due date and provide contact information for resources where she can learn more about different issues.

“Those who sign up receive three free text messages each week with tips and the latest health information to help both mom and baby. Even people who don’t have a text messaging plan can still get the messages for free,” said Melissa Synness, executive director for HMHB-Montana.

To join the roughly 2,500 Montana women who use the service, text BABY to 511411 or visit text4baby.org. After birth, text UPDATE to 511411 along with the baby’s birth date to receive messages through the baby’s first birthday.

Reporter Alice Miller can be reached at 523-5251 or at alice.miller@missoulian.com.

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