Free Texting Program for Expectant Moms Continues to Grow

Most of the patients Dr. Michele Wylen sees are low-income women, many of whom are on Medicaid or have no health insurance. She is an advocate for reliable tools that would better inform her patients, even if it’s outside of her office. So Dr. Wylen and the county health department embraced the text4baby program when it launched early last year.

The free text messaging service keeps her patients informed about their pregnancy and the first year of motherhood through simple text messages sent out regularly, tailored to the mother’s due date or the age of the infant.

"Patients may not understand everything, but they can ask about it," she said in an interview. "It’s a springboard for patients to ask questions.

"And what’s compelling is that everyone, at least most people, have access to a cell phone," she said. "And this is a great way to disseminate information."

In an era that some researchers call the "Wild West" of social media, this simple texting program that targets pregnant women and new moms, especially those who are lower income and have less access to health care services, is showing promise. Most researchers and industry experts agree that the program is the first of its kind in the United States to reach such a wide audience of women in a significant and delicate stage of their lives.

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