Giving Young Mothers Healthy Answers

Articles
November 01, 2010

Giving Young Mothers Healthy Answers

Earlier this month, the USDA announced its partnership with the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition to provide free mobile health information through the text4baby initiative to pregnant women and new moms, including participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

Earlier this month, the USDA announced its partnership with the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition to provide free mobile health information through the text4baby initiative to pregnant women and new moms, including participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

It’s a great first step in providing information, but it falls short of truly educating these pregnant women and new moms as to how to keep healthy and raise healthy children by not providing answers to these women’s own personal questions.

The Lempert Report believes taking this program a step – or two – further will allow these women and their children a truly good head start to nutrition and health. 

Text4baby uses text messaging to deliver timely information during pregnancy and through baby’s first year, but it does not allow women to pose personal questions or find places with firsthand information or one-on-one care.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service distributed text4baby information to regional, state and local WIC offices, and promoted the program to those who are working directly with mothers and families in local communities across the country.

Women who sign up for the service receive free SMS text messages each week, personalized to a pregnant woman’s due date or baby’s date of birth, but could also receive important personal information by filling out a basic health profile. With a few additional details, these mothers could find access to local workshops at supermarkets focused on programs personal to them. While texting out information on proper nutrition to breastfeeding information, texts could also include the address of a local supermarket giving diabetes nutritional advice for at-risk moms or vitamin advice for new moms-to-be. 

Since many of these mothers don’t have access to health care, text4baby could also supply regional WIC recipients with locations of low-cost cooking classes and infant formula sessions with supermarket dietitians. Now, that’s information and care that really provides a healthy start.