New York Partners with Free Texting Service to Help Mothers Keep Their Babies Healthy

Messages will offer tips for good health and nutrition

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 26 , 2013) – The State Department of Health (DOH) is teaming up with text4baby, a free texting service that will provide new and expectant mothers with important health information to promote good health for their babies.

"Information is a vital tool for pregnant women and new mothers, and the State Health Department is pleased to offer a new resource to ensure babies have a healthy start in life," said New York State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H. "Text4baby will deliver messages on a range of topics so that mothers can learn about critical care issues such as nutrition and immunizations."

Women interested in receiving the free text messages can sign up for the service by texting BABY to 511411 (BEBE for Spanish) or online at Three free text messages will be delivered each week, timed to the woman's due date or baby's date of birth. The messages focus on a variety of maternal and child health topics, including birth defects prevention, immunization, nutrition, seasonal flu, mental health, oral health, and safe sleep. Text4baby messages also connect women to needed services including prenatal and infant care, and other resources.

Approximately 8 percent of all babies born in New York State are low birthweight, a rate that has remained the same for more than a decade. Improving the health of mothers and babies is one of the priorities in New York State's Prevention Agenda 2013-2017. Among the many goals of the Prevention Agenda, two include reducing the number of pre-term births by at least 12 percent and promoting breastfeeding to improve the health of the infant and mother. One of the interventions cited to achieve these goals is the development of effective health communications and social marketing campaigns that promote healthy behaviors.

DOH will promote text4baby throughout the state in six high need urban areas (Erie, Monroe, Onondaga, Albany, Westchester, and the Bronx). Posters and other marketing materials will be disseminated to entities that work directly with DOH, bus stations, community partners and state agency partners. The text messaging service will also be promoted on the DOH social media sites to new and expectant mothers.

Text4baby is being made available through a broad public-private partnership that includes the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, state and local government, corporations, professional organizations, and community-based organizations.

Additional information about promoting strong infant and child health can be found at:

Prevention Agenda 2013-2017 is available at: