New York Competes in National Contest to Help Pregnant Women and New Mothers Have Healthy Babies

New York State aims to reach 5,000 moms throughout the state with text4baby text messaging service

Albany, N.Y. (May 10, 2013) – In honor of Mother's Day and National Women's Health Week, State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., announced today New York is participating in the 2013 text4baby State Enrollment Contest, a national competition to enroll pregnant women and new mothers in the text4baby program.

The State Department of Health (DOH) recently teamed up with text4baby, a free texting service that provides new and expectant mothers with important health information to promote good health for their babies.

Women interested in receiving the free text messages can sign up for the service by texting BABY to 511411 (BEBE for Spanish) or enrolling 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 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 prenatal and infant care, and other services and resources.

The states that enroll the highest percentage of pregnant women and mothers in text4baby between May 14, 2013 and Oct. 21, 2013 will be announced and recognized during the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, in early November.

"Text4baby provides an opportunity to expand the way pregnant women and new moms can receive critical maternal and child health information through the use of their cell phones," said Ann-Margret Foley, project coordinator for DOH's First Time Motherhood/New Parents Initiative. "Our goal is to have every pregnant woman and new mom in New York State sign-up for text4baby so they can easily get messages through their cell phones and give their babies the best possible start in life."

Arizbeth Torres, a new mother living in the Bronx recently signed up for text4baby and utilizes the service to get tips on what she should expect from her baby at various stages, as well as information about postpartum depression. "Just getting a text message about postpartum depression helped me feel like I wasn't alone. It's something that a lot of women experience. If you use text4baby, you're going to have a resource at your fingertips to help you understand what to expect during and after pregnancy. I've been using it and it's helped me, so I hope every mother uses it too."

The State Health Department kicked off its efforts to win the contest on April 15th by promoting a text4baby media and marketing campaign. The campaign includes the placement of posters in bus interiors and bus shelters in six high need urban areas in Erie, Monroe, Onondaga, Albany, Westchester, and Bronx counties; and a digital campaign through the DOH's Facebook page that targets 18- to 35-year-old women.

Since the campaign launched three weeks ago,1,610 new participants have enrolled in text4baby in New York State. DOH plans to enhance statewide outreach by disseminating text4baby posters and palm cards to their maternal and infant health state and community-level partners.

Text4baby is 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 governments; corporations; professional organizations; and community-based organizations.

For more information on promoting infant and child health, visit