About 10% of babies are born prematurely in the United States, at an average cost of $64,815 per delivery and a total societal cost of more than $25 million. This staggering number may be on the rise with disruptions and delays in prenatal care due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To address health inequities and get critical information into the hands of new and expecting parents, Virgin Pulse is relaunching the gold standard Text4baby program.
Text4baby, an interactive text messaging service, has been updated with the latest prenatal and infant care guidelines and food allergy prevention and management information from FARE, the world’s leading non-governmental organization engaged in food allergy advocacy and the largest private funder of food allergy research. The information is clinically validated with medical content reviewed by Harvard Medical School faculty.
Welltok, the consumer activation company, enhanced the Text4baby program to give babies the best possible start in life. Nearly two million new and expecting mothers have benefited from free access to Text4baby over the past decade thanks to public and private partnerships. The millions of messages delivered have had a significant impact:
- 40% increase in flu vaccinations
- 35% fewer missed prenatal appointments
- 65% of users talked to their doctor about a message topic
- Over 90% would recommend to a friend
The U.S. has one of the highest infant mortality rates among industrialized nations which, in part, is caused by a lack of support and trustworthy information. Text4baby is proven to help moms of all races, ethnicities, education and income levels increase their health literacy and actions – ultimately improving birth outcomes. Text4baby educates women every step of the way from early pregnancy through the baby’s first yearwith critical tips, appointment and screening reminders, and more, in English and Spanish.The program is designed to provide specific messages for users with additional needs including high-risk pregnancy and Medicaid-specific resources, as appropriate. A new addition, FARE serves as an expert source on feeding babies peanuts in accordance with recent USDA Dietary Guidelines to prevent peanut allergies, as well as introducing other allergens into a baby’s diet to reduce the risk of developing additional food allergies.
“Early awareness and education are essential to reduce the risk for millions of children with food allergies across the nation,” said Lisa Gable, Chief Executive Officer of FARE. “Programs like Text4baby are an excellent means to get ahead of potentially catastrophic events among our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. It’s educating parents on what food allergies are, the importance of the early introduction of peanut and other allergens for infants and toddlers, their baby’s risk, how to recognize an allergic reaction and where to go for information and resources if babies do develop food allergies.”
“Text4baby is an ideal way to support expecting and new moms across all demographics and increase compliance with recommended screenings and vaccinations,” said Anne Togher, Vice President of Content and Strategy for Welltok. “The feedback on the program is phenomenal, with users calling it a ‘friend,’ an ‘adviser’ and ‘a service that is so priceless.’ And with 90% of text messages read within three minutes, it’s a widely accepted, effective and comfortable channel moms trust.”