LGMC Partners with Text4Baby to Improve Prenatal and Infant Care

7/19/2011

LAFAYETTE- Lafayette General Medical Center is the first medical facility in Louisiana to partner withText4Baby – the first FREE texting service to provide health information to pregnant women and new moms from pregnancy through a baby's first year.

As an outreach partner, Lafayette General will promote Text4Baby to mothers-to-be through the hospital's web site, social media, handouts in the Pavilion admit packet and outreach to physicians' offices. The hospital joins the Louisiana Office of Public Health, Maternal and Child Health, in promoting this innovative program.

"Despite decades of public health outreach and education, infant mortality rates in Louisiana remain unacceptably high at 9-10 deaths per 1000 live births,” stated Robert Maupin, MD, Louisiana OPH Maternity Program Medical Director. "While many factors cause these negative outcomes, including health care access, poverty, and negative health behaviors, clinical evidence indicates that increasing a mother's knowledge about prenatal care can improve health and birth outcomes for mother and baby.”

Women who sign up for the service by texting "BABY” to 511411 (or "BEBE” for Spanish) receive three FREE SMS text messages each week timed to their due date or baby's date of birth. These messages focus on a variety of topics critical to maternal and child health, including birth defects prevention, immunization, nutrition, seasonal flu, mental health, oral health, safe sleep, and more. Text4baby messages also connect women to prenatal and infant care services and other resources.

"I think this is a great resource for moms,” said Jennifer Pugliese, Obstetrics/ Gynecology, LGMC. "Practically everyone has a cell phone, so this is a great way to target a wide range of women- especially those who aren't reading the books or who don't have easy access to the Internet.”

To help more pregnant women and new moms get information about caring for their health, the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) launched text4baby with Johnson & Johnson as the founding sponsor. This free texting service supports moms by providing accurate, text-length health information and resources in a format that is personal and timely, using a channel she knows and uses. Over 85% of Americans own a cell phone and 72% of cell phone users send or receive text messages. 

"Every woman deserves access to information that will help her give her baby the best possible chance at a healthy start in life,” said Judy Meehan, CEO, National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. "It's partners like Lafayette General that are making it possible for text4baby to deliver health messages to those who need them most.”

"At Lafayette General, our mission is to improve, maintain and restore the health of the people in the communities we serve. Through partnering with text4baby, we hope to make a difference in improving proper development of babies in the womb in order to decrease the number of babies born prematurely here in Acadiana,” said David Callecod, president and CEO, LGMC.

Text4baby is made possible through a broad, public-private partnership that includes government, corporations, academic institutions, professional associations, non-profit organizations, and more. Founding partners include National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, Voxiva, CTIA - The Wireless Foundation, and Grey Healthcare Group (a WPP company) and text4baby's Founding Sponsor, Johnson & Johnson. Federal government partners include the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Defense Military Health System, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Free messaging services are generously provided by participating mobile operators, including Alltel, Assurance Wireless, AT&T, Bluegrass Cellular, Boost Mobile, Cellular South, Cellcom, Centennial Cellular, Cincinnati Bell, Cricket, Metro PCS, nTelos, Nex-Tech Wireless, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon Wireless, and Virgin Mobile USA.

Look for more information about Text4baby on Lafayette General's website, http://www.lafayettegeneral.com/, Facebook page, www.Facebook.com/LafayetteGeneral, and Twitter page, www.Twitter.com/LafGeneral, as well as the text4baby organization website, http://www.text4baby.org/.

About the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition

The National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) is the only coalition of its kind, which acts as a catalyst for change by creating partnerships among community groups, nonprofit organizations, professional associations, businesses and government agencies. The Coalition promotes optimal health for mothers and babies, and works to strengthen families and build healthy communities.

About Lafayette General Medical Center

Lafayette General Medical Center is the largest full-service, acute care hospital in the nine-parish area of Acadiana. Celebrating its 100th Anniversary, Lafayette General was founded in 1911 as a community not-for-profit hospital, and has been a leader in healthcare throughout its existence. Over the years, LGMC has expanded its services and facilities to meet the community's growing needs. The current location in the Oil Center, originally built in 1963, is in the midst of a $70 million total renovation project. As the region's only community-owned and managed hospital, all decisions are made locally by an experienced administrative team and a volunteer Membership Corporation and Board of Trustees.

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