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Text4baby service helps women prepare for motherhood

Advice for pregnant women and new moms now comes in the form of a text messages.

The March of Dimes and the North Dakota Department of Health are promoting the use of "Text4baby," a free cellphone service promoting maternal and child health, the department said in a news release.

Topics include immunizations, nutrition, birth-defect prevention, safe sleep and developmental milestones.

Women who text "BABY" (or "BEBE" for Spanish text messages) to 511411 will receive three text messages each week. Content is timed according to the expectant mother's due date or her baby's birth date, through pregnancy and ending at the baby's first birthday.

"The Text4baby service includes over 250 messages with the most critical information that experts want pregnant women and moms with infants younger than 1 to know," Kim Mertz, director of the Health Department's family health division, said in the release.

Reba Mathern-Jacobson, director of program services for the March of Dimes North Dakota Chapter, said research confirms women who use the text message service feel more prepared for parenthood.

The service is free even to those without a text messaging plan, according to The group estimates that more than 96 percent of cellphone customers are eligible, including those on prepaid phones.

Text4baby is a program of the nonprofit National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition.

The coalition has started an enrollment competition to connect more women to critical health and safety information through this service, which was launched on Mother's Day. The state that enrolls the highest percentage of pregnant women and mothers in Text4baby from May 12 to Oct. 21 will be recognized during the American Public Health Association's annual meeting in November in Boston.

For more information, visit or call Mertz at (701) 328-4528 or Mathern-Jacobson at (701) 552-9180.