Text message intervention programs have a positive effect in prenatal care, according to a recent study by researchers from the Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at the George Washington University.
Researchers recruited 943 pregnant women at the Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash. and found those who were sent targeted text messages regarding prenatal care were three times more likely to believe that they were prepared to be new mothers compared to those who did not receive the messages. The researchers put the pregnant women in a randomized, controlled trial. Those who received text messages were given health and safety information, including on the importance of prenatal healthcare, the risk of alcohol use during pregnancy and the importance of prenatal vitamins.
“This study provides the strongest evidence to date that Text4baby reduces health risk beliefs targeted by the text messages. It advances knowledge of the effects of mobile health programs,” W. Douglas Evans, Ph.D., professor of prevention and community health at Milken Institute SPH and lead author of the study, said in a statement.
The text message program, Text4Baby, was provided by National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB), a nonprofit organization. It has support from 1,200 private and public partners including the American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This is the second report from Milken Institute SPH in a week that demonstrates the effectiveness of text message interventions in improving care. Last week, it announced the results of a study that showed text messages helped smokers drop the habit.