Women in northern BC can now get free prenatal education via text message, thanks to a new initiative from Northern Health.

 SmartMom is free of charge to women and their families. It texts evidence-based information to women during each week of their pregnancy to ensure they get they information they need when they need it. Developed with input from pregnant women and new mothers from around the Northern Health Region, SmartMom is supported by the BC Ministry of Health, Northern Health, the First Nations Health Authority and Optimal Birth BC. It was piloted in Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake and For St. James in September 2016.

“The overall goal of the SmartMom project is to support pregnant women and their families to make evidence-informed decisions to improve health outcomes,” says Dr. Patricia Janssen, UBC professor at the School of Population and Public Health and project co-lead. “SmartMom is intended for women having uncomplicated pregnancies. Messages are meant to complement prenatal advice and information provided by caregivers, not to replace it.”

The new program has already received a lot of positive feedback.

“We’ve had moms tell us that SmartMom is better than any other baby apps they’ve used because of the specific localized information and tips,” says Randi Roy, Northern Health Interim Regional Nursing Lead for Maternal, Infant, Child, and Youth, and project co-lead.“We are happy to be able to offer this support and education to pregnant women in the north.”

Three messages are sent to participants each week. They include links to websites, information about local services and videos on topics like fetal growth and development, screening options, and preparation for labour and delivery. Users can also request additional messaging for specific concerns, such as  depression, birth planning, alcohol, tobacco and drug use, nutrition and weight management and pregnancy loss.

You can sign up for the service by texting “SmartMom” to 12323 or by visiting the website.