Dose-response effects of the text4baby mobile health program: Randomized controlled trial

William Evans, Peter E. Nielsen, Daniel R. Szekely, Jasmine W. Bihm, Elizabeth A. Murray, Jeremy Snider, Lorien C. Abroms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Background: Mobile health (mHealth) is growing rapidly, but more studies are needed on how to optimize programs, including optimal timing of messaging, dose of exposure, and value of interactive features. This study evaluates final outcomes of text4baby (a text message service for pregnant and postpartum women) from a randomized trial performed in a population of pregnant female soldiers and family members. Objective: The study aims were to evaluate (1) treatment effects and (2) dose-response effects of text4baby on behavioral outcomes compared to control (no text4baby) condition. Methods: The study was a randomized trial of text4baby at Madigan Army Medical Center. Female military health beneficiaries who met inclusion criteria were eligible for the study. Participants provided consent, completed a baseline questionnaire, and then were randomized to enroll in text4baby or not. They were followed up at 3 time points thereafter through delivery of their baby. Generalized estimating equation models were used to evaluate outcomes. We examined treatment effects and the effects of higher doses of text4baby messages on outcomes. Results: We report descriptive statistics including dosage of text messages delivered. The main finding was a significant effect of high exposure to text4baby on self-reported alcohol consumption postpartum (OR 0.212, 95% CI 0.046-0.973, P=.046), as measured by the question “Since you found out about your pregnancy, have you consumed alcoholic beverages?” The text4baby participants also reported lower quantities of alcohol consumed postpartum. Conclusions: Studies of text4baby have helped to build the mHealth evidence base. The effects of text4baby offer lessons for future scalable mHealth programs and suggest the need to study dose-response effects of these interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12
JournalJMIR mHealth and uHealth
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Health communication
  • Mobile health
  • Prenatal health care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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