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TheStreet Open House

Health Net Helping Expectant Mothers

Stock quotes in this article: HNT

With October being Healthy Babies Month, Health Net, Inc. (NYSE: HNT) is sharing educational information to help women have healthy, full-term pregnancies, and help babies have a healthy start in life.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 500,000 babies are born prematurely in the United States each year. And the March of Dimes reports that not only is premature birth the No. 1 killer of newborns, but that babies born just a few weeks early are at risk of severe health problems and lifelong disabilities.

Text4baby

Health Net is working to increase awareness of text4baby, an innovative, free and simple program that delivers timely health information during pregnancy – and throughout the baby’s first year.

Spearheaded by the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, text4baby uses personalized text messages based on a soon-to-be mother’s due date or her baby’s date of birth. Messages focus on a variety of critical health topics, including immunizations, nutrition, mental health, oral health and safe sleep. Text4baby also connects participating women to prenatal and infant-care services.

“Mobile phones can play a significant role in promoting prenatal, postnatal and infant health care by delivering accurate and timely information directly to both expectant and new parents,” says Mary Beth Govier, Health Net’s director of Care Management.

To help increase awareness of text4baby, Health Net is participating in a public-service campaign. The campaign, which features two 30-second television announcements, has been distributed to media outlets nationwide. The “Belly-to-Belly” announcement shows just the pregnant bellies of two friends talking about text4baby. One pregnant mom is a text4baby subscriber and shows her friend how to sign up. Accompanied by the song “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” the “Baby Photos” announcement shows photos of babies whose mothers used text4baby. The mothers of the babies in the public-service announcements received three text4baby messages a week while they were pregnant and until their babies’ first birthday.

Health Net also is promoting the public-service announcements on its website, www.healthnet.com, at its Community Solutions Centers, and with its associates, members, contracting providers and insurance brokers.

Health Net was the first health plan in California to partner with text4baby, starting in 2010. The company also was one of the first text4baby health plan partners in Arizona and Oregon. Anyone can sign up for the service by texting BABY (or BEBE for Spanish) to 511411. For additional information about the program, visit www.text4baby.org.

Pregnancy Do’s and Don’ts

How women take care of themselves during pregnancy is important to their health and the health of their baby. To help expectant moms do what’s best for both, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health offers the following guidelines. Womenshealth.gov provides information to help advance women’s health research, services, and public and health professional education. The materials contained here are not intended to be used for the diagnosis or treatment of a health problem or as a substitute for consulting a licensed medical professional.

Expectant moms should:

  • See their doctor regularly
  • Continue taking folic acid throughout their pregnancy (400 to 800 micrograms per day)
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, cooked seafood)
  • Drink extra fluids, especially water
  • Try to exercise about 30 minutes most days
  • Wash their hands, especially after handling raw meat or using the restroom
  • Get enough sleep – aim for seven to nine hours every night
  • Reduce stress as much as possible
  • Make sure that any ongoing health issues – such as diabetes or high blood pressure – are being monitored closely
  • Consult their doctor before stopping or taking any medications, both prescription and over-the-counter
  • Protect themselves from food-borne illnesses by handling, cooking and storing food properly
  • Get a flu shot
  • Wear a seatbelt
  • Take childbirth and parenting classes

Expectant moms shouldn’t:

  • Smoke tobacco
  • Be exposed to toxic substances, including cleaning solvents, lead, mercury, some insecticides and paint
  • Drink alcohol or use illegal drugs
  • Clean or change a cat’s litter box
  • Eat swordfish, king mackerel, shark or tilefish
  • Have contact with rodents – including household pet rodents such as guinea pigs and hamsters – as well as with their urine, droppings and nesting materials
  • Take very hot baths or use hot tubs or saunas
  • Use scented feminine hygiene products or douche
  • Get X-rays

Medical Advice Disclaimer

The information provided is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for professional medical care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider for any questions you may have regarding your medical condition and follow your health care provider’s instructions.

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