New parents receive three text messages a week adapted to the baby’s age and stage of development.

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The UBC School of Population and Public Health School of Medicine has launched a text-based support program for new parents.

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Called SmartParent, the program is the brainchild of UBC professor Dr. Patricia Janssen.

In a prepared statement, Janssen said research by the Public Health Agency of Canada showed that parents often struggle to find the information they need, and that this has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We also know that access to postnatal care and resources is complicated by many other factors, including level of education, stigma and discrimination, language, income, whether the parents live in rural or remote areas, and therefore of course, isolation due to the COVID -19 pandemic. The idea behind SmartParent is to remove those barriers, ”Janssen said in a prepared statement.

Once subscribed to SmartParent, users receive three messages a week that link to more information online and are tailored to the baby’s age and stage of development.

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The information ranges from growth and development milestones, child safety, eating and sleeping, and information on vaccines.

It also provides information on self-care and mental health, and how to deal with burnout.

The information comes from Optimal Birth BC, the BC Ministry of Health and BC health authorities, pregnant and new mothers, practicing nurses, physicians, midwives, and maternal and child health experts.

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SmartParent follows the launch of SmartMom, a prenatal text messaging program also created by Janssen.

“We designed the two programs to work together,” said Janssen. “SmartMom supports mothers with information during each week of their pregnancy, while SmartParent continues to support parents from the birth of their child through that important first year of life.”

Parents can sign up by texting the keyword smartparent to 12424, or signing up at smartparentcanada.ca. Those interested in SmartMom can text smartmom to 12323 or visit smartmomcanada.ca.

Reference-vancouversun.com

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