Dr. Nirav R. Shah, commissioner of the New York state Department of Health, said women interested in receiving the free text messages can sign up for the service by texting BABY to 511411 -- BEBE for Spanish -- or online at text4baby.org.
Three free text messages will be delivered each week, timed to the woman's due date or baby's date of birth, and involve messages on birth defects prevention, immunization, nutrition, seasonal flu, mental health, oral health and safe sleep.
Text4baby messages also connect women to needed services including prenatal and infant care, and other resources.
"Information is a vital tool for pregnant women and new mothers, and the state Health Department is pleased to offer a new resource to ensure babies have a healthy start in life," Shah said in a statement. "Text4baby will deliver messages on a range of topics so that mothers can learn about critical care issues such as nutrition and immunizations."
About 8 percent of all babies born in New York state are low birth weight, a rate that has remained the same for more than a decade and improving the health of mothers and babies is one of the priorities in New York, Shah said.