Integrating sms text messages into a preventive intervention for postpartum depression delivered via in-home visitation programs: Feasibility and acceptability study

Alinne Z. Barrera*, Jaime Hamil, Darius Tandon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The Mothers and Babies (MB) Course is recognized by the US Preventive Services Task Force as an evidence-based preventive intervention for postpartum depression (PPD) that should be recommended to pregnant women at risk for PPD. Objective: This report examines the feasibility and acceptability of enhancing the MB 1-on-1 intervention by adding 36 SMS text messages that target 3 areas: Reinforcement of skills, between-session homework reminders, and responding to self-monitoring texts (ie, MB Plus Text Messaging [MB-TXT]). Methods: In partnership with 9 home visiting programs, 28 ethnically and racially diverse pregnant women (mean 25.6, SD 9.0 weeks) received MB-TXT. Feasibility was defined by home visitors' adherence to logging into the HealthySMS platform to enter session data and trigger SMS text messages within 7 days of the in-person session. The acceptability of MB-TXT was measured by participants' usefulness and understanding ratings of the SMS text messages and responses to the self-monitoring SMS text messages. Results: On average, home visitors followed the study protocol and entered session-specific data between 5.50 and 61.17 days following the MB 1-on-1 sessions. A high proportion of participants responded to self-monitoring texts (25/28, 89%) and rated the text message content as very useful and understandable. Conclusions: This report contributes to a growing body of research focusing on digital adaptations of the MB course. SMS is a low-cost, accessible digital tool that can be integrated into existing interventions. With appropriate resources to support staff, it can be implemented in community-based organizations and health care systems that serve women at risk for PPD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere30995
JournalJMIR Formative Research
Volume5
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Keywords

  • Perinatal mental health
  • Postpartum depression
  • Public health
  • SMS
  • Technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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