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Nova Scotia launches a prenatal education pilot directed to people who are pregnant

SmartParent Text messages to guide you through pregnancy and your baby's first year. Text 'baby to 12323. A couple holds a baby between them.

The launch of SmartParent in Nova Scotia means people who are pregnant will have the option of perinatal education being sent directly to their cell phones. The pilot program, available from IWK Health and Nova Scotia Health Public Health, offers text messages from pregnancy and child health experts that guide expectant parents through the transformative weeks of pregnancy and the first year of their child’s life.

“The perinatal period is a time when expectant and new parents are looking for information to support their healthcare, and they often turn to the internet to find it,” says Dr. Melissa Brooks, OBGYN and medical advisor for the Reproductive Care Program of Nova Scotia. “It can be difficult for people to navigate all the information that is available to find reliable and accurate resources. SmartParent delivers trustworthy content directly to users’ phones throughout the pregnancy and the first year of life, and at the times where it will be most relevant.”

Pregnancy and parenting is a unique journey for each person and SmartParent tailors its guidance to suit diverse needs. The program acts as a supportive coach, offering insights and information that align with the specific weeks of pregnancy and infant development, creating a personalized and informative experience.

“Perinatal education is absolutely essential if we want the best outcomes for birthing parents and babies in Nova Scotia,” says Brooks. “We must ensure that all our patients can access the information that they need in a format that suits their life and resources. Having access to the SmartParent program is a huge step towards this goal.”

Parents can enroll in the free service using a cell phone number. They will receive three current, evidence-based, educational text messages per week to help guide them through each week of pregnancy. All links and information have been verified by Nova Scotia healthcare providers to ensure the information is accurate and applicable to parents in our province.

Enrollment can be completed by texting the keyword ‘Baby’ to 12323 or by going to and clicking Enroll Now.

“Perinatal education programs are not accessible in every community,” says Brooks. “SmartParent is a resource that providers can recommend to help ensure that all of their patients or clients can access accurate and timely information.”

Developed in collaboration with pregnancy and child health experts, the program offers trustworthy guidance, suggesting crucial topics for discussion with healthcare providers. It also provides recommendations for additional information and resources available both online and within local communities.

SmartParent is endorsed by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC).

This one-year pilot is funded by IWK’s Catapult Fund. The program will be evaluated during the pilot to determine its success in reaching expectant parents in Nova Scotia.

More information can be found at