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, and Darius Tandon

Brief Type

Journal Publication


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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 (i.e., 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. (author abstract)

Data Collection Methods

  • Program administrative record reviews
  • Surveys or questionnaires



For More Information

Barrera, A. Z., Hamil, J., & Tandon, D. (2021). Integrating SMS text messages into a preventive intervention for postpartum depression delivered via in-home visitation programs: Feasibility and acceptability study. JMIR Formative Research, 5(11), e30995. https://doi.org/10.2196/30995
Author Contact Information:
Alinne Z Barrera, PhD


  • Program Enhancements, Innovations, and Promising Approaches