A clinic with a new approach to maternal healthcare recently opened its doors in Brooklyn, New York. Oula, one of the area’s first modern maternity centers, combines obstetrics and midwifery with virtual care options to create a modern, patient-centered experience.
Timely care can help identify, treat, and manage health conditions that complicate pregnancy and reduce the risk of poor birth outcomes, and the team at Oula are embracing a new way to support women at every stage. Featuring in-person and telehealth visits as well as a mobile app, Oula’s hybrid platform is not only poised to improve individual maternity care, but it will also make personalized maternal care more accessible for demographics that are traditionally underserved by the current maternal healthcare model.
Rates of maternal death in the U.S. are disturbingly high, despite an investment of $111 billion per year toward maternal and newborn care. And a little of over half of all pregnancy-related deaths take place after birth, where access to post-partum care varies widely. Adrianne Nickerson, Co-founder and CEO of Oula, acknowledges that lack of equal access to high quality maternity care is one of the primary causes of this alarming truth and one of the main factors in her decision to launch the clinic.
“In New York specifically,” said Nickerson, “Black mothers are 12 times more likely to die than white mothers. These disparities are associated with poor access, a lack of communication, and frankly lack of respect for women of color.”
Women typically have a lot of questions in the early weeks of pregnancy, often relegated to digging through vast amounts of information on the internet and anecdotal advice to get answers. Offering appointments to pregnant women before anything can be seen on the first ultrasound—typically at the 6 to 8 weeks mark—is just one of the many ways Oula deviates from the clinical norm. Oula encourages people who wish to establish care in the earliest stage of pregnancy to set up a virtual visit, providing an opportunity to lay the foundation for a care team that will assist to educate and support throughout the pregnancy and beyond.
Oula’s digital platform provides patients with additional support and keeps them connected to their care team. Patients can use the app to message a midwife at any time with questions or concerns and can use the tool to build a personalized care plan. Additionally, the app offers access to test results, appointment planning, and wellness check-ins.
“Our goal is to develop a new vision for what prenatal and postnatal care can be by focusing on expectant mothers and giving them the individualized care they deserve—from their first positive pregnancy test through their fourth trimester care,” said Nickerson.