This App Wants To Ensure Black Women Deliver Healthy Babies Without Risking Their Own Lives
Every pregnancy is different and one Toronto-based startup wants to make the process simple and personalized.
Mommy Monitor provides culturally-sensitive care and education, helping expecting mothers reduce stress during their pregnancies. Users register on the app, give medical and lifestyle information with the opportunity to choose a maternal mentor. Mothers also have the option to communicate via instant message and video chat.
In addition, the app allows users to track and analyze their stress levels and sleep as well.
The Non-Hispanic Black category had the highest infant mortality at 11.4 per 1,000 live births in 2016, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Non-Hispanic White women had an infant mortality rate of 4.9 per 1,000 live births that same year.
Even money doesn’t change these statistics. Celebrities like Beyoncé, Serena Williams, Gabrielle Union and First Lady Michelle Obama have revealed their difficulties with childbirth.
By understanding all of the risk factors that go along with childbirth and pregnancy, Mommy Monitor is working to change disparities in Black women’s pregnancies with preventative cares and stress reduction.
Elsie Amoako, Founder and CEO of Mommy Monitor said high infant mortality rates in Black women are caused by various factors including nutrition, environment, stress, and neglect from healthcare providers.
“Providers aren’t taking them seriously,” Amoako said about Black women. “Racism is a key factor.”
Maternal mentors are trained midwives and doulas that serve as a support system for Mommy Monitor users through bi-weekly sessions. The mentors follow a curriculum focused on social competency. Mommy mentors also help expecting mothers transition from prenatal care to postpartum.
“We want our mentors to learn how to be a patient navigators,” Amoako said. She said the training concentrates on the factors that impact the mind, body, and soul.
Amoako said providers and other medical professionals should begin focusing on preventative measures to ensure Black women are able to deliver healthy babies without risking their own lives.
Before creating Mommy Monitor, Amoako specialized in health equity for racialized populations and community development. Through her experience, she was able to raise more than $600,000 for Mommy Monitor from WeWork Creator Awards, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Health Innovation Hub and other partnerships.
The app is currently in beta and the company plans to expand to the U.S. in a year. Amoako said Mommy Monitor will be free or extremely low-cost with cities and government offsetting the cost for users.
“People who need it will have it for free,” Amoako said. She hopes the app will alleviate healthcare and insurance issues for pregnant women who would otherwise not have access.
Amoako is looking to incorporate artificial intelligence into later versions of Mommy Monitor to improve the analysis from the app.
Elsie Amoako will be participating in the AfroTech Cup Pitch Competition. Check out the live stream starting at 2 o’clock to see her and other founders pitch their ideas.