Putting the Power of Motherhood in Your Hands

By Christina Orlovsky

For many mothers-to-be, being pregnant is a time of pleasure and expectation, as they eagerly await the arrival of their new child. For many extra, nonetheless, it’s also a time of uncertainty, nervousness, and unanswered questions. This is particularly true in various communities throughout the United States the solely developed nation whose maternal mortality fee has been steadily rising over current a long time. In truth, the most up-to-date CDC statistics present that there have been 20.1 maternal deaths per 100,000 stay births in 2019, up considerably from 17.4 the 12 months prior.

This grim statistic can also be accompanied by additional information that reveals disparities amongst racial and ethnic teams, with Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native girls two to 3 occasions extra more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white girls. They are disproportionately affected by being pregnant problems like preeclampsia, pregnancy-induced hypertension, and gestational diabetes. These inequities underscore the want to incorporate various populations in analysis on maternal care to scale back these disparities and enhance the outcomes for pregnant folks of all races and ethnicities.

Thats the place PowerMother comes into play. An progressive smartphone app-based analysis research performed by Scripps Research, a number one establishment for analysis in the biomedical sciences, PowerMother was born out of a dedication to rework medical analysis by way of digital information. A group for a group, PowerMothers mission is to uncover patterns in wholesome pregnancies and uncover solutions to questions mothers (and soon-to-be-moms) have about their our bodies and their rising infants. With the assist of hundreds of research individuals, PowerMother strives to reply necessary questions on what makes a wholesome being pregnant for the various pregnant inhabitants in an effort to make sure the well being and well-being of all mothers and infants for generations to come back.

Here, Tolwala (La) Ajayi, MD, FAAP, the lead researcher for PowerMother, shares what impressed her ardour for this highly effective analysis and the way PowerMother goals to assist obtain fairness in maternity look after all pregnant folks.

Q: What impressed you to pursue analysis in maternal well being?

LA: This was a private ardour mission of mine. When I used to be pregnant with my first daughter in 2017, I realized from expertise simply how completely different every being pregnant could be for everybody. Also, as a result of of my background in pediatrics, I’m additionally properly conscious of the well being disparities that occur inside being pregnant care, and even how I used to be handled with my very own being pregnant. Again, I’m a pediatrician. I work inside a well being care establishment. I obtained care at my very own establishment, and I used to be blatantly discriminated in opposition to. I did not have an outlet. I felt that though I’m educated and versed in this inhabitants, I did not have a instrument to permit me to be heard. I noticed that PowerMother could be such a robust instrument to essentially collect information so we are able to have wholesome pregnancies for everyone.


Q: What are some of the disparities which might be occurring proper now in analysis and simply with pregnant girls at massive?

LA: There are a pair. With analysis at massive, we all know that there is a massive disparity in who will get funded to do scientific research. There’s a big disparity in the kind of principal investigators who’re chosen from racial, ethnic, and LGBTQ backgrounds. Those who’re funded to do scientific research and people who are conducting the scientific research actually have an effect on who then enrolls in scientific research in basic. The result’s a disparity inside the inhabitants who’s conducting the research, after which those that truly take part in the research.

Q: How does this have an effect on pregnant girls at massive?

LA: In basic, pregnant folks weren’t included in analysis as a result of now we have been seen as and I say “we” as a result of I simply had my second daughter a protected inhabitants. Finally, while you have a look at the disparities inside the kind of pregnant folks included in analysis, you see a big underrepresentation inside Black, Hispanic, Native American, and different ethnic and racial minorities.

Q: How is PowerMother working to impact change in these necessary areas?

LA: PowerMothers distinctive digital platform breaks down obstacles to accessing analysis, permitting extra folks to take part from anyplace. This approach, we are able to collect information by way of surveys and information collected from wearable units like a Fitbit or Apple Watch from various individuals and construct a group consultant of a full spectrum of racial and ethnic teams. In this manner, we’re placing the participant first assembly them the place they’re. When a participant sees {that a} research is being directed at them and for them, they’re extra more likely to have interaction. They’re extra more likely to need to put forth their information and be included, as a result of they’re seen as companions, and as equals inside the research.

Q: How does all of this empower pregnant folks?

LA: We are empowering girls with their information. We are offering them with a instrument they will share with their well being care supplier and say, This is completely different. We are giving them a report they will preserve monitor of their baseline and their adjustments. Its a instrument that permits them to advocate for themselves and truly have a dialog. By having that dialog, not solely are they serving to themselves be educated, however theyre additionally serving to their well being care suppliers be educated. Theyre serving to well being suppliers say, “You know what? Maybe the way that we’re doing these things isn’t the best way, or it isn’t really a way that addresses everybody. How can I change my practice so I can actually help my patients better?”


Q: How do you see PowerMother rising in the future?

LA: Right now, PowerMother is basically observational: gathering information, seeing what works, how we are able to strategy girls, and what’s taking place in girls’s lives. Next, I wish to energy PowerMother to do interventions. How can we then use expertise to handle issues like preeclampsia? How can we use interventions to scale back gestational diabetes, to deal with being pregnant induced hypertension, to then intervene to deal with these situations earlier? That’s the place I see PowerMother rising in the close to future.

Christina Orlovsky is a medical copywriter for Scripps Research. She specializes in the creation of health-related content material and has greater than 2 a long time of expertise in function writing, advertising and marketing, and copywriting for nationwide print and on-line publications and well being care organizations.

In collaboration with WebMD, PowerMother is a smartphone app-based analysis research that allows expectant moms to share information about their pregnancies with scientists. For extra data or to enroll in PowerMother, go to



This article is an element of WebMD/Medscapes contributor program, which lets folks and organizations outdoors of WebMD/Medscape submit articles for consideration on our websites. Have an thought for a submission? Email us at [email protected].

WebMD Feature



Photo Courtesy of Scripps

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2022 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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