Solution Overview

Solution Name

Birth By Us

One-line solution summary.

Birth By Us empowers mothers and birthing people to shape their own birthing experience while giving providers the insights and data to best support their birth.

What is your solution?

Birth By Us provides tailored check-ins at sequential points in pregnancy to give birthing people personalized health insights and top-tier resources. Users will be able to create their own birthing plan and birthing village, connecting all members of their support team in one place and keeping everyone updated on birthing goals and key health stats. 

Birth By Us takes the guess-work out of improvement by turning patients’ feedback into comprehensive, routine quality reports placed side-by-side with valuable resources to help providers make impactful changes. We also help hospital systems make individualized care possible by supplying users with shareable health progress reports, flagging concerns and notes from their doula, which can be easily uploaded to electronic health portals and discussed at care appointments.

What specific problem are you trying to solve?

The U.S. is plagued by disparate birth outcomes, disproportionately affecting women and birthing people of color, specifically Black people who are currently 3-4 times more likely to die in childbirth compared to their White counterparts [1]. Since they are aware of these statistics, many hospitals have tried to solicit patient feedback; however, with response rates averaging around 30% at best, maternal care providers and systems still lack the critical insights on effective strategies they should implement to help eradicate this crisis.

While there are many different factors contributing to this growing statistic and much still to learn, what we do know from over 40 preliminary interviews and focus groups is that these statistics have left many Black women and expectant parents feeling disempowered, as though their only option is to birth in fear; and similarly left maternal care providers feeling lost as to what specific steps to take to improve the quality of their care.

Who does your solution serve? In what ways will the solution impact their lives?

Current efforts to eradicate disparities in maternal health are largely focused on working towards large-scale policy changes or the creation of community-based/grassroots organizations supplying maternal care. While we acknowledge that these efforts have pushed the issue in the right direction, technology can provide sustainable and expedited avenues towards solving the maternal health crisis. This is exactly where Birth By Us steps in. We innovatively introduce technology with payoffs for both parents and providers, combining data analytics with robust resources to help everyone achieve their best possible outcome.

We believe Birth By Us will positively impact parents’ lives by equipping birthing people with the tools and knowledge needed to be their health advocate and achieve their best birthing experience, contributing at large to a reduction in maternal health disparities. Additionally, Birth By Us helps partners by allowing them to take a more active role in the communal process of birth, understanding their birthing partner’s body and transitions, all while learning how to best support their own physical and mental well-being through curated resources. Finally, Birth By Us will aid providers in serving their patients with the best quality care by highlighting key areas of improvement along with best practices to continue.

What steps have you taken to understand the needs of the population you want to serve?

Community involvement is a key component of our foundation. From the beginning of our processes we have sought to intentionally engage with our stakeholders through active listening in both interviews and focus groups. Beyond this, we believe in the value of building authentic relationships with parents and providers to create needed trust, especially since we are working with communities with higher rates of medical mistrust. To do this, we plan to work hand-in-hand with community members throughout our developmental stages and have already formed relationships with providers and researchers at Tufts University’s Maternal Outcomes and Translational Health Equity Research Laboratory and Rhode Island’s Women & Infants Hospital.

To ensure the project produces meaningful impact, we will do rounds of testing and are keeping the app free for parents to improve access. As a patient education tool, our product aids providers and produces reports that can be easily uploaded to existing systems rather than making them learn a new piece of technology.

Which aspects of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Improving healthcare access and health outcomes; and reducing and ultimately eliminating health disparities (Health)

Our solution's stage of development:

Prototype: A venture or organization building and testing its product, service, or business model

Explain why you selected this stage of development for your solution—in other words, what have you accomplished to date?

We have been working on this platform for about 10 months and experienced a major pivot in the direction of this idea in December 2021 as a result of the focus groups we had with providers. At first, we were planning to build a Yelp-based platform to help Black parents choose their best maternal care provider based on reviews and insights from other Black people. After assessing the market and conducting many focus groups, we pivoted to creating an app that serves as a personalized, adaptive birth guide for expectant parents and supplies maternal care providers with detailed feedback and resources to help them improve care for every patient. Currently, we are in the prototyping stage. We have already created high-fidelity wireframes and completed journey mapping for each stakeholder, and are prioritizing creating a functioning app prototype over the next few months in Swift.

Where our solution team is headquartered or located:

Cambridge, MA, USA

Team Lead:

Mercy Oladipo

More About Your Solution

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new project or business that relies on technology to be successful

Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

Our solution relies on technology as we are creating an integrated mobile application. In this app, we will have benchmark questionnaires that the user takes in order to evaluate the quality of their pregnancy journey (how are they feeling – mentally, emotionally, physically –, have they experienced any adverse outcomes, etc.) a[1] s well as the quality of care that their provider is giving them. These answers will inform the insights we give providers along the way while allowing us to track and analyze patterns in user experience, and recommend them correct modules and resources to help them improve their experience in real time.

Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Software and Mobile Applications

In which countries do you currently operate?

  • United States

How many people does your solution currently serve, and how many do you plan to serve in the next year? If you haven’t yet launched your solution, tell us how many people you plan to serve in the next year.

In the next year, we plan to pilot our solution in a small, local clinic in either the Bay area or the Greater Boston Area and then scale to a larger hospital system where we have connections such as Rhode Island’s Women & Infants Hospital or Boston Medical Center.

A small clinic generally supports about 30 births in a year, and so we would be impacting these 30 birthing people as well as their partners, family, and providers. Bigger hospitals such as Women & Infants have an exponentially greater number of births as more than 98% of all births in the United States take place in hospitals; greatly raising the number of individuals we are able to impact through our solution.

What are your impact goals for the next year, and how will you achieve them?

Our key milestones include (1)creating a high functioning prototype/MVP, (2) building an advisory board with experienced maternal health professionals and other key stakeholders, and (3) networking to gain access to hospital administrations across the nation.

(1)Creating a high functioning widely accessible prototype will include building a team of software engineers, researchers, and healthcare professionals. This will allow us to construct a sustainable tool that streamlines targeted resources and communication that will help our users and their partners. Our goal is to have top-tier resources that empower the BIPOC community as well as the LGBTQ+ community.  Through our pilot of this prototype, we hope to impact over a hundred individuals (birthing people, partners, providers, and more) by giving people the tools needed to achieve their best birth experience. We plan to achieve this by hiring an app development intern to aid our current app developer. In addition, we plan to freelance resources directly from people belonging to marginalized identities such as BIPOC, LGBTQ+, etc.

(2) Building an advisory board will allow us access to the expertise of trained medical professionals to help create a standardized and effective quality questionnaire that will be used in hospitals and birthing centers across the US. 

(3)Networking is vital. It will allow the opportunity to expand our impact across all birthing hospitals and centers in the U.S. and eventually, internationally. Through networking with hospital administration, we will be able to create tangible impact by connecting with a local clinic/hospital where we can pilot our solution.

How are you measuring your progress or planning to measure your progress toward your impact goals?

Some measurable indicators we are using to track our progress towards our impact goals are listed below:

  • Collect 20+ resources related to the LGBTQ+ birthing experience by June 2022
  • Contact 20+ hospital administrative personnel by June 2022
  • Outreach to 10+ individuals inviting them to be a part of the Birth By Us advisor board by April 2022
  • Solidify an advisory board of at least 5 people by June 2022
  • Collect 50+ resources related to the BIPOC birthing experience by July 2022
  • Launch a pilot with at least 30 birthing people by December 2022

What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year?

One potential challenge in our implementation is the concern around data privacy. We are proactively avoiding this by becoming GDPR and HIPAA-compliant, and having a clear data-use and privacy agreement upon user sign up. Additionally, we will not share anything without explicit user consent as they have to select which pieces of their data to share and with whom. Users also have the option to compile their insights into a PDF which they can freely share.

Another concern is that providers will not change their behavior even with our insights and recommendations. However, we are piloting with hospitals at the administration level so they can enforce standards of care throughout their system. We will also work closely with doulas and community-based birthing centers to connect with our users.

About Your Team

How many people work on your solution team?


How long have you been working on your solution?

10 months

How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

As pre-medical Black women, we intimately understand this problem and that if nothing changes, we may fall prey to the very issues we aim to solve. In addition, we have spent a lot of time reaching out and listening to the stories of parents and providers, which have further shaped our understanding of the issue and familiarity with our community.

Although our app aims to support and serve all birthing people, our goals are focused on addressing these disparities. As a Black women owned company, Birth By Us is aware of the maternal health crisis and will direct our efforts to reach birthing people who historically have limited access and knowledge about a healthy birth.

The foundation of our team is built upon honesty, transparency, shared vision and passion. This allows us to be supportive, considerate, and attentive to our shared roles as co-founders. 

Mercy is a co-founder of Birth By Us and an MIT pre-med student studying computer science and molecular biology. She is an advocate for safe birthing practices with a passion for Black maternal health and is excited about the role technology will play in resolving the Black maternal health crisis. She is highly skilled in Python, SQL, project management, and website design. Additionally, she has previous experience in health informatics research and front-end consulting.

Ijeoma is a co-founder of Birth By Us and a pre-med graduate student at UC Berkeley studying Public Health in Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health. Prior, she spent her time at Brown University researching disparities in maternal health and is thrilled for the growth digital healthcare can bring to reproductive health, creating innovative and sustainable avenues to achieve health equity. She also has specific expertise in R, biostatistics, and three years experience in health informatics.

What organizations do you currently partner with, if any? How are you working with them?

In Summer 2021, we partnered with Tufts University’s Maternal Outcomes for Translational Health Equity Research Laboratory (M.O.T.H.E.R. Lab) while we were in the concept phase of our solution. While we are not currently partnered with them, we have maintained a positive working relationship and look forward to future opportunities with M.O.T.H.E.R. Lab and other organizations in the future.

Your Business Model & Resources

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Solution Team

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