May 15, 2024

Maternal Health Innovation: Inspiration from Elephants

It might seem unconventional, but with complex social structures and high emotional intelligence, elephants offer a fascinating glimpse into the natural world's approach to childbirth and maternal care.

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Aside from their lengthy 22-month gestation period and resulting birth of a hefty 250 pound calf, it’s their communal birthing process that sets elephants apart. Female elephants, rather than isolating during labor, are surrounded by the females of their herd, to ensure her safety and allow her to focus on the labor process with the support of her closest allies. 

In humans, the journey to motherhood also requires the support of a community of family, friends and clinicians, but fragmentation of our healthcare system and a lack of communication between providers presents significant challenges to accessing effective care.   

But, drawing inspiration from elephants, maternal health platform Mother Goose Health is revolutionizing the maternal healthcare system by creating an ecosystem of support around each mother. Our platform, which connects expectant and new mothers with a comprehensive network of healthcare providers, offers personalized care plans, 24/7 chat support, and a suite of services designed to address every aspect of maternal health. 

Gathering Round: Facilitating Access and Support

Forming a protective circle around the birthing mother, elephants of a herd shield both the elephant in labor and the newly born calf from predators. 

The birthing experience for women in the U.S., is often less supportive. Over 6 million women reside in areas where maternal care services are either limited or non-existent and women in the U.S. face a disproportionately higher risk of dying from pregnancy-related complications than their EU peers. Delayed diagnoses and delayed treatment of pregnancy related complications are major factors contributing to poor maternal outcomes and subsequent rise in preventable complications, including premature births and severe maternal morbidity.

Mother Goose Health’s platform expedites the identification of rising-risk in the perinatal period, and facilitates access to treatment. This ensures that mothers receive immediate care, tailored to their specific needs, from the moment they discover they are pregnant, coordinating whole-person care and ensuring access to services to improve health outcomes.

Standing Shoulder to Shoulder: Connecting Providers 

As a part of the elephant birthing circle, the mother elephant’s herd stands shoulder to shoulder to create a solid wall of protection from danger. While human mothers may not need to be vigilant of lions, maternal healthcare providers do need to consider a myriad of underlying health factors, including chronic conditions such as obesity, heart disease or diabetes, and a range of environmental and social factors that can influence the health outcomes of both mother and baby. 

Making this data accessible to all providers responsible for care is essential to bettering maternal outcomes but gaps in communication have been shown to result in health complications and failure to access maternal services, and contribute to maternal mortality.

Standing shoulder to shoulder with providers, Mother Goose Health’s holistic approach to care integrates with Electronic Health Records (EHR) to facilitate seamless communication among healthcare providers, and significantly reduces rates of maternal mortality and severe complications.

Creating a unified network of care that supports a mother’s journey and improving data sharing that enables effective care coordination, ensures that every woman receives the most appropriate, effective, timely support throughout her maternal journey, from preconception to postpartum. 

Ready for Battle: Improving Outcomes  

Stamping the ground as a part of their circle, elephants kick up dust that covers any smells that could alert predators to the vulnerable mother and baby during childbirth. 

Mother Goose Health’s proprietary app not only provides mothers’ with access to 24/7 chat assistance but facilitates the collection of real time health data such as blood pressure, SDOH and mental health, which is then shared with their provider team. 

This information enables healthcare providers to make more immediate, personalized decisions, and enhances administrative efficiency, minimizing errors to improve physician-patient interactions, interventions and outcomes, with mother’s using the platform less likely to give birth prematurely or have to undergo cesarean section.

Raised Together: Maintaining Support 

When a baby elephant is born, the surrounding herd erupts in jubilant trumpeting and cheers, marking the occasion with communal joy. The calf is then nurtured by an ensemble of females, led by the most experienced among them, and supported by sisters, aunts, and grandmothers. 

For humans, the postpartum period is a transformative time for new mothers as they develop their maternal identity, a process often defined by the growth of an emotional attachment with their baby, adopting mothering behaviors, and finding joy in their new role. 

This journey, marked by discovery and learning, should ideally be a positive and fulfilling experience. However, many new mothers encounter significant challenges, such as difficulties breastfeeding, physical and mental health complications, access to aftercare and a lack of knowledge and resources, which can lead to feelings of frustration, fatigue, loneliness, and a loss of control over their lives.

Mother Goose addresses these challenges by providing year-long support in a system of communal care. Including mental health, nutrition and lactation services Mother Goose perpetuates a mother’s care to reduce the likelihood of postpartum complications and ease the transition into motherhood, for a better experience and better health outcomes for both mother and child.