Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Serena Williams Invests in Digital Platform Aimed at Improving Maternal Care

*After Serena Williams gave birth to her daughter in 2018, she experienced life-threatening complications that she documented in a post on social media. She also noted how black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes.

Now the tennis star is among investors joining a $3 million round to support a pre- and post-natal health tech company called Mahmee, Fortune reports. 

“I am incredibly excited to invest and partner with Mahmee, a company that personifies my firm’s investment philosophy,” Williams said in a statement. “Given the bleak data surrounding maternal death and injury rates, I believe that it is absolutely critical right now to invest in solutions that help protect the lives of moms and babies.”

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The Mahmee platform connects patients with their medical providers, a trained “maternity coach” who watches for physical or mental red flags, and online groups of mothers offering support and sharing their own experiences, per Tech Crunch.

“In the maternity healthcare process, on the surface, there are generally three or four people involved: the mother, the baby, and each of their physicians. What we don’t see are the many other people helping them: nurses, lactation consultants, midwives, nutritionists, therapists, doulas, home health aides, social workers, and more,” Melissa Hanna, CEO and co-founder of the app said in a statement.

“And this industry is lacking the IT infrastructure needed to connect these professionals from different organizations to each other and to follow and monitor patients across practices and health systems. This missing element creates gaps in care. Mahmee is the glue that connects the care ecosystem and closes the gaps.”

In an article penned for CNN last year, Williams described experiencing a pulmonary embolism after giving birth, a condition in which one or more arteries in the lungs become blocked by a blood clot.

“Because of my medical history with this problem, I live in fear of this situation. So, when I fell short of breath, I didn’t wait a second to alert the nurses,” she said.

“First my C-section wound popped open due to the intense coughing I endured as a result of the embolism. I returned to surgery, where the doctors found a large hematoma, a swelling of clotted blood, in my abdomen. And then I returned to the operating room for a procedure that prevents clots from travelling to my lungs. When I finally made it home to my family, I had to spend the first six weeks of motherhood in bed.”

She added: “What if we lived in a world where every mother and newborn could receive affordable health care and thrive in life? That world is possible … Every mother, everywhere, regardless of race or background deserves to have a healthy pregnancy and birth. And you can help make this a reality.”

Serena’s investment in Mahmee is what she calls a “critical” step in making progress in that direction.



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