The experience of pregnancy has come a long way throughout history. From giving birth in front of hundreds of people (hats off to you Marie Antoinette) to spending your fourth trimester in societal seclusion, moms of today can be grateful to be childbearing in modern times. Yet despite being a multi-million dollar industry, childbirth in America is no walk in the park. Prenatal care remains difficult to access, particularly for BIPOC women, and postpartum care is overshadowed by our diet culture/bounce-back mentality. Let’s not forget our measly three-month maternity leave some moms have the ‘privilege’ of taking. But the maternity industry is in the midst of an exciting revolution, because experienced moms are identifying the ways this system has failed us and are taking matters into their own hands. We’ve highlighted four women-owned companies who are trailblazing a new norm for pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum recovery in America.
Let’s talk about baby registries. If you’ve ever been pregnant and faced the daunting task of creating a baby registry, then you know it can be an enormous time commitment when you’d rather be decorating the nursery and doing cat cows in your coziest sweatpants. Well, Gugu Guru is here to help with that. Inspired by her teenage obsession with the quizzes in teen mags, founder Monica Banks thought to herself, "There should be a quiz that helps a mom discover her ideal baby registry based on her lifestyle and personal style" and that was her a-ha moment. After taking a short lifestyle quiz, a concierge will give you unbiased, personalized recommendations for the products that you not only need the most, but that also fit your lifestyle. Are you a city urbanite or a suburban dweller? Do you hit the pavement or trails with your stroller? All these factors will come into play with the products they recommend specifically for YOU.
Another fresh face on the registry scene is Flourish Fund. While most registries focus on material things, anyone who has had a baby before knows what mom really needs, aka some TLC. That’s why Melissa Bowley created the Flourish Fund, which is going to be the next big thing in the pregnancy world, IMO. Think less stuff and more support. The Flourish Fund is the only registry that puts wellness before material things so mom can register for what she really needs, like prenatal massage, yoga and sleep consultants. Gifted funds can also be applied wherever they are needed most. Hello meal delivery!
Okay, so now you’ve had your baby and you’re ready to embrace postpartum. This is where Major Care takes the stage. Expectant moms are matched with a certified doula who can provide 24/7 virtual support from pregnancy through the fourth trimester. Moms can text, call or video chat with their assigned doula and get the answers and trusted guidance they need without having to bundle up the baby for an appointment across town. Sometimes you just need someone to talk to without making it a whole thing! Founder Mandy Major says “Mamas and birth persons are totally left out of the equation, and we’re suffering because of it. You have your own recovery, questions, and a very real need for information, encouragement, and connection.” Preach, sister! They are also launching My Fourth App, a free day-by-day guide for the fourth trimester with videos, evidence-based tips, a wellness tracker, resource library, and access to on-demand virtual doulas (for a small fee). Similar to all those baby bump apps you had when you were pregnant, but for postpartum! Currently in beta, you can glimpse a preview of the app here!
Now that maternity leave is over and you’re heading back to work, you’re beginning to wonder where you’re going to pump that liquid gold. Mama, meet Mamava, the company bringing private, clean, freestanding lactation suites to locations all over the U.S. They come equipped with everything you need to pump or nurse an infant. Just download their app to locate a suite near you. Founders Christine Dodson and Sachsa Mayer say “Our goal is to raise the profile of breastfeeding by celebrating the realities and logistics involved for the many mothers who need to be away from their babies. Every day we receive tweets, emails and Facebook messages from moms thanking us for what we do. There’s nothing more rewarding.”
Leave it to women to use their own childbirth experience as fuel to launch a start-up business. The maternity industry is primed to embrace the entire transition to motherhood and not just the nine months of pregnancy. Thoughtful buying decisions, wellness-focused registries, virtual postpartum support, and lovely little lactation spaces are finally bringing the maternity space up to speed with the modern world and we couldn’t be more hopeful for the future of maternity care.