How FemTech Has Shifted Modern Prenatal and Postpartum Care

Thursday, December 14, 2023

In today’s blog, we’re going to explore how the digital landscape has changed the prenatal and postpartum narrative from baby’s health to mom’s health — because let’s be honest — mom’s health has a direct relationship to baby’s health during the conception, prenatal and postpartum periods. The saying “if mom’s not happy, then nobody’s happy” really starts the second that mama becomes pregnant!

Pregnancy is also the biggest milestone in a woman’s life (at least biologically speaking). This is a time when she experiences the most physical changes she will ever go through. Just think --it’s the same amount of changes as the entire period of puberty, which is anywhere from 3-6 years, crammed into a 9-month time frame. Reasonably, this can feel like a scary, anxiety-inducing experience for most women because everything changes very quickly.

Luckily, digital platforms have aided in helping women navigate through some of these uncertainties, and it has changed the way we view maternal care in our healthcare systems.

Trend #1: Educating women during her fertility, prenatal and postpartum journey

Digital platforms have allowed to women to become more informed about their experience and the options that they have in the medical setting so that they can have a more educated conversation with their doctors.

Along with the shift in education, many digital platforms are trending toward following practices of doulas and midwifes, opposed to apps that follow more westernized medical approaches.

A great example of this is cervical checks. It used to be routine to conduct cervical checks at 36+ weeks pregnant at a weekly check-up. Now, it’s becoming more and more common to refuse a cervical check since it’s a painful experience and isn’t a direct indicator of oncoming labor. Women have gathered this insight through their apps, doulas, and midwifes, and it’s had a major effect on women having a more positive and less painful prenatal experience by avoiding unnecessary interventions.

A great example is a tracking app like Oova. This app, along with many other fertility trackers, allow for an easy-to-use and understand experience so that users can talk with the doctor about their hormones, activity level, etc. and how it might be affecting them. This is priceless knowledge that wasn’t available before this technology and it allows women to be able to have a more informative conversation with her doctor about what is going on. It really puts the power in women’s hands!

Trend #2: Openness in discussing women’s mental health and life experiences in a community

Most women face lots of uncomfortable symptoms (whether related to menstruation while trying to conceive or prenatal and postpartum symptoms like mood swings and mental health issues) All of this can be hard to navigate these changes alone.

By recognizing this and talking more about it in digital platforms, the myth of a “glowing pregnancy” has become further and further away. In short, women want to talk about the real stuff!

Most prenatal and postpartum apps UI/UX includes community feeds as well as groups with women of the same due date that can be especially helpful in asking advice and questions to other mamas.

Peanut is a great example of a community-based platform for motherhood. It includes community forums by health stage and location. The apps also has live pods where you can ask fellow moms any questions.

Trend #3: Deeper focus on women’s physical health and less fear around exercising

There was a previous myth that pregnant woman couldn’t exercise — or rather, maybe less extreme, there were many exercises pregnant women couldn’t do. This idea creates a lot of fear in mom’s mind about what she can or cannot do, and many women avoid exercise altogether out of anxiety to not hurt the baby.

The truth is that exercise actually helps mom prepare her body for labor and pushing! And that exercise during the postpartum is great, and it should be slow and gradual and only start exercising when cleared by a medical professional (AKA let’s get rid of the “bounce back” culture we see on social media after having a baby).

There’s tons of apps out there for prenatal and postpartum exercise, our personal favorite is Glo. Glo has prenatal and postnatal programs by expert instructors and all exercises and programs are designed in their UI/UX is clearly indicated by stage of prenatal/postpartum so that there’s no fear in doing any of these programs.

Trend #4: Debunking “eating for two” during pregnancy and focusing on real food

Most of us have heard of the old wives' tale, “pregnant women should eat for two.” The idea that pregnant women need to double their food intake is false. While nutritional needs do increase during pregnancy, it's more about the quality of nutrients rather than doubling the quantity of food.

In fact, there’s more and more evidence of more complications during pregnancy by having a poorer diet, for example conditions like preeclampsia and gestational diabetes, that are correlated with a poorer diet. The book called “Real Food for Pregnancy” by Lily Nichols is a great read for debunking some of the common myths around how different foods affects women who are already pregnant.

Because of new apps, there’s a trend of women becoming more aware of the types of food they eat vs. how much they’re eating. Pregnancy Diet is one of many apps that gear nutritional guidance and meal plans for a health pregnancy — and without the weight shame! All of the UI/UX of this app has nothing to do with weight, BMI or any type of tracking about how “big” or “small” a woman is. The entire user experience is focused around what types of food you like so that you can enjoy eating real, nutritious food during your pregnancy without the weight shame.

Trend #5: More focus on mental health during pregnancy

It can be really tough to be pregnant (especially during the first and third trimester). So keeping mentally sane is the name of the game. Mental health can have real effects on a women’s body during pregnancy. By a women’s ability to reduce cortisol levels and increase oxytocin, it can affect everything from her due date to the health of the baby.

Hypnobirthing is one example of a trend appearing in many pregnancy meditation apps. We know hypnobirthing sounds like hypnosis, but it’s really just a meditation practice to reframe the mind to flush out the negative (lower those cortisol levels) and bring in the good stuff (the oxytocin and all the good hormones that help during this period).

Expectful is one example of an pregnancy, postpartum and trying to concieve app that focuses on mom’s mental health by highlighting their UI/UX toward common topics for soon-to-be moms, including anxiety, stress, depression and more.

The UX of the tracker is unique in the sense that it's less focused on how big the baby is, and it’s a simplistic view of what week the mom is on. This can immediately reduce anxiety for this user by shifting the focus away from the baby’s physical health and inward toward mom’s own experiences and connecting with her baby.

Trend #6: Calm tones for maternal apps to slow things down

All of these apps have a few things in common, calming and soothing UI. Most of these examples have soft pastels with gradients and muted and neutral tones, like light pinks and lavender.

For example, we love the light purple color scheme of Blessed and the pale nude tones of Expectful. This can ease the mind of the user during this time of undergoing a lot of change. And that consideration is extremely important!

Women want to feel beautiful, and let’s be honest, positive self-image can be a rollercoaster of emotions for many while a woman’s body is changing so rapidly. The Blessed app is a great example of showcasing positive self imagery through illustration to showcase an empathetic, calming and positive view of how beautiful pregnant women are.

Empathy as the cornerstone for UI/UX design of maternal apps

There are countless ways in which UI/UX and positioning of digital platforms helps women have a more positive maternal experience including educational empowerment, gentle and reassuring language, prominent topics, impactful communities and so much more.

We are lucky to be in this age of technological advancements, and we can expect to see more and more changes in our health care system coming from communities of women using these apps and positive shifts maternal care and maternal care providers.

Posted on:

December 14, 2023




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How FemTech Has Shifted Modern Prenatal and Postpartum Care

In today’s blog, we’re going to explore how the digital landscape has changed the prenatal and postpartum narrative from baby’s health to mom’s health — because let’s be honest — mom’s health has a direct relationship to baby’s health during the conception, prenatal and postpartum periods.