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Maternal mortality is a problem — and Serena Williams is investing to solve it

"I believe that it is absolutely critical right now to invest in solutions that help protect the lives of moms and babies," says Williams.

Maternal mortality is a problem — and Serena Williams is investing to solve it
Serena Williams

New mothers in the United States are at risk: Our nation has the highest rate of maternal death in the developed world, but a new app aims to change that. Tech startup Mahmee was founded in 2014, but has recently received a boost thanks to investments from the likes of Marc Cuban and Serena Williams—the app reportedly earned $3 million in funding in July, according to Fortune.

Now, we know what you're thinking: How exactly can an app save a mother from complications that arise during childbirth?

Well, pregnancy complications don't always strike in the delivery room: New mothers are vulnerable long after they bring their babies home, and this app offers postpartum care that aims to address both physical and mental concerns mothers may face.

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Mahmee connects new mothers to experts who can address mental health, nutrition and lactation concerns, as well as primary healthcare professionals who are connected to the app. The hope is that mothers can use this platform when issues arise (because as we all know, stepping out of the house to get the help you need can be nearly impossible when you have a baby) before they mount. Nipping issues in the bud may keep moms from neglecting their own health or allow them to identify mental health issues like postpartum depression.

CEO Melissa Hanna and her mother, Linda Hanna (a nurse and lactation consultant), chose to start this business to address problems they'd seen firsthand—from potentially dangerous physical symptoms to pressing emotional concerns.

"In the past 12 months, we've had patients who've experienced severe blood loss and postpartum hemorrhaging," Melissa tells NPR. "We've worked with families and with mothers that are experiencing prenatal anxiety and supported them in preparing for their childbirth experience in the hospital. There have been patients who have experienced postpartum depression; in some cases, some very severe postpartum psychosis symptoms."

For one investor, the decision to support this venture may be personal. Serena Williams has been candid about her terrifying near-death experience during childbirth. "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. Mahmee's data-driven approach is the right solution to one of the most significant problems in the system: that of fragmented care," the tennis pro says, according to Forbes.

This app certainly fills an important space in the healthcare industry—if you've given birth, you know that while prenatal care feels continuous, most new mothers don't receive much medical attention after they give birth, save for (in many cases) a routine checkup at around six weeks postpartum. That makes it really difficult for mothers who are grappling with post-childbirth recovery, hormonal fluctuations, emotional issues, sleep deprivation and so much more to get the care they really need.We hope is if they do, our maternal mortality rates will move in the right direction. Kudos to Mahmee's team for stepping in to bring this important change.

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    This article was sponsored by Stanford Children's Health. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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