Innovators, health advocates, practitioners and policy makers are working to end the adverse maternal health outcomes for Black mothers. Among developed nations, the U.S. has the highest rate of maternal mortality. Black women are three to four times more likely to die during childbirth and postpartum than white women.

At this year’s annual Black Maternal Health Conference the spotlight was on the role of technology in addressing Black maternal health disparities. The conference is the nation’s only and largest focused on Black maternal health. There disruptors in the maternal health space shared how they have created technology to advance equity in maternal health. It’s just in time for Black Maternal Health week which falls on April 11-17.

Informed Practitioner Selection

Choosing the right practitioner can be a matter of life and death. Host of this year’s Annual Black Maternal Health Conference and the director and founder of the Center for Black Maternal Health and Reproductive Justice, Dr. Ndidiamaka Amutah-Onukagha, PhD, MPH, CHES, agrees about the importance of choosing a practitioner who honors the lived experiences of Black women.

“Even before Black women enter the doctor’s office, there should be careful consideration of choosing a practitioner that looks like you or comes highly reviewed by other Black birthing individuals,” Amutah-Onukagha said. “The IRTH app is a great place to start that research.”

The IRTH app provides prenatal, birthing, postpartum and pediatric reviews of care from other Black and brown women. Founder, Kimberly Seals Allers, created the app. 

“Black women should feel safe and listened to from the first interaction” she said. “And if they don’t, find a new provider.” 

Agency for Black Moms

Ariana McGee is the founder and CEO of Navigate Maternity, a maternal health tech company that is improving outcomes for vulnerable women using real-time data. After her own pregnancy scare, McGee wanted to help Black moms have agency during pregnancy.

Navigate supports women of color during pregnancy by bridging communication with the care team, as well as collecting biometric data and key alerts to and from their clinician. 

The interactive patient app serves as a hub of connection between the expecting mom, the patient navigator and the healthcare team. Other key features include a depression score, telehealth, text alerts, a critical alert system and much more.

“It provides wrap-around services to unify stakeholders, which saves mamas and babies lives,” said Dr. Elicia Harris, Chief Medical Officer of Navigate Maternity. “We are bringing the data collected from our tech directly to providers to better protect and monitor expecting moms.”

Human-Centered Tech Bolsters Care

Poppy Seed Health

Change in maternal health happens when people push for better care. Simmone Taitt, CEO and founder of Poppy Seed Health, believes in the power of advocates throughout pregnancy, postpartum and loss. Her telehealth app improves care for pregnant and postpartum people through 24/7 text access to doulas, midwives and nurses.

“When you come to Poppy, you are going to get someone who is going to be your front-liner – advocating on your feelings and experiences almost immediately,” she said. “Real people, every time.”


Founder of Wolomi, Layo George agrees about the value of human-centered tech. George has 10 years of experience in addressing the maternal health crisis. She launched Wolomi to provide community for women of color while they navigate the healthcare system. Connecting with other moms, as well as healthcare experts, drastically improves birthing outcomes. 

“We see ourselves as companions for moms by providing them with community,” George said. “We are asking people-centered questions like, ‘How do we improve the mom’s experience through community? How can we support expecting moms and moms in-between care? How can we listen to moms to have better outcomes?’”


Melissa Hanna, is the co-founder and CEO of Mahmee, a maternal healthcare company that provides pregnancy and postpartum support in one place. The app centers the voices of the most marginalized communities, and to date, Mahmee has served 30,000 families around the country.

“We plug in the missing pieces of the care experience in a comprehensive way,” Hanna said. “While tech underpins what we do, ultimately we are in the business of delivering care to people.”

Mahmee focuses on people-centered care – supporting the mom and baby, the family and the community.

“It’s not enough to just have an app or send an article about the problem,” she said. “What we know is that we, as people, have the best possibility to make a positive impact in each other’s lives, and we use technology to that end.”