When it comes to issues with maternity care, the disgraceful maternal mortality rates in the United States are merely the tip of the iceberg. Women in the U.S. report having the least positive experiences with healthcare and are more likely to report emotional distress than women in other high-income nations.
Oula, a New York-based maternity clinic focused on pregnancy and childbirth was founded on the belief that improving the experience will lead to better health outcomes and lower costs, has raised $19.1M in Series A funding.
The round was led by 8VC with participation from existing investors including Chelsea Clinton’s fund, Metrodora; the Female Founders Fund; Collaborative Fund; and Alumni Ventures. Seed investors included Great Oaks, January Ventures, Rock Health, Black Jays and individuals such as Kate Ryder of Maven Clinic, Tom Lee of One Medical, and Jonathan Bush of Athena Health. This totals Oula’s funding to $22.3M.
The company plans to use the funds to advance its full-service maternity care, which includes prenatal, delivery, and postpartum, as well as to increase the availability of group support and sonography services.
Oula is a maternity clinic that was established in 2019 by Adrianne Nickerson and Elaine Purcell. It combines obstetrics and midwifery to provide a customised, evidence-based pregnancy experience so that everyone has the support they need to thrive before, during, and after birth. With its friendly clinic, collaborative medical staff, and remote care platform, the business is establishing a new standard for pregnancy that combines science and human intuition.
Oula accepts all significant insurances, including Medicaid, which is used to cover more than 40% of births in the United States. Medicaid is used by one in five Oula patients, 54% of patients identify as non-white or Hispanic, and 10% of patients are LGBTQ+.
Oula’s announcement comes at a crucial time, as maternal mortality rates in the United States are rising (especially for Black women), reproductive rights are being curtailed, and parents are dealing with increasing difficulties, from a lack of accessible childcare to the absence of paid family leave.
“Ask just about anyone who has been pregnant or is considering giving birth in the U.S., and it’s clear that when it comes to maternity care, the status quo isn’t serving anyone. Between miserable patient experiences, poor health outcomes, and extraordinarily high costs, there is room for improvement, to put it mildly,” said Adrianne Nickerson, co-founder and CEO of Oula. “At Oula, we are focused on providing a great experience and great outcomes for our patients. That means listening to and taking their concerns seriously, prioritizing mental health as well as physical, approaching this work through a lens of equity and inclusivity, hiring diverse and culturally competent staff, providing trauma-informed care, emphasizing the importance of postpartum care, and empowering patients to advocate for themselves,” she added.
“This funding [from primarily female investors] makes it possible to expand Oula’s care offerings to include sonography and further group support. Oula is proud to offer parents and their babies community and guidance not only up to delivery, but through ‘the fourth trimester.’ In addition to our postpartum office hours and dedicated monthly space for BIPOC patients and families, we are grateful for the ability to offer new opportunities for groups to come together to work through experiences such as pregnancy loss with the help of trained staff. Pregnancy and early parenthood can be isolating and lonely, and we view our community support offerings as a key part of our patients’ care,” said Elaine Purcell, co-founder and COO of Oula.
“Oula’s growth sends a simple but unmistakable message: Maternity care can and must be better,” said Kimmy Scotti, 8VC founding partner and mother of two. “Oula’s transformative approach is not only refreshing – it’s desperately needed.”
The World Health Organization claims that expanding access to midwives is one of the most effective ways to decrease maternal fatalities, preterm birth rates, and caesarean rates as well as the price of childcare. More midwives in the healthcare system, according to a study published in The Lancet, could prevent more than 80% of maternal and infant deaths.