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Working toward healthier pregnancies — and healthier babies

The United States spends more on maternity care than any other country in the world. Sadly, though, the rates of illness and death among new and expectant mothers have been rising in recent years. One reason is that there has not been sufficient biomedical research conducted with pregnant people. The Scripps Research Digital Trials Center is dedicated to innovating in this important research area, with the goal of partnering with study participants to empower researchers with data that may help them find new ways to study healthy pregnancies — from day one through the postpartum period.

Achieving equity in maternity care is a priority of our work. The maternal mortality rate for Black, American Indian and Alaska Native women is two to three times higher than the rate for white women. Additionally pregnancies in those who live in rural areas are at higher risk for negative outcomes than pregnancies in those who live in cities. The tragedy is that most pregnancy-related deaths are preventable.

Digital trials can enable deeper engagement by participants, transforming “subjects” into true partners in the research enterprise. Our PowerMom study is a perfect example. It’s a first-of-its-kind healthy pregnancy research community. Expectant mothers share data about their experience through a mobile app. Led by a team of clinical researchers, data scientists, and mothers, PowerMom has attracted thousands of participants. Early results have confirmed the usefulness of the platform for gathering a wealth of data about pregnancy.

The knowledge we seek

  • Can we engage hundreds of thousands or more pregnant people in a research study that uses routinely collected data from smartwatches, activity trackers and other wearable sensors, as it relates to their pregnancy and postpartum experience through a user-friendly app-based research platform?
  • Can we individualize recommendations for expectant mothers based on unique characteristics we collect, and thereby maximize the chances of a healthy pregnancy?
  • Can connected digital sensors coupled with participant-reported outcomes and health information guide expectant mothers and care teams toward healthier pregnancies?

Publications

Findings from a PowerMom pilot study have been published in peer-reviewed journals.

Press

Our research has been featured in major international and industry news outlets.

Partner with us 

Our goal is to enroll hundreds of thousands of pregnant or recently pregnant people into the PowerMom Healthy Pregnancy Research Community, in order to inform and support all mothers across the country.