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A Step Ahead Informs A Step Behind

New moms are just removed from the questions and experiences of pregnancy - full of sympathy and with the understanding that comes from being on the other side. Could we craft mentor relationships over SMS to complement existing family and community support structures?

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Written by DeletedUser

Mentorship is a natural model for moms-to-be to learn the ins and outs of pregnancy and to cut through the fog of fear and misinformation. As a relatively new dad, I've seen my wife learn a lot from women just a few steps ahead of her, and seen her share a lot with other women a few steps behind her. This sharing started with pregnancy, has continued into the first year of our daughter's life, and I expect it's something that will continue into the future.

Such mentor/mentee relationships happen naturally in in-person communities. Could we leverage technology to expand the available number of mentors with the added benefit of providing a completely safe place for women to be 100% open and honest?

Building a bit on Nancy's concept, I imagine a system that could be either SMS or smartphone based, that would focus on allowing pregnant women to ask questions to a pool of new moms. New moms could respond based on their recent experiences with tips and wisdom. A trained midwife could be thrown in the mix (if available) as a moderator to help rank and filter responses, or the information could be entirely crowd-sourced.

Moms-to-be would have a safe place to connect with people not too far removed from their current stage in life, while new moms would have the opportunity to share their newly derived pregnancy expertise.

This model could (and should) extend beyond pregnancy, connecting new moms more experienced moms, maybe even connecting women considering pregnancy with currently pregnant women.

What is the minimum level of mobile technology needed for this concept?

At a minimum, a system could be based on basic mobile phones with SMS tech, complemented I think with a centralized data server.

How could this work in a low-literacy context?

A visual build on this would require more technology, but could involve video questions sent out by moms-to-be, with video answers returned.

Which partners could help realise and deliver this solution?

  • Oxfam
  • Nokia
  • Mobile operators
  • NGOs


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Photo of Paul Wood

In less industrialized economies women are having babies everywhere. I wonder if this mobile app would connect people with other pregnant women or mothers more than they already are. I was living in a community of about 35,000 people and there were two babies being born at the dispensary every day! That's only the people that actually came to the dispensary. Love and agree with the idea though.

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