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Assure to hear and share through helpline and support groups.

Providing expecting mothers and others who care a way to be heard & helped also educating to form and contribute to groups supporting birth.

Photo of sugathri akkiraju
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Written by

In no more than 3 sentences, please tell us who your idea is designed for and how it reimagines the new life experience.

Each experience is unique in its own way for any expecting mom and the family around her. There are so many questions , concerns starting from the time of conceiving, pregnancy, birth, post partum, mental support, physical support, husband/ partner support, Breast feeding, Feeding, child growth. When I first got pregnant with my child I had a lot of questions, concerns like all expecting mothers.What helped me most were support groups in hospital, birth classes and Social networking groups.

My recommendations for this project:

 During a mother's health check visits at a hospital or medical center

  • providing a helpline for all expecting mothers and their families.
  • helpline should be able to help people using different languages.
  • helpline should be able to provide help from experts in child birth starting from  doctors, midwives, doulas and therapists.
  • recommending groups in the mother's neighborhood and help connect.
  • educating the mothers and other family members to form new groups.
  • Assuring that they will always be heard.


My story

My recommendations are based on my story.

When I was first pregnant with my son, I had so many questions/concerns and had to wait to meet with my midwife once  a month to get my questions/concerns answered.

It felt great to know that I could leave a message to the midwife and that she could call me back at her convenience. But what would have really helped was some expert that I could reach out to hear out my questions/ concerns and make appropriate suggestions or recommendations. Later I became part of many social networking groups for mothers, participated in child birth classes, became part of mother groups in hospital which helped me over come a lot of my fears and made me believe in myself as a first time mom. 

In my opinion, the recommendation of experts, hearing to first hand experiences of new mothers and constant support from my family helped me a lot during this phase. No amount of help can be enough help for expecting or postpartum mothers. What works in some cases may not work in other cases. As there is a saying - that it takes a whole village to bring up children which is very true.

From first hand experience I can think of two scenarios where helpline and being part of social networking groups immensely helped me.

Scenario 1:

As a first time mother I was never told about how to be prepared for healing from delivery stitches after a natural birth. It was a nightmare to go through the healing process inspite of having immense support from my husband and mother. There were medicines I could have taken and other remedies I could have followed to alleviate my pain. But it never occured to me to ask the doctor/ midwife, if I would have stitches or if I did how I can help myself to heal better. This was not tolerable pain to just bear it. I did my research online after I started suffering and called my midwife very late in the night asking if I could take certain medicines and do certain things to help myself. I so wish my doctor/midwife/doula had told me to be prepared about healing from stitches during natural birth. Although there is so much information available online I do not know what to trust and how it might effect my child if I followed any. 

What finally helped me was a way to reach out to my midwife at odd hours and be able to ask for recommendations. So I trusted the expert.

Scenario 2:

I never saw or heard any child who would refuse to breast feed from day 1. That was my son who was never introduced to the bottle. I cried my lungs out as I did not know what to do. I had seen lactation consultants, child chiropractors, medicines to increase supply and everything else. Inspite of seeing all the experts and having so much support at home it took me 45 days  after birth to successfully breastfeed my child. 

I reached out about my problem in several mothers groups on Facebook where I learnt for the first time, that I am not the only mother facing such issues. There was abundance of information and articles shared by experts. 

All the different recommendations on the groups helped me a lot and gave a feeling of being heard.

What difference do I make to the society based on my first hand experience?

Based on my experiences, I share my stories with all the expecting mothers and their families. 

I suggest all the different groups that they can bart to get help with birth and postpartum.

Recommend my doulas and all the other help I received.

At what stage is your idea?

  • Research & Early Testing: I am exploring my idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

I have been sharing my stories of birth and postpartum with all the other expecting mothers and their families. Suggested the groups they can be part of to get more help.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

It will be great to get contacts to enable Collaboration with experts in the fields of child birth, experienced doulas, training doulas, NGOs who are willing to offer help through this help line and support groups.

Tell us about your work experience:

I am a user experience designer by profession. Very passionate about problem solving and innovation. Constantly evaluating how the experiences around can be made better excites me the most. As a mom excited about pregnancy, postpartum, parenting, child care, child psychology.

This idea emerged from...

  • An Individual

Are you an expecting, new, or experienced mom?

  • yes

Are you a healthcare practitioner?

  • no

Are you a current employee of UCB Pharmaceuticals or Sutter Health?

  • no


Join the conversation:

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Sugathri!

It is great to have you in the challenge.

Would you mind sharing where you birthing experiences took place? Was this in California or somewhere else?

How would expectant and new moms find out about these services? Would this service be anonymous or would the fact that ladies used this service be shared with their healthcare providers?

Who would fund the service?

Photo of sugathri akkiraju

Hi Kate,
My birthing experiences took place in California.

The expectant, new moms or other family involved (users)would hear about these support groups and helpline from the doctors or health care providers during their health checks to the hospital during pregnancy.
In my idea there are two ways in which users can get help:
1. Through helpline. This helpline number will be given to the users by the hospital or health care providers during their hospital visits for health checks. This helpline can be formed and managed by NGOs. They can get volunteers who are experts in medical fields in all different languages and be available for users to seek medical help or advice.
2. Through Support Groups. In most of the places support groups may already be existing, but users may not be aware. If it is an existing support group that a hospital or healthcare provider is aware of, then that information about the groups can be passed on to the users. Otherwise, the health care providers can provide help to the users to form their own support groups in their areas. These are casual conversations and experiences that users share with each other and support each other. There is no funding required for this. If the user is interested even the helpline can provide help in identifying the nearest support group for the user and in absence of one, user can be helped in forming support group with users in their area.

I am happy to clarify if there are more questions. My idea is based on my own experience. Talking to a lot of other mothers both new and experienced and experts in medical field helped me gain confidence that I can deal with my issues and I finally did it.