Who are USA Maternal Health Professionals? - A Market Research Study


How HelpMe Feed can benefit USA maternal health professionals

In the USA there are around 4 million babies born per year. 82% of mothers in the USA initiate breastfeeding, and sadly this declines to only 18% by 6 months of age - the World Health Organisations recommended benchmark for exclusive breastfeeding.1

In early 2018, The HelpMe Feed Foundation surveyed health professionals in the USA, that work to support new mothers with breastfeeding, and gained a useful understanding of the key challenges they face and what kind of resources would assist them. 

For many midwives, maternal nurses and lactation specialists, working in this specialty area is a true vocation. This is a group of professionals that lives and breathes both the joy and pain associated with childbirth, prenatal and postnatal care. 

Understanding the real challenges of working in breastfeeding support was critical to making HelpMe Feed’s digital support effective and valuable, which was the key objective for the survey’s targeted questions.

Early support is essential

As the CDC USA 2018, Breastfeeding Report Card recently reinforced; the early postpartum period is a critical time for establishing and supporting breastfeeding.2  To reach breastfeeding goals, mothers require continuity of care via consistent, collaborative and high-quality breastfeeding services and support. This is where we see the HelpMe Feed App helping.

Through our research we found that Health Professionals pain points in supporting new mums were gaps in accessing usable educational resources, to assist with breastfeeding skills. Secondly the primary health expert having full visibility over the health journey of a new mum when managing a large case load. 

Easing the pain points

Having the ability to closely monitor all the mothers for an individual health professional effectively can be streamlined with the HelpMe Feed App. 

Mothers fill in short surveys within the App daily or weekly to monitor some key health indicators. For example, based on a scale of 1-5 how confident are you feeling today with breastfeeding? 

Using automated and aggregated answers along the way, a dedicated health professional can see if there are any concerns flagged with individual moms that need immediate follow up. 

By providing extra tips and hints, suggesting a coach check in with a mom, or scheduling an earlier face to face, the health professional can deliver a service that best fits with mom's needs and leaves her feeling valued and connected. 

“Parents have a lot of questions which change with each day. They’re also not that great at remembering what you’ve told them...they’re sleep deprived and stressed. 

Sometimes it is hard to ask them how it’s going when you know it isn't going that well because you don't want them to feel judged. It seems to me that this type of communication would be easier.”

*A survey response on the reasons why a health practitioner would use HelpMe Feed

Closing the language gap

The recent research uncovered a significant barrier in providing services in the need for multilingual support.

82% of health practitioner respondents serve multilingual communities but only 22% speak a language other than English.

Uncovering this gap highlighted the need for visual information through quality videos and images, with less reliance on text based information.

Added to the challenges in communication, the research found that the majority of respondents’ caseload of patients was in the low-income bracket. This will remain an important consideration for the HelpMe Feed Foundation.

What the surveyed found:

The majority of health practitioner respondents were based in the western zone of the USA, followed by the South and the Midwest.

The average age of health practitioners was 55-64 years old. 

This leans slightly older than we expected and uncovered the wealth of experience and seniority in this specialization.

Maddy Sands1 Comment