New Research Initiative to Provide Expecting Mothers Vital Information on Pregnancy Care Options


 JUNE 27, 2016


New Research Initiative to Provide Expecting Mothers Vital Information on Pregnancy Care Options

 BOSTON, MA — Every day, pregnant women face important choices that impact their health. Most turn to popular books or to their family and friends for advice, but often times, reliable, objective information about quality of care is difficult to find and interpret. One of the most critical decisions is where to go for care.

A new research project at Ariadne Labs supported by Square Roots, a mission-driven company focused on defining and empowering healthy birth, will educate women on quality of care options by providing them with facility-level cesarean section rates. “C-section rates have surged 500 percent in just one generation. A hospital’s C-section rate is an important indicator of a woman’s risk of having an unnecessary C-section at that hospital,” said Ariadne Labs researcher Dr. Neel Shah, the project lead and an obstetrician-gynecologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

“Choosing the wrong hospital can increase the risk of a C-section significantly,” Shah said. “This information is important, and we want to learn the best ways to make this information accessible and understandable to expecting women.”

The project represents a novel collaboration between Ariadne Labs, Square Roots, the Harvard Medical School Department of Health Care Policy, Ovuline, a popular healthcare technology company that reaches millions of women through their Ovia Fertility and Ovia Pregnancy apps and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. A new Square Roots gift will advance the project to investigate whether optimally timed and framed messages can help women objectively choose better hospitals. Square Roots will leverage its comprehensive distribution network of city partners and technology platforms currently in development to disseminate key findings from the research to expecting mothers across the country.

“Understanding the quality of care and range of options available is the first step to ensuring every mother has a healthy pregnancy,” said Morad Fareed, founder and CEO of Square Roots. “Transparency and awareness is key to improving maternal health in America.  By supporting this research at Ariadne Labs, and distributing the findings through our BIRTH 40™ network of cities, expecting mothers across the country will finally have the information they need to make better-informed decisions for the health of themselves and their babies.”

Across the United States, medically unnecessary C-sections for low-risk women are responsible for 20,000 major surgical complications and $5 billion in additional health spending per year. At the same time, the United States is one of only eight countries in the world – including Afghanistan and South Sudan – where the numbers of women dying in pregnancy and childbirth is increasing.

“As a clinician, I’m concerned by the overall trends across the board,” Shah said. “We need new approaches to ensure that women get the care they need, but are also not getting harmed by unnecessary surgery. Involving women in the process is an essential part of the solution.”

About Ariadne Labs

Ariadne Labs is a global leader in health systems innovation, fostering a new discipline of research and discovery for better patient care from birth to the end of life. A joint center of Brigham & Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Ariadne Labs develops simple, high-impact and scalable solutions to addresses failures in health care systems at the most critical moments in people’s lives everywhere. Our tools and programs for childbirth, surgery, and serious illness are demonstrating massive impact and worldwide spread. Follow us on Twitter at @AriadneLabs.

About Square Roots

Square Roots ( is a mission-driven company focused on defining and empowering healthy birth. By integrating new technology and scientific findings with intelligent partnerships from medicine to policy to maternal care takers, Square Roots brings needed solutions and resources to the most critical period of life: our beginning. We identify the highest impact programs and tools that have a proven health impact for Mothers and coordinate the distribution of these programs and tools between academia, policy, public agencies, and private companies.

Follow Square Roots on Twitter with @SquareRootsLife. Follow Square Roots on Facebook and Instagram with @SquareRootsBirth.