Obstetricians know many new mothers won’t come in for a doctor’s visit in the first four to six weeks after giving birth, a crucial period when they are susceptible to postpartum complications like high blood pressure and depression.
The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t made it any easier.
“The earlier we can communicate with women and check in with them to see if anything is going on, the better we can identify problems and intervene so that symptoms don’t become significant,” said Kay Roussos-Ross, M.D., an associate professor in the University of Florida College of Medicine’s department of obstetrics and gynecology, part of UF Health, the university’s academic health center.
Roussos-Ross and colleagues responded to this challenge by developing a smartphone app called Gator MOMitor™ that new mothers can use to report worrying symptoms in the early weeks after giving birth. UF Health follows up with a phone call if someone reports a problem. The app was developed with the assistance of a grant of more than $190,000 from the Florida Department of Health.
Roussos-Ross said the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, or ACOG, recommends that women be seen by a physician in the first one to three weeks after delivery.
The app launched in November, and so far about 100 UF Health patients have agreed to download it and participate in this pilot program. Roussos-Ross said the goal is to have 500 women take part. Each receives a $30 stipend.