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Williams to help tackle maternal mortality rate

SUPPORTIVE: Serena Williams

TENNIS SUPERSTAR Serena Williams has partnered up with American business investor Mark Cuban to invest $3 million in Mahmee - a startup working to end the maternal mortality crisis among women.

In 2018, the Grand Slam champion shared her life-threatening childbirth experience with CNN, where she revealed that she “almost died after giving birth to my daughter, Olympia”.

She explained that whilst the pregnancy itself was “pretty easy”, the problems came thick and fast just 24 hours after giving birth.

“It began with a pulmonary embolism, which is a condition in which one or more arteries in the lungs becomes blocked by a blood clot. Because of my medical history with this problem, I live in fear of this situation.”

“This sparked a slew of health complications that I am lucky to have survived. First my C-section wound popped open due to the intense coughing I endured as a result of the embolism. I returned to surgery, where the doctors found a large hematoma, a swelling of clotted blood, in my abdomen.”

Whilst Williams was able to readily access a professional medical team with state-of-the-art equipment, this is not the case for most women across the globe. She recognised this injustice and sought to do all she can to support mums who express similar life-threatening cases.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found black women in the United States are over three times more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes.

UK Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths found the chance of death is 1 in 2,500 for black women. The rate was five times smaller for white women.

The reasons behind these racial disparities is what Mahmee is working to understand.

Mahmee cofounder Melissa Hanna said the data is ‘fragmented’, and it’s for these reasons that Mahmee aims to act as a digital platform for new mothers to network and get the support they need from their community, other mums and medical providers.

Hanna told TechCrunch: “We are so interested in delivering a healthy baby that mom gets sidelined”. She went further to explain that whilst there are other online services like Postpartum Support International and Bloom Foundation, the industry lacks the IT infrastructure needed to connect mothers with professionals and monitor patients across practices.

Hanna hopes to use the $3 million to grow her team of engineers and clinicians so that Mahmee may provide that missing link to medical professionals that mums may need postpartum.

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