How Freida Pinto Is Helping Prioritize Postpartum Health

The actor and mother-to-be has thrown her support behind Anya, a new online platform that offers postpartum support for new mothers.

While strides have been made in terms of postpartum health awareness and resources for mothers-to-be, more can be done to address the complex and inherently challenging period after childbirth—especially in the U.S. A new online platform, Anya, is the latest company to offer postpartum support for new mothers through a modern lens, combining deeply researched educational content and a range of subscription-based products tailored to the distinct stages of postpartum recovery. 

The idea for Anya was first sparked by cofounder and CEO Jane Baecher’s own postpartum experience. Like many mothers, Baecher found herself blindsided by the symptoms she experienced after giving birth, including radical body changes, sleep deprivation, painful sex, hair shedding, and the emotional highs and lows caused by hormonal shifts. “I was suddenly this broken vessel that was leaking from every part of my body, needed to heal, and also feed a human,” explains Baecher. “For me, it was both the physical recovery and also what came after—the hormonal shifts, my new identity, my breasts leaking, my relationships changing, feeling exhausted and depleted for months on end—it was all a surprise.” In researching her way through the experience, she became aware of the gaps in postpartum support in the U.S. versus other countries, spurred by both health care policies and cultural differences. The fact is that other countries, such as China with its postpartum-care centers, France with its pelvic-floor-therapy coverage, and Sweden with its maternity/paternity leave policies, are prioritizing women’s health needs during the postpartum period and, in turn, helping them “enter this stage of life feeling prepared and supported,” stresses Baecher. In learning about different, more beneficial approaches to the postpartum period, Baecher found that she was having to rely mainly on information, namely traditional recipes and rituals, from other countries. “I was determined to create an easier way for women to take care of themselves; to get the benefits I was seeing and, just as importantly, to help women feel prepared and know what to expect, so it wouldn’t be so scary and women wouldn’t feel so alone,” she explains.

In hopes of launching a business that improved the quality of life for women in the postpartum period, Baecher looked to her longtime friend Ariana Saunders, whom she’d met at Cornell University and worked with at Bloomingdale’s early in her career. After reading studies on postpartum maternal health care in the U.S., it became clear to them that women were lacking knowledge about postpartum health and desiring information from health care professionals versus their friends and family, and that clinicians also believed maternal health education was insufficient. With an emphasis on data-driven strategy, Saunders helped Baecher dig deeper and learn more about the postpartum experiences of other American women, speaking to more than 2,000 individuals about the physical, mental, and emotional struggles of new motherhood and using the survey’s findings to inform a transformation of the postpartum experience. From there, Anya was born.   

Marrying Eastern and Western philosophies with support from a panel of 30-plus medical doctors and holistic practitioners including ob-gyns, lactation consultants, pelvic floor specialists, and herbalists, Anya, at its core, was created to help new mothers design an all-encompassing postpartum plan. “Women’s experiences after birth are not singular, and neither should be their approach to their health,” explains Saunders. “We believe that there is so much to be gained by combining these different schools of thought to meet the varying experiences of women. Giving women multiple perspectives and options empowers them so that they can make their own choices for themselves and take a proactive approach to their own health and recovery.”

This story originally appeared on: Vogue - Author:Lauren Valenti

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