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

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–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
supported by Square
, 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.


Ariadne Labs
Deborah O’Neil, 305-215-5675
Aaron Kinnari