Virtual group prenatal support to help take the unexpected out of expecting

Even in an ideal situation with lots of support and clinical care, pregnancy can have its challenges. In isolation, the journey can be especially hard. As COVID-19 upended many areas of normal life, it also disrupted how many expecting mothers prepare for having a baby.

With in-person social support for those entering motherhood put on pause due to the pandemic, the need for virtual, evidence-based resources became especially clear.

No two women experience the exact same pregnancy journey but through all the different challenges and unexpected changes, it’s comforting to know you’re not alone. To help fill this need for connection and support from those who can relate, UnitedHealthcare launched a pilot program called Wellhop, an app for women connected to a Medicaid plan1 as a covered benefit.

What is Wellhop?

Wellhop brings educational resources and support to eligible mothers and their babies through video conversations with other expecting moms throughout pregnancy and after birth. Wellhop is based on the evidence-based concept of group prenatal care — with those who participate experiencing better outcomes through pregnancy, birth and in postpartum while gaining better prenatal knowledge.

While the Wellhop program existed prior to COVID-19, there was an uptick in engagement as women looked for safe, alternative resources and connections during their pregnancy and in their first few months as a new mom.

How it works

Wellhop brings women with similar due dates together for 19 virtual conversations with a group leader. Conversations are every other week for an hour. They focus on pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period, allowing for participants to ask questions or share updates. Between meetings, an expectant mom can chat with group members and the group leader on discussion boards, as well as visit the resource library, which contains articles, videos and podcasts.

“The most consistent thing we hear from moms in Wellhop is how much they value the information shared and the feeling of community they get from their group,” said Anne Pruett, administrator for Wellhop for Mom & Baby.  “Knowing there is a place to ask questions, get valuable information, feel listened to and just feel connected can go a long way to reduce stress.”

“When babies arrive and pictures are posted on discussion boards, it feels like the completion of a journey everyone shared.”

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