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Ruth Health, a Los Angeles-based startup focused on prenatal and postpartum care, has raised $2.4 million in seed funding led by Giant Ventures, with additional participation from the likes of L.A.-based Emmeline Ventures and Y Combinator, the company announced Thursday.
Alison Greenberg and Audrey Wu launched Ruth Health in 2020 as the pandemic altered the fabric of health care in a remote setting. Suddenly, pregnant people couldn’t go to their ultrasounds with their partners. Lamaze classes were either shuttered or limited entry to only those who were giving birth. Social distancing limited conversations where pregnancy issues would naturally be discussed.
“We initially thought to ourselves, 'Well, this sucks,' because your partner can't be there,” Wu, the startup’s COO, told dot.LA. “It's like a lot of the really critical moments of your life are not experienced together.”
Ruth Health offers one-on-one telehealth sessions with a network of health care professionals who can guide a patient’s recovery after giving birth. Through Ruth Health, patients can access lactation consulting and physical therapy that supports C-section and pelvic floor recovery.
The U.S. already has one of the highest maternal mortality rates of any developed country (partly due to the astronomical costs associated with pregnancy procedures), and that number has increased during the pandemic. But the other part is care: while there are a plethora of resources and health care professionals during pregnancy, they dwindle once a patient gives birth. Most people who give birth will experience related symptoms—incontinence, difficulty having sex and even organ prolapse as a result of a weakened pelvic floor—yet education around a patient’s postpartum body is not common in the U.S.. (Meanwhile, countries like France bake postpartum treatment into government-sponsored care plans for pregnant patients).
“People hear about aunts and moms and grandmas who pee in their pants when they jump or or sneeze,” Greenberg, Ruth Health’s CEO, told dot.LA. “That is treated as a normal postpartum body—but really, it's an indication of pelvic floor prolapse or a pelvic floor disorder.”
Ruth Health’s telehealth sessions are usually scheduled once a week indefinitely until a patient is ready to move on. Sessions start at $75 per appointment, and currently the waitlist to get an appointment is no more than a week long.
The seed round—which takes Ruth Health’s total funding to $3.1 million—will go toward building out the startup's product and engineering teams, as well as creating a library of content that people can access between or in lieu of one-on-one sessions.
“We have some really exciting new stuff in development where we want to be just a continuous resource,” Greenberg said. “We have to be able to have those asynchronous conversations with our patients—like concerns that come up in the middle of the night.”
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