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Pregnancy Depression Screening: Pregnancy Depression Screening

by Allyson Cote

Current prenatal screenings for depression are outdated, obtuse and ineffective. A relevant solution is possible, that will better diagnose depression during pregnancy.
Providence, RI United States Depression Women(s) Health Takeda challenge

All Team Company Patients Physicians Mission Innovation Details Supporters Comments Updates

About our project

The problem we solve: According the CDC, between 11-20% of women will experience postpartum depression. But what about depression during pregnancy? There is no current standard for screening. Maternal mortality is on the rise in the USA. Chronic illness, obesity, and depression are all key drivers of poor birth outcomes for mom and baby. The current screenings are ineffective, nebulous, and largely irrelevant for many women facing motherhood today. A new solution MUST be created to earlier and accurately identify at-risk women for depression before potential obstetric and neonatal emergencies develop. This screening will better delve into areas such as: socioeconomic, education, domestic violence, and emotional traumas that left unchecked can directly catalyze mental health emergencies. Coupling that with two simple blood tests for key biomarkers, we can successfully identify those women likely to develop depression, and ensure their proper care.

About our solution: This isn't technology, this is common sense. After years of gathering research, outbound surveys, and direct and candid feedback from caregivers and mothers around the world. Depression may well be the single most overlooked component impacting outcomes. This solution can be implemented as both an app as well as a simple paper format and is applicable globally.

Progress to date:Research and prototype screening have been developed.

About Our Team

Creator: Allyson Cote

Bio: I'm a tireless seeker of disruptive innovation who works globally in maternal, neonatal and child health. Inventor, entrepreneur, and overall loudouth working to improve outcomes for women worldwide

Title: CoFounder/Chief Operating Officer/Product Manager

Advanced Degree(s): MPA

About Team Members

Meg Wirth
CoFounder/CEO, MPA
Biography: A S.E.VEN fellow and a Cartier Women's Initiative finalist. Meg has worked on women's health throughout her career in areas as diverse as starting a home visiting program for teen mothers in Appalachia to monitoring and evaluating a major Safe Motherhood initiative--funded by USAID and implemented by John Snow International's Mothercare project-- in Jakarta and South Kalimantan, Indonesia. Meg has also worked as a member of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Health Equity Team
Title: CoFounder/CEO
Advanced Degree(s): MPA

About Our Company

Maternova, Inc

Location: 460 Harris Ave Suite 201
Providence, RI 02909

Founded: 2009


Twitter: @maternova

Product Stage: Idea

YTD Sales: $250,000..1M

Employees: 3-5

How We Help Patients

The medical professions needs to do a better job for women and mothers than is currently being achieved. By helping to create a comprehensive holistic and viable new screening to better assess those at risk EARLY in their pregnancy, we can improve outcomes, demonstrate and ROI based on current care protocol, and improve the lives of women who may otherwise not receive the help they need.

How We Help Physicians

By helping to create a new way to screen at risk patients early in their antenatal care, we can secure better treatment options, reduce liability, and offer a better beginning to our babies being born.

Challenge Mission

How we will improve Depression Care

We need to remove the stigma of depression, especially during pregnancy. By looking at social drivers, financial preparedness, and including real issues for women like body image, guilt, fear, and shame, we can better set the course to ensure a healthy outcome for mom and baby. Screening postpartum is not enough, and not effective. We need to look at key biomarkers, and couple it with better identified salient data points.

How we will make the lives of those who suffer from depression better

Healthy moms make better moms. We can do better than what is currently offered. This can be done with your help. I am very receptive towards working with any Medstartr partner or supporter on this project. We all have a voice, lets start to use it for good.

Innovation Details

Intellectual Property Summary

As we're developing this new screening system, I have not listed anything specific enough for it to be considered IP. As we move forward and create more finite detail, this will likely be either used as open source or licensed. 

Clinical Information Prenatal Depression and Adverse Birth Outcomes: An Updated Systematic Review Maternal Prenatal Depressive Symptoms and Spontaneous Preterm Births among African-American Women in Baltimore, Maryland

Regulatory Status


How we will use the funds raised

Funding will be used to partner with either a local obstetric practice, or health clinic, to further solidify and vet all components of the screening, and collect end user data. Additionally, a developer/programmer will need to be employed to create the app. 

Thank You

Thank you for your support, and for all you do for women. Team Maternova 



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    Mary Beth Schoening posted on 26th August, 2016

    Hey Allyson - I am on the 360me team and live near Providence. Couldn't agree more with the need and your approach. Would love to connect to see if I can help in anyway. Good luck with your project and business.

  • image
    Meg Wirth posted on 3rd September, 2016

    Hi Mary Beth, thank you very much! I'd love to connect. My email is I did get some feedback that I hadn't included a lot of technical info., and that is absolutely correct. Even though it is likely going to be an open source project, I am still keeping some IP private for the time being. But I'm definitely looking for collaborators and folks who want to be part of this with me. Its so important, and so overlooked. We can do better for our moms than what is being offered. Thanks so much, I hope to hear from you!

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  • Quick Update
    Hi Everyone, Thank you to everyone who has submitted feedback to me on this so far! While I do believe funding is possible, and would be nice, it was not my primary objective here. What I am looking for are a few sharp innovative folks to collaborate with and want to be part of this as a partner. It would be a group effort so to speak! I have all the preliminary work done, but it needs other sets of eyes, feedback, suggestions and recommendations. If that sounds like you, then please message me here! Thank you so much, Allyson

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Allyson Cote
CoFounder/Chief Operating Officer/Product Manager

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