Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the physical and emotional changes that one experiences during pregnancy and after giving birth were already mixed with excitement and challenges. But now, pregnancy and childbirth is a transition that looks a little different amid the COVID-19 healthcare crisis. In early spring, hospitals began to ban partners from being in the hospital room before, during and after childbirth which meant many individuals gave birth alone and had to navigate new parent-hood without their support system until they were discharged. Expecting parents were also more isolated prior to giving birth, and then again when they returned home with their new bundle of joy. Instead of being visited by friends and family, they social distanced to keep baby safe.
At a time where 30% of millennials report feeling lonely often or always, it is crucial to help build support systems for challenging transitions like parenthood. Early data show that pregnant and postpartum people have reported increased levels of depression and anxiety amidst COVID-19. Medical literature demonstrates that social support can have a strong protective role in helping prevent perinatal depression and anxiety – challenges that cost roughly $14B+ in medical costs and productivity losses per year.While most of the aforementioned restrictions have been lifted, pregnancy and childbirth in a COVID world still has its challenges, and social distancing is certainly still at play. Right now, and always, connection is so important, so how can employers support expecting parents during such a major life transition?
Vendor Spotlight: June
Meet June, a digital maternal care company offering evidence-based education, expert coaching, and small-group support to expecting and new families. June’s core products are a 10-week virtual Prenatal and a 10-week Postpartum program that are OB/GYN-approved and designed to drive positive health outcomes. They help families feel more prepared, confident, and empowered on their parenthood journeys. This is a fundamentally new model of digital care where community is at the center. We had the opportunity to speak with June’s Co-Founder and CEO, Tina Beilinson to learn all about June, why it was created and how it can hep support new and expecting parents/families!
Why was June Created? One of the main drivers of poor maternal health outcomes is the care gap that exists throughout pregnancy and in postpartum. Most birthing people have to wait at least 10-12 weeks until their first OBGYN appointment. Once they begin seeing their doctor, their appointments are only 15 minutes long. To make matters worse, new birthing people have just one visit with their doctor during the postpartum period, a time when 70% of birth complications arise and up to 15% suffer from postpartum depression. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology states that “To optimize the health of women and infants, postpartum care should become an ongoing process, rather than a single encounter, with services and support tailored to each woman’s individual needs.” It takes a village to raise a child, and the June model of care focuses on providing ongoing, personalized support for one of life’s most important transitions.
What differentiates June from other prenatal/postpartum supports? There aren’t any digital health solutions in the market today that are centered around community-based care, but there is an abundance of clinical literature around the role of group-based care in improving outcomes and increasing levels of knowledge and engagement. Other digital offerings are intermediaries, connecting families to their networks of providers on a one-on-one basis. As such, care is reactive and of varying quality. Instead of further fragmenting the healthcare system, June’s proprietary curriculum complements the care of an OBGYN, enabling the time spent with a doctor to be focused on acute needs. The programs leverage the power of group learning to foster connection and create strong support systems. This results in higher customer satisfaction, increased learning and engagement, and lower costs.
What is the 10-week program experience? June offers 10 week programs focused on pre-natal and postpartum. Regardless of the program, when families join June, they get paired with 5-7 other families in their June Circle which is designed to drive connection and encourage peer-to-peer support, which is especially important in a time when families feel more isolated than ever. Expert coaches guide participants through proprietary curriculum and build trusted relationships with their June Circles through bi-weekly live sessions and a guided chat for the duration of the experience. Families can also access learning modules and exercises through the June App. June offers virtual lactation counseling with IBCLCs and a la carte classes like infant CPR with certified professionals.In addition to important topics like childbirth education, breastfeeding, and newborn care, June also covers critical topics such as how to manage the return to work, involving your partner during labor, reintroducing intimacy with your partner, and actively participating in decision-making with your provider.
Who are the expert coaches? June onlyhire’s only the very best, just 6% of those that apply, and trains all of their providers in house. Expert coaches consist of OBGYN’s, childbirth educators, doulas, IBCLC’s (internationally board certified lactation consultant) and registered nurses.
How does June address Diversity and inclusivity? June’s commitment to diversity and inclusion starts with mission and values. Every birthing person has the right to high quality, affordable care and June recognizes that countless families and birthing people have been left behind by the system that exists today. June proudly celebrates all birthing journeys and strives to use gender neutral language in materials to reflect the diversity of birthing people and family structures. They have designed programs using balanced and inclusive language that ensures all feel welcome and supported in June’s communities. Commitment to diversity is also reflected by June’s providers. They are representative of the communities June serves and include individuals identifying as Black, Latinx, and LGBTQ+. Becoming a parent is one of life’s biggest transitions, no matter the path taken. June also actively welcomes families who adopt to join their community and wants to support the unique journeys of parents, families, and birthing people of all backgrounds.
Are partners welcome to the programs? Yes, partners are encouraged to attend June sessions! June actively engages partners in both the prenatal and postpartum programs and finds that most involve a partner or family member in supporting them on their journey with June.
What are employees saying about their employers who offer June? Having a competitive family benefits package and support for return to work is essential in today’s battle for attracting and retaining talent. In a world where millennial’s make up nearly 75% of the workforce and 90% of those expecting a child, competitive solutions need to be designed around digitally native expectations. 96% of millennials say that health benefits are the most important factor when choosing between two positions that have comparable pay and responsibilities. And, 75% of millennials say they prefer telemedicine as their mode of care. June provides an accessible virtual model of care that meets employees where they are, helping them feel confident and supported throughout their entire journey from pregnancy through return to work. June customers like Nora say they couldn’t imagine having gone through this journey without June, feeling grateful that they “had others to turn to both to celebrate the joys of motherhood and to lean on during the tougher moments.
Are June’s programs FSA/HSA eligible? Yes! June’s a la carte programs (anything not included in the 10-week programs) are also eligible for FSA/HSA spend. When families join June, they’re assigned a Care Coordinator that can support them through the reimbursement process. June also offers a B2C products, and most health plans reimburse up to 50% of June’s prenatal program.
June was designed by and for millennial families and offers employers the opportunity to attract world class talent and improve workforce productivity with a competitive family health benefit at an affordable price point, a win-win for employers and employees. Employees can conveniently build their support systems and access prenatal education, postpartum care, lactation consultations, return to work guidance, and much more – all virtually through June’s mobile and web app. June is a great option for employers looking to support expecting and new parents with the highest quality maternal care experts at an accessible price point. Employers that already have a fertility benefit will find that June is a natural extension to this offering, creating support systems for families that last all the way through the return to work journey. Ensuring families feel emotionally and physically supported for this transition is an essential part of what June does.
For more information on June, click here.