When Adrianne Nickerson became pregnant, she started to hear stories from friends about less than satisfactory experiences with birth care teams. A Brooklyn resident for over a decade, she also found herself trekking into Manhattan for her doctor’s visits. 

With the aims of ensuring other Brooklyn women could have access to high quality birth care when they were pregnant, Nickerson and friend Elaine Purcell took matters into their own hands and founded Oula.

Oula is one of Brooklyn’s first modern maternity centers, combining obstetrics and midwifery through a wide range of services from tele-health, bloodwork and doula services, to extensive fourth-trimester care. Nickerson said it was built with comfort in mind, and valued the excitement and hope that came with pregnancy.

Interior at Oula. Photo: Supplied.

“In building Oula, we wanted to give pregnant people access to convenient care in Brooklyn, but with the option for their labor and delivery to be in a Manhattan-based hospital, something that is hard to come by with a lot of Brooklyn-based practices,” Nickerson said.

Last week, Oula announced the opening of its first state of the art prenatal clinic in Brooklyn Heights. Located at 109 Montague Street, the expansive 2,000 square foot facility now serves as a physical extension of Oula’s pre-existing integrated technology platform.

According to CDC data, there are nearly 3.8 million live births per year across the nation, and despite an investment of $111 billion per year towards maternal and newborn care, the U.S. continues to experience the worst maternal health outcomes among developed countries.

Nickerson said the reality was that there was not equal access to high quality maternity care, and that was one of the main factors in launching Oula in New York.

“In New York specifically, Black mothers are 12 times more likely to die than white mothers,” Nickerson said. “These disparities are associated with poor access, a lack of communication, and frankly respect for women of color.”

Oula offers virtual and in-person appointments to expecting mothers, and although COVID-19 has temporarily halted the group sessions, there are plans to add more group care and events when COVID-19 permits, Nickeron said, as well as adding birthing suites to a second location.To book an in-person or virtual appointment visit here.

Kimberlean Donis

Kimberlean Donis is a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn. She is a student at both London City University and Williams College majoring in Political Science, Art History, and Africana Studies.

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