Chelsea Clinton and Allyson Felix Join Oula and Glamour for a Conversation on the Future of Maternity Care

Modern maternity clinic Oula, in partnership with Glamour, convened leaders from across the fields of healthcare, advocacy, media, and business for a conversation about the dire state of U.S. maternity care, and the need for a new approach that will deliver better health outcomes as well as an excellent patient experience.

Wednesday’s gathering, held at New York City’s Freehand Hotel, opened with a panel discussion moderated by public health expert and early Oula investor Chelsea Clinton. As part of the panel, Olympian Allyson Felix described how her personal experience turned her into a lifelong advocate for Black maternal health and Glamour Executive Editor Natasha Pearlman addressed the title’s continued commitment to covering issues like maternity care and paid family leave with the urgency and rigor they deserve. Oula co-founder and COO Elaine Purcell also took part in the discussion alongside Oula Lead Midwife Saonjie Hamilton, underscoring the need to expand access to midwife-led models of care. Attendees also heard from Glamour Americas Editorial Director Samantha Barry, Oula CEO and co-founder Adrianne Nickerson, Chief Experience Officer Joanne Schneider DeMeireles, and Medical Director Dr. Ila Dayananda.

Those in attendance included American Ballet Theater Principal Dancer and author Misty Copeland, journalist Gayle King, Planned Parenthood President Alexis McGill Johnson, Moms First and Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani, Paid Leave for All founding director Dawn Huckelbridge, author and activist Hannah Bronfman, and former patient Peloton instructor Becs Gentry.

Oula, recently named in the healthcare category of Fast Company’s 2023 Most Innovative Companies list, was founded in 2020 and has since been making the case for a data-backed model of collaborative care, which combines midwives and obstetricians, as a mainstream solution to the tragic outcomes, horrific experiences, and high costs that define maternity care in the United States.

At present, the U.S.’s maternal mortality, NICU, and cesarean rates are the highest in the developed world. A woman today is 50 percent more likely than her own mother to die in pregnancy or childbirth, and those numbers are even higher for Black women. Compared to women in other high-income countries, women in the U.S. report the least positive experiences in healthcare, and have the highest rate of emotional distress among developed nations.

Research consistently shows that midwives are one of the most effective interventions to  improve health outcomes. However, the U.S. has been slow to embrace this finding, with only 4 midwives per 1,000 births compared to many European countries, which have 5 to 10 times as many.

“When it comes to maternity care, our country has a lot of room for improvement, and that’s putting it mildly,” said Chelsea Clinton, public health advocate, Metrodora co-founder and Oula investor. “Midwives and collaborative care are an integral part of improving maternal health, and I’m honored to be a part of this conversation today. Change-makers like Allyson Felix and innovators like Oula are leading the way to show what’s possible when people have the support and care they deserve at every step of their pregnancy journey.”

“When we first opened Oula, we wondered whether people would really be willing to deliver their babies with a startup. More than 600 births later, the answer has been a resounding ‘Yes!’,” said Adrianne Nickerson, co-founder and CEO of Oula. “Today’s gathering affirms what we hear from our patients every day: People are seeking out a fundamentally different approach to pregnancy care. This work is bigger than any one person or one company, and we’re enormously grateful to everyone who joined us to talk about the future of maternity care.”

“For more than 80 years, Glamour has been fighting for women,” said Samantha Barry, Glamour Americas Editorial Director. “It’s appalling how little has changed for maternity care in this country during that time. The idea that everyone deserves to be safe, supported, and cared for from their first pregnancy test through early parenthood and beyond shouldn’t be a radical idea, and we’re proud to support Oula’s work and use our platform to help advocate for the change we so desperately need.”

“Birth should be a beautiful thing,” said Allyson Felix, Olympian and co-founder of Saysh, and mom. “Instead, for too many women, especially Black women, it’s terrifying and traumatic. It’s past time for that to change. It’s encouraging to spend an afternoon in the company of people who are committed not only to bringing attention to what’s broken in maternity care, but working together to fix it.”

Oula takes all major insurances, including Medicaid, which one in five Oula patients rely on.  54 percent of patients identify as non-white or Hispanic, and one in 10 patients are LGBTQ+. Oula is located at 109 Montague Street in Brooklyn and 202 Spring Street in Manhattan. To learn more about Oula, or to book an appointment, please visit