MAGNOLIA

A product-service ecology that helps prevent the onset of postpartum depression.

 
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Overview

Magnolia is an integrated product-service ecology that helps new mothers navigate their postpartum experience and possibly prevent the onset of postpartum depression. 

Project Details

Project Skills Systems Design, Design Research, User Experience
Project Advisor Hugh Dubberly
Duration 3 weeks (April 2018)

 
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Challenge

Becoming a new mother is a life changing experience. As a new mother, you’re expected to be happy. But in reality, postpartum depression is a common repercussion of new motherhood in today’s world.

 
 
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Primary Research

To gain a deeper understanding of Postpartum Depression (PPD), which occurs after childbirth, I interviewed new mothers diagnosed with PPD. One of the main takeaways from these interviews highlighted the stigma and lack of support associated with PPD which leads to many mothers suffering in silence.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Experiencing Postpartum 

This is Ira’s typical day before she was diagnosed. With barely 4 hours of sleep, unable to breastfeed as often as she should and having peak hours of stress mostly during nights and daytime, she asked for the help and treatment needed to feel better. 

 
 
 
 

 

Key Findings

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If PPD is left untreated and not intervened in the right stage, it can lead to psychosis and suicidal thoughts. 

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It not only affects the mother, but also has an impact on the cognitive and emotional development
of the child
.

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Since there’s shame and skepticism about the illness, it is a tabooed conversation topic

 
 

Initial Study

An ongoing research study which is being conducted all over United States — The Magnolia Study specifies that a sudden drop in pregnancy hormones may play a role in triggering postpartum depression, especially a drop in a neurosteriod called Allopregnannolone.

 
 
 
 
 

In the first 24 hours after childbirth, allopregnananolone drops rapidly and takes almost two weeks to a month to reach its desired state. Almost 80 percent of postpartum mothers will report mood changes also known as ‘baby blues’, but it is when the symptoms aggravate to over a month, mothers are screened for postpartum depression

 

 

Ideation & Wireframing

Based on the research findings, I mapped out the overall ecosystem and designed components to address different scenarios like early detection and management.

 
 
 
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Magnolia Application

The application shows hormone levels, signals patch to release hormones into the bloodstream, and also talks to the caregiving network.

 
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Hormone-Monitoring & Therapeutic Patch

The patch has hormone monitoring and injection technology which provides a continuous release of hormones directly into your bloodstream.

 
 

 

Concept

The initial solution is based on two key interventions - patch and application. The user conceptual model shows how a new mother would use all the components in the system. The built-in feedback mechanism in the system helps new mothers to — monitor hormone levels, receive timely dosage of hormones, and helps stay connected with their partner and the caregiving network.

 
 
 
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Mapping the future system

Zooming out, this is how the caregiving network looks like with the new mother at the center. The caregiving network responds in real time to screen PPD symptoms and take key decisions like changes in hormone dosage or removal of the patch.

 
 
 
 
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For new mothers 

New mothers would be notified when their hormones drop. Once you open the application, it reads the current hormone level and that the required hormone is being released into your bloodstream, requesting you to check back after 30 mins. When you check back, it shows the desired state.

 
 
 
 

For Nurse Practitioner/Doctor  

Separate logins and dashboards for nurse practitioners and doctors enables discreet viewing of patient information and monitoring patient health status, helping act in real time.

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Feedback

The concept was shared with new mothers, expecting parents and designers working in the healthcare industry.

“It’s an interesting concept. I wish it was already available so that I could use it to understand what’s happening in my body.”

"You appear to be simplifying the problem space in an effort to find neat solutions. Expand the scope of your solutions.”

“What are the competitive solutions in this space?”

 
 

 

Learnings

As designers, we have the ability to lead difficult conversations into tangible, testable solutions and this project has given me both the tools and processes to identify opportunities where design can have meaningful impact.
 

The beauty and challenge of interaction design is that we are designing systems with myriad complexities and adjacencies—in users' unpredictable behaviors, business constraints, technology complexities, etc. Since PPD is a multidimensional issue, I would like to expand my thinking into something beyond just a hormone level.