January 10, 2018

How Ovia Health Creates a Better Environment for Fertility, Maternity and Parenting Support

Ovia Health helps women start families by providing support from preconception and pregnancy through postpartum and parenthood. Ovia Health is reimagining the way women and families engage with their healthcare, and transforming the way employers support women and families in the workplace.

For employers, solving these problems helps reduce turnover and its associated costs. According to SHRM, turnover can constitute 50% or more of an employee’s annual salary. Family concerns also affect turnover for a large segment of the population, with an Ovia Health study finding that 34% of women decide to leave their job once they have a baby. According to a Towers Watson survey, some 84% of women expressed interest in changing positions due to differences in maternity benefits.

As CEO and co-founder of Ovia Health, Paris Wallace has helped establish the company as a leader in pregnancy, fertility, and parental empowerment resources for women. He has mentored and advised young companies, lecturing on entrepreneurship at platforms including as Harvard Business School and MIT.

Wallace recently sat down with us to explain how Ovia Health helps women starting families utilize a working “ecosystem” of support that reduces turnover, improves health outcomes, and lays the right foundation for starting a healthy family.

Tell us a little bit about Ovia Health and its mission.

Ovia Health is the leading technology platform for women and families. We help change the way that families receive support in the workplace by offering maternity and family benefits to employers. Our mission is simple: improve the world for women and families. We do this by providing a platform for women to learn about the best decisions for their health and lifestyle.

Ovia Health started in 2012, and our efforts began because there’s a gap between what families need in the workplace versus what the average employer typically provides. That gap means that people starting families can have difficulty returning to work because they’re not receiving the support they need. We went employers to attract and retain these talented people because it’s best for everyone involved.

What issues do women seeking maternity face in the workplace?

We’ve identified a number of issues for women. The first centers around their health: women are not getting guideline-driven care to improve their health and improve their outcomes. Second, companies are having more and more difficulty recruiting and keeping millennial families.

According to a recent survey conducted by Towers Watson, 84% of women would be willing to change their employer based on their maternity benefits. In a study we just published in collaboration with the National Business Group on Health, we found that 34% of women are leaving their jobs after giving birth. This leads to huge turnover, which adds up to huge costs for employers.

We also have to consider the complications that can arise from pregnancy, as well. If a woman develops gestational diabetes, she will suddenly have to deal with an entirely new set of questions. What does it mean in terms of her benefits? In terms of her choices? In terms of her pregnancy? Our solution is there for these women, and our partnership with Castlight ensures that users can navigate these issues seamlessly.

How does Ovia Health address these issues?

We have a proven, effective program to both improve clinical outcomes and reduce costs across fertility, pregnancy, and through to postpartum. Our best-in-class benefits navigation platform improves benefits utilization, but also supports the entire family throughout their journey.

We also have a “Return to Work” program centered on both sides of the equation, helping employers provide the support that employees need to have confident that this environment is the place for them. It lays out a pathway for these employees to use the latest research and take advantage of every opportunity in front of them, which helps reduce turnover.

What are the challenges of being a working family?

Being a working family can be extraordinarily difficult. It’s hard to get guideline-driven care to ensure you have a great health outcome. It’s hard to figure out what benefits are available from fertility to postpartum and everything in between. Given how hard it is for women to return to the workforce– with about one-third of women leaving their jobs after giving birth– it’s clear that the entire process can take a toll on a family and women in particular.

How have employees responded to Ovia Health?

Employees really love Ovia Health. They’re looking for support in this time of their life, which is why we’re seeing engagement levels of 30 engagements per month–every day, our users are using Ovia to share what’s going on in their lives, read about their benefits, and get answers to their questions that they can’t seem to get anywhere else.

We’ve seen consistent results, as well. Throughout our mutual partners with Castlight, we’ve seen over 1,000 pregnancies now, and there’s nothing better than hearing these mothers report a great experience as they start their families.

Describe the partnership with Castlight.

The partnership with Castlight has been great. We’ve had companies tell us that their integration with Ovia Health was the easiest they’ve ever done. We had the advantage of starting up early with Castlight, because we realized how valuable it would be to identify and engage parents who were pregnant or trying to conceive. Castlight immediately understood how important maternity was and how developing these support systems could have an immediate and positive impact on our customers.

Our first work together was through an amazing client in California. They had previously had very low engagement with their maternity program and asked Castlight if they could find a partner to help support their employees. We partnered up with Castlight and got to work with the solution. Very shortly, the client saw a 300% increase in employee engagement. We’ve since rolled out those same platforms and seen similar success to several other clients.

For more information about Ovia Health, visit

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