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Name: Jill Bigelow

Business: PELV-ICE LLC

Location: Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Industry: Healthcare, Wellness & Fitness

Reason for starting? I am on a mission to eliminate postpartum morbidity and mortality through technology enabled education, care and synced medical devices. I started my mission 5 years ago when I invented PELV-ICE, a utility patented total pelvic support with multi-directional compression and ice/heat therapy. The device, named Mama Strut (a strut is an engineering device that resists pressure and also means to walk with a proud gait) was specifically designed to manage pain, swelling, pressure and bleeding postpartum. Mama Strut is highly effective but will not stop a women from an un-managed blood pressure illness or infection so, we recently partnered with Omron and Blue Spark Technologies to integrate blood pressure and temperature tracking with our pain management system. We are catching issues before they become problems. The platform, designed for mobile use, will give the patient access to evidenced based education, telemedicine and physical nurse/doctor visits. This is truly a revolution in post-birth care. 

Related: Female Entrepreneurs and Maternity Leave 

How do you define success? I am solving a real problem for real people. I identified a huge gap in women’s health care and am making huge strides to fix it. This will effect generations of not just women but families forever. Professional success is definitely a journey and not a destination for me. I have minor successes all the time that I try and celebrate to keep me moving forward towards my massive goal of changing the standard of care for all 130,000,000 women that give birth a year. You have to allow yourself those mini successes or the journey becomes too rough. Every day when I get an email, call or a Facebook post from a new mama telling me how much Mama Strut is helping her, I consider that a huge success along the path from one patient to millions.

Biggest success: Commercializing the idea that became PELV-ICE is my biggest success to date. Of course this success is not complete until we reach every mama, but all the huge steps that I have taken thus far to get to being commercially available is huge.

What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? My number one challenge is marketing/brand awareness. It is so expensive to get your brand seen and to let people know your product is available. The fact that Mama Strut is an entirely new category is a benefit and a challenge. We have to educate users, doctors and nurses on why they should change their behavior. I go to medical conventions and do demos for physicians and nurses and we advertise on social media. We are just hiring labor and delivery nurses to work for us part-time to be the on the ground sales force to get to every OB office and hospital in the country. This will be more effective than reaching one mama at a time because the health care providers see hundreds or more each a year.

Related: In Rural Uganda, Women Supporting Women 

Who is your most important role model? My mom is my most important role model. She has taught me the importance of empathy, character, commitment and hard work. She is my #1 fan and cheerleader.

Twitter   @pelv_ice
Instagram   @mamastrut

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Edited by The Story Exchange