Yuzi Care Values: Care, Confidence, Connection.

How Yuzi Wants to Improve Postpartum Care in the United States Drawing on Inspiration from Asia

  • Publisher: FemTech Insider
  • Published On: Feb 15, 2024
  • Category: Press Feature

Yuzi, led by founder Stephiney Foley, brings a fresh perspective to maternal health. With firsthand experience of postpartum challenges, Foley’s vision for Yuzi is centered on redefining the post-delivery experience for new mothers in the US. Inspired by cultural traditions like “zuo yuezi,” Yuzi blends tradition with modernity, offering retreat experiences prioritizing comprehensive care, confidence-building, and community support. Set to launch its inaugural retreats in May, Yuzi aims to provide mothers with a sanctuary to heal, bond with their newborns, and access essential services within luxurious accommodations.

Utilizing cutting-edge technology, including artificial intelligence, Yuzi also plans to customize its services to cater to the individual needs of each mother, enhancing the postpartum journey with personalized support and resources. In our interview Founder Stephiney Foley provides insights into Yuzi’s founding principles, its distinctive approach to postpartum care, and its vision for the future of maternal healthcare.

Stephiney, your transition from a military leader and Amazon executive to founding Yuzi is quite remarkable. Can you share how your diverse experiences influenced your decision to start Yuzi and the skills you’ve brought from these roles to your entrepreneurial journey?

Throughout my professional career, I’ve always been drawn to the challenge of solving complex problems and making a significant positive impact. This common thread led me to West Point, the U.S. Army, Tesla, and Amazon, where the scale and impact of the work were particularly appealing.

As an immigrant and woman of color navigating roles in the military and the tech industry, predominantly male-dominated spaces, two key transferable skills have been instrumental: adaptability and grit— the determination to never give up. These qualities have proven invaluable in facing the challenges of entrepreneurship and steering Yuzi toward its mission of serving and empowering mothers in America.

Yuzi addresses a significant gap in postpartum care. What inspired you to focus specifically on this aspect of motherhood, and how does Yuzi’s approach differ from traditional post-delivery support?

In America, when you are pregnant, you are put on a pedestal, but after you give birth you are invisible. That is something that I heard from many mothers and families. Almost EVERY WOMAN up to 85% of mothers will experience some kind of postpartum depression.

The genesis of Yuzi lies in my personal battle and journey with postpartum depression after the birth of my second baby. After speaking with hundreds of moms and families, I realized the magnitude of this universal issue. Shockingly, the maternal mortality rate in the U.S. has doubled over the past decade, indicating a glaring gap in maternal care. Yuzi aims to address this gap by focusing on what we call the three pillars of C’s: Care, Confidence, and Community.

The concept of “zuo yuezi” significantly influences Yuzi’s philosophy. Can you explain how this cultural practice inspired Yuzi’s retreats and services?

Being of Chinese American heritage, I am familiar with the significant benefits of drawing inspiration from the ancient Chinese practice of Zuo YueZi, which, in turn, inspired the name Yuzi. However, it’s crucial to note that this influence extends beyond China. Around the globe, various countries practice their versions of Yuezi, such as Kramzorg in the Netherlands and Denmark and Sanhujori in Korea and many other places.

These practices provide crucial support during the initial days of the postpartum journey, aligning with Yuzi’s emphasis on “Care” and “Confidence”, however, Yuzi seeks to elevate this experience by introducing an additional element – “Community.” Beyond the essentials of helping mothers recover from delivery (Care) and teaching them foundational infant care (Confidence), we are dedicated to establishing connections among mothers, families, and providers, creating a supportive community network. Yuzi aspires to transcend geographical boundaries, fostering a global platform that unites families in the shared journey of care and community.

You mentioned the high costs of postpartum care and your approach similar to Tesla’s, starting with an affluent audience before expanding. How do you plan to make Yuzi’s services more accessible to a broader demographic in the future?

Yuzi is a mission driven company on a mission to reimagine maternal care experiences in America for mothers, families, and caregivers. As the CEO of Yuzi, I understand the importance of making our services accessible to a broader demographic. While our initial focus may be on serving those who can afford our services, we are committed to our mission of democratizing maternal care in America. One way we’re addressing this is through our “Sponsor a Mom” program, allowing companies or individuals to sponsor visits for those in need. Additionally, we pledge a percentage of our revenue to match these sponsorships, ensuring more mothers have access to our care.

Furthermore, I envision Yuzi evolving into a tri-care model, where the cost is shared among employers, employees, and government assistance programs. By partnering with various stakeholders and advocating for policy changes, we aim to reduce financial barriers and expand access to quality postnatal care for all parents, regardless of their socioeconomic status.

The retreat experience Yuzi offers includes meals, support from specialists, and an opportunity for mothers to heal. Can you delve deeper into what a typical day at a Yuzi retreat looks like and the unique benefits it offers?

The Yuzi retreat experience goes beyond the basics, offering a holistic and enriching environment for mothers to heal and thrive. Here’s a glimpse into a typical day at a Yuzi retreat, where every detail is tailored to cater to the well-being of both mothers and babies:

Within 24-48 hours post-hospital discharge, guests arrive at our soon-to-be-announced picturesque property in February. With a seamless check-in process facilitated by the Yuzi team, mothers can entrust their babies to the expert staff in the nursery. Meanwhile, the mother is guided to her luxurious room, providing a tranquil space for recovery.

Throughout the retreat, mothers are treated to three nutritious meals meticulously crafted by our top-rated chef and culinary teams. These meals not only nourish the body but contribute to overall well-being. In addition to these essential elements, Yuzi takes pride in curating a dynamic program of activities based on individual preferences. Mothers have the option to participate in rejuvenating yoga or stretching sessions, indulge in spa treatments for relaxation, and engage in optional community-building activities. At Yuzi, the choice is entirely up to the mothers, ensuring a personalized and empowering experience.

Further enhancing the experience is the exclusive Mother’s Lounge—a haven where mothers can connect with our team of experts, find relaxation, and build connections with one another. Complimentary snacks and other offerings add a touch of warmth to this inviting space, creating a supportive environment for shared experiences and personal rejuvenation. Explore more details on our FAQ page for a comprehensive understanding of the transformative journey.

As a technology leader at Amazon and now at Yuzi, how are you leveraging technology to enhance the postpartum experience for new mothers?

Similar to many startups, we are leveraging cutting-edge technology to revolutionize the postpartum experience for new mothers. At Yuzi, we’re harnessing the power of technologies like generative artificial intelligence (AI) to scale our services rapidly and iterate on our offerings efficiently. By integrating AI-driven solutions into our platform, we aim to personalize and optimize the postpartum care journey for each mother, providing tailored support and resources that meet her unique needs. Whether it’s enhancing communication channels, providing personalized care plans, or offering virtual support groups, technology plays a pivotal role in enhancing the overall postpartum experience and empowering mothers on their journey to parenthood.

The United States faces challenges with maternal healthcare, particularly postpartum care. How does Yuzi aim to address these systemic issues, and what changes would you like to see at the legislative and employer levels?

Yuzi is passionate about advancing maternal care in America, and we CANNOT do it alone. The doubling of the maternal mortality rate in the past two decades, coupled with the staggering statistic that 85% of women in America experience some form of postpartum blues, including depression and anxiety, underscores the urgent need for legislative changes. We believe we need to advocate for policies that prioritize maternal health, such as increased access to mental health resources, paid parental leave, and coverage for postpartum care services. We believe that by working together with policymakers, employers, and healthcare providers, we can create a healthier and more supportive environment for mothers and families across the United States.

Could you share more about Yuzi’s future plans, especially regarding fundraising, the development of your platform and community for new parents?

We’re thrilled to unveil our future plans, starting with the opening of our Seattle location in May ’24 and subsequent expansions to new locations shortly after. With our Seattle location, we will listen, learn, and evolve based on our customers’ valuable feedback to continually improve our services. Our vision is to harness technology to create the world’s largest maternal care network and develop the most advanced care platform, revolutionizing support for mothers, their families, and care professionals. As part of our growth strategy, we’re actively seeking fundraising opportunities to fuel the expansion of our platform and community for new parents, ensuring that Yuzi leads the way in maternal healthcare innovation.

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