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Maternity Landscape

An interactive data visualization that enables people to explore the most common maternity topics and anecdotes

Motherhood as labor

When my partner and I first approached the Harvard Master in Design Engineering Studio theme of the future of work, we decided to focus on maternity. We considered maternity to be a distinct category of labor that holds a place of great personal significance and profound meaning for numerous individuals. 

The primary objective of our visualization is to uncover the labor involved in starting a family by mapping the emotional landscape of maternity topics and experiences. 


Our project is an interactive data visualization that allows a user to explore the most common maternity topics/experiences and the emotions involved based on tens of thousands of anecdotes from mothers sharing their experiences online. 


Design & development


Interactive data visulization


September - October 2023

Information overload & social constructs

Maternity constitutes a distinct and meaningful category of labor, holding a place of high personal significance for numerous individuals.

When undergoing the maternity process, there is an overwhelming amount of information to take in from doctor's opinions, friends, family, and social media perspectives. 


Mommy blogs & Reddit

In order to uncover the most authentic and honest experiences related to motherhood, we explored Mommy Blogs. Mommy Blogs are online communities dedicated to pregnancy/parenthood. 

We determined that the Reddit forum r/BabyBumps provides a rich source of unfiltered and relatable insights into the challenges, joys and day-to-day experiences of motherhood. 


The sub-Reddit r/babybumps has nearly 400k members, over 2k people online, and is a top 1% Reddit site. 

A data exploration tool for all

In our project, we identified three primary personas: new mothers, friends & family, and entrepreneurs/innovators. These personas guided every design decision to ensure our visualization was empathetic, accurate, respectful, educational and empowering. 


Scraping Reddit data

To answer our research question evaluating the most common topics and experiences related to maternity, we Implemented and ran a scraping script to pull posts from r/Babybumps from January 1st 2022 to June 30th 2023. 

Our analysis can be understood as a five-step process where we used a range of tools and technologies such as Python, PushPull API, OpenAI GPT-3.5 Turbo API, Javascript, React.js, HTML, CSS,, and Github pages.

Our 5-step data scraping process

The emotion:topic relationship

After our design research, we found that the emotions related to each maternity topic were the most insightful. After understanding Plutchik's Color Wheel, we decided that 12 emotions would guide our data discovery process: frustration, fear, shame, anxiety, sadness, anger, excitement, desire, surprise, happiness, gratitude, and love. 

Visual of the emotion:topic scraping in a sample Reddit post

A glimpse into our prototyping iterations

With over 50 prototypes created of varying data visualizations, we looked to create an engaging way that promoted usability and an un-biased way to view maternity topics and emotions. 

Emotion Clouds

Key features: 

  • Nuanced qualitative expression of the emotion: topic pairs 

  • Does not easily visualize the scale 


  • "This is beautiful and encapsulates the complex emotions that are felt throughout the maternity process.:

With each iterations, we considered the scale of information, and how to best account for concealing our data scraping process. We looked to P5 and D3 for interactive visualizations.

Qualitative tooltip

Emotional clouds: qualitative expression


Excel grid

Key features: 

  • Shows the scale and magnitude felt for each topic:emotion pair 

  • Lacks emotional expressiveness 


  • "This prototype is more usable, but does not depict the emotional side of maternal emotions."

Excel prototype: qualitative expression


To best visualize the landscape of experiences extracted from r/BabyBumps for each of our users, our visualization enables users to interact with the r/BabyBumps data in a variety of ways. 

This visualization aims to shed light on the hidden efforts and profound emotions that encompass the path to parenthood, providing a more comprehensive and empathetic understanding of this transformative experience.

Final design.png
Design decision breakdown:


Ensures that the visualization provides a truthful representation of maternity experiences and emotions


Ensures that the visualization resonates with the audience on a deeply personal level


Acknowledges the strength and challenges they face, and avoiding stigmatizing personal experiences


Navigates the challenges and joys of maternity, while understanding and improving support systems for mothers and parents



Overall, our visualization is successful in addressing the challenges the new mothers, friends & family, and entrepreneurs face in their ability to explore the most common maternity topics/experiences and emotions.  


  • New mothers can now feel more prepared, less isolated and more emotionally supported

  • Friends and family now have the potential to facilitate more meaningful and compassionate interactions

  • Entrepreneurs can now form data-driven understandings of the unmet needs, leading to more empathetic solutions for new mother

Future considerations

As we look into the future, we have two main goals. 

  1. Explore additional topic clustering: Identify topic-themes based on similar topics to further stratify the data and create additional opportunities for topic exploration (i.e, filtering by topic-themes such as physical symptoms, mental health, products, etc.) 

  2. Apply data pipeline to additional data sets: Apply the data scraping, analysis and visualization to other forums such as r/BeyondtheBump or even Amazon reviews for specific maternity-related products (to extract the most commonly discussed product features, how they made users feel, and anecdotal experiences of why they made users feel that way)

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