Be Aware of Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Prevention Before Pregnancy

Dr. Melvin Echols, Associate Professor of Medicine at Morehouse School of Medicine, discusses his work as a cardiologist with experience treating pregnant patients and new mothers battling preeclampsia or eclampsia, hypertension and, in some cases, even heart failure. "Overall, we have seen this quite a bit in African American mothers," Dr. Echols says. "The mother is the helm of our society," he says, especially in the Black community, "so when a mother is taking care of herself, and she's well balanced, the family is taken care of and well balanced."

Given the significantly higher incidence rate of cardiac diseases among the African American population, it's very important for expectant and new mothers to be aware of cardiovascular risk factors and prevention—ideally before pregnancy, that way you won't have to deal with treatment or management of cardiovascular issues while pregnant.

Visit OWN's Heart Health page throughout the month of February for vital updates and information about cardiac disease prevention.