3 Basic Action Steps That Will Improve Black Maternal Health Outcomes

Dr. Bola Sogade is a board-certified OB-GYN specializing in minimally-invasive robotic gynecologic surgery and the founder of the first freestanding birthing center that is physician-led in the State of Georgia. Her husband, Dr. Felix Sogade, is a board-certified cardiologist and electrophysiologist.

Together, the Sogades run a practice in Georgia called Georgia Arrhythmia Consultants. They also lead the Georgia Arrhythmia Foundation, a community effort to raise awareness about cardiac issues relating to sudden death and basic life-resuscitating efforts. This education is vital for rural minority populations where emergency services are limited.

As a family, the Sogades have worked tirelessly to advance the cause of Black maternal health. Their work has shown them, time and again, that Black women face higher barriers to the pillars of health—access to good nutrition, the opportunity to exercise and de-stress and, most importantly, the opportunity to have underlying conditions diagnosed and managed before pregnancy.

Making healthcare access and outcomes more equitable for Black women remains an uphill battle, but early education around nutrition, cardiac health and prenatal care can save lives. Here are some simple action steps the Sogades urge everyone watching this to follow:

1. Know your blood pressure and your hemoglobin A1C (i.e., blood sugar).
2. Exercise regularly to maintain an ideal body weight as best as you can.
3. Build a support team around yourself to reduce psychosocial stress.

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