Over 100 doulas and postpartum professionals make the commitment to ensure maternal health is a priority everywhere

The American Heart Association Hampton Roads held a symposium for area doulas to discuss the changes, causes and impacts of cardiovascular disease in pregnant and postpartum women

Pregnancy related deaths are on the rise, the cause – cardiovascular disease. Women are experiencing traumatic pre and postpartum complications that have caused what’s supposed to be some of the brightest, most memorable moments, to the darkest in a heartbeat. Pregnancy-related deaths in the US have risen 140% over the last three decades and black women face a greater risk of developing high blood pressure, having a stroke or developing complications during or immediately after pregnancy.

The American Heart Association and CVS Health Foundation are actively working in communities to change the narrative and support the realities of what mothers are experiencing day in and day out. The American Heart Association Hampton Roads market, is one of two markets which received grant funding to make a difference in the maternal outcomes of women as we know it, and at the close of Black Maternal Health Week, and the beginning of Maternal Mental Health Week, they hosted the Inaugural Hampton Roads Doula Symposium; an educational program aimed to meet people where they are and provide insight into how to offer better care while listening to stories from survivors and discussing signs and symptoms women should be aware of.

“I am grateful for the investment from the CVS Health Foundation in conjunction with the American Heart Association to invest in maternal health education and resource development for our community partners, like doulas,” shared Megan Buchholz, Community Impact Director for Maternal Health with the American Heart Association. “Collaborating with community partners and providing research-based information are key components in changing the narrative for our country’s maternal health challenges. The symposium was a significant step in making a difference so birthing people and their families can live longer healthier lives.”

Over 100 women registered for the webinar featuring MeShall Simmons, Executive Director, American Heart Association Hampton Roads, Dr. Rachel Bond, Women’s Heart Health and Prevention Specialist and National Volunteer for the American Heart Association, Heather Wilson, Founder and Executive Director, Kennedy’s Angel Gowns, Kayla Sage with Postpartum Virginia and a group of doulas and midwives who participated in a specialized panel discussion. In between story sharing, there were educational presentations, videos and more, allowing attendees to interact live with the special guests and panelists, leaving them fulfilled and ready to make a difference.

To learn more about the Hampton Roads Doula Symposium, contact megan.buchholz@heart.org. To learn more about black maternal health statistics and outcomes, visit https://goredforwomen.org/pregnancy.