A pregnant Black woman with her doula sitting outdoors on a patio sofa smiling.
Healthy Hearts Network Partner Spotlight

National Black Doulas Association: Helping to Fight Black Maternal Mortality


The National Black Doulas Association®’s (NBDA) mission is to provide a professional directory and serve as a resource for Black Doulas & Trainers in the childbirth industry. The organization offers a place where Black birthing professionals can connect and share resources with each other and families seeking their services. NBDA is helping to fight the Black maternal mortality rate in this country and beyond, through educational empowerment. To learn more about the important roles of doulas for maternal heart health, The Heart Truth® connected with Rae Johnson-Bundy, NBDA Certified Birth & Postpartum Doula Trainer. 

Why is Black maternal health important?
Racial disparities exist. Black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than White women. Multiple factors contribute to these disparities, such as variations in quality healthcare, underlying chronic conditions, structural racism, and implicit bias. Social determinants of health prevent many people from racial and ethnic minority groups from having fair opportunities for economic, physical, and emotional health (according to the CDC).

What role do doulas play in maternal heart health?
One of the ways doulas support their clients is by supplying them with evidence-based information. Doulas are trained to understand the complications that can come with pregnancy. They provide their clients with information about the symptoms of preeclampsia, encourage them to talk with their doctors about their blood pressure, and ask questions about tests such as gestational diabetes.

What programs and resources does your organization have that promote maternal heart health?
We promote materials from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI’s) The Heart Truth program, the American Heart Association, and Postpartum Support International.

What steps can women take to improve their heart health before, during, and after pregnancy?
We want to encourage eating healthy and staying physically active before, during, and after pregnancy. A healthy diet while pregnant can fuel the body with good foods and give the baby the vitamins and minerals needed for development. Exercise before, during, and after pregnancy is important for building strength, improving posture and alignment, and prompting better circulation and respiration.

What have been some benefits of the partnership between NBDA and The Heart Truth?
Having the chance to network with other organizations and learn how they contribute to the cause.
Utilizing educational handouts from The Heart Truth such as the Pregnancy and Your Heart Health fact sheet.

Are there resources from NHLBI or The Heart Truth that you have found helpful and have shared with your audience?
The resources are an excellent way for our doulas to promote the benefits of healthy living. The information The Heart Truth provides is written easily for all to understand.

Links to additional resources:
•    The Heart Truth
•   Keep High Blood Pressure Under Control