Dr. Kendra Segura on Pregnancy: ‘Being Informed Is the Best Way to Fight Fear’
This article is part of The Bump’s Reclaiming Your Power series featuring changemakers who are dedicated to supporting and preserving Black maternal health. These doctors and thought-leaders share their insights and advice to help guide and empower women of color who are planning or navigating pregnancy.
Pregnancy can be a wild ride of emotional ups and downs. Any expectant mother may experience bouts of elation, anxiety, excitement, doubt and fear along the way. For Black moms-to-be, the journey is further fraught with societal stigmas and increased risk of certain medical conditions and pregnancy complications. So how can moms of color reclaim a sense of power and control over their pregnancy? We caught up with Kendra Segura, MD, an ob-gyn and star on Bravo’s Married to Medicine: Los Angeles, to hear what work is being done to improve outcomes for Black mothers and how expectant women can empower themselves.
The Bump: Tell us more about the work you’re doing to support Black maternal health.
Kendra Segura: I work at a community clinic in the heart of Los Angeles to support patients’ health and wellness. The heightened awareness of the increased mortality and morbidity risk in Black mothers and infants has allowed for us to secure funding for a new outpatient surgery center, where we will be able to perform minor procedures. We have obtained monitoring devices such as blood pressure monitors, glucose meters and breast pumps. Our goal is to optimize Black women’s health before they become pregnant in order to have better pregnancy outcomes. Additionally, we are looking to hire personnel dedicated to obstetrics and will be able to help the provider ascertain social determinants to better provide care for each patient.
TB: What would you like to see happen in the near future that will significantly improve outcomes for Black mothers?
KS: Equality to equity. We must ensure that each individual or group of people is given the same resources and opportunities, while understanding that each person has different circumstances. We must allocate the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.
TB: Have there been any recent milestones achieved that offer hope that we’re headed in the right direction?
KS: The general public’s increased awareness of the alarming increased rates of Black infant and maternal morbidity and mortality is a beam of light. Raising awareness to the general public has increased funding for research and community clinics and has implemented implicit bias training for healthcare providers.
TB: Black pregnant women face an increased risk for a number of medical conditions and complications, including maternal death, and many are feeling stressed and powerless. How can Black moms-to-be reclaim a sense of empowerment during their pregnancy?
KS: Being informed is the best way to fight fear and anxiety and to navigate medical conditions. You can reclaim your power by slowing your health provider down and having your questions written down beforehand. If you don’t understand something or you have a question, don’t be afraid to ask.
TB: What’s your one key piece of advice for Black moms-to-be?
KS: Advocate for yourself! If you are planning a pregnancy or currently pregnant, assemble your team of supporters. It’s often difficult to advocate for yourself when you’re in pain and when you’re tired—and with pregnancy you often experience both. This is where you can lean on the voices of your supporters to help communicate your needs and concerns.
For more conversations around Black maternal health, check out the Reclaiming Your Power interviews with Charles Johnson IV, founder of 4Kira4Moms, and Simmone Taitt, founder and CEO of Poppy Seed Health. Visit The Bump’s Black Maternal Health Hub for more information, inspiration and support.
About the expert:
Kendra Segura, MD, MPH, FACOG, is a Los Angeles-based board-certified ob-gyn, as well as an entrepreneur, author, motivational speaker and cast member of Bravo’s hit TV series Married to Medicine: Los Angeles. She earned her medical degree at Ross University School of Medicine in 2011 and completed her residency in Rochester, New York.
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.