Serena Williams: I almost died after giving birth to my daughter

Grand slam champion says she was lucky to receive excellent care, but that others are not so fortunate after giving birth

Serena Williams has written about the complications surrounding the birth of her daughter in an article for CNN.

The former world No1 had already revealed in an interview with Vogue that she was bedridden for six weeks after the birth of Alexis Olympia last year following an emergency caesarean section. Writing on Tuesday, she gave more details of the difficulties she experienced.

“I almost died after giving birth to my daughter, Olympia,” she wrote.

Williams said the pregnancy had gone smoothly before she encountered problems: “First my C-section wound popped open due to the intense coughing I endured as a result of the embolism. I returned to surgery, where the doctors found a large hematoma, a swelling of clotted blood, in my abdomen. And then I returned to the operating room for a procedure that prevents clots from traveling to my lungs.”

Serena Williams’s husband Alexis Ohanian and their daughter Alexis Olympia watch her in action at the Fed Cup earlier this month.
Serena Williams’s husband Alexis Ohanian and their daughter Alexis Olympia watch her in action at the Fed Cup earlier this month. Photograph: Chuck Burton/AP

Williams said that she was lucky to have received excellent medical care but others are not so lucky: “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black women in the United States are over three times more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes. But this is not just a challenge in the United States. Around the world, thousands of women struggle to give birth in the poorest countries. When they have complications like mine, there are often no drugs, health facilities or doctors to save them. If they don’t want to give birth at home, they have to travel great distances at the height of pregnancy.”

Williams goes on to urge people to donate to charities that help mothers and newborns around the world.

The 23-time grand slam singles champion made her return to competitive tennis this month after time away during her pregnancy and to recover from the birth of Alexis Olympia. Her last grand slam victory came at the 2017 Australian Open while she was pregnant.


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