ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 30: Serena Williams of United States looks dejected during her Ladies Final match against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia on day three of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship at International Tennis Centre Zayed Sports City on December 30, 2017 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)
Shelby Lin Erdman, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
Tennis champion Serena Williams revealed she “almost died after giving birth” to her first child, daughter Olympia, last fall, according to a column by Williams on CNN.com.
Williams had a relatively easy birth Sept. 1, 2017, delivering her daughter by C-section, but two hours later, she was in a fight for her life that lasted six days, she wrote.
“It began with a pulmonary embolism, which is a condition in which one or more arteries in the lungs becomes blocked by a blood clot. Because of my medical history with this problem, I live in fear of this situation. So, when I fell short of breath, I didn't wait a second to alert the nurses,” Williams said.
Serena Williams almost died after giving birth to her daughter. She writes for @CNNopinion about the mothers who don't get the treatment they need for pregnancy complications - and how we can help them https://t.co/0GlM2UFKhU
She underwent three surgeries to deal with the health crisis and credited her medical team for her survival.
“When I finally made it home to my family, I had to spend the first six weeks of motherhood in bed,” she wrote on CNN.com.
“I am so grateful I had access to such an incredible medical team of doctors and nurses at a hospital with state-of-the-art equipment. They knew exactly how to handle this complicated turn of events. If it weren't for their professional care, I wouldn't be here today.”
Williams knew about her health condition and was able to alert medical staffers that something was wrong.
Unfortunately, many women don’t know their health risks. According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, African-American women are three times more likely than others to die from complications in pregnancy or childbirth.