Serena Williams hopes childbirth story inspires conversation

By Alex Butler

Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Serena Williams posted a video and a message Monday, saying she hopes her childbirth story can inspire a conversation.

The tennis icon says the conversation is in relation to why black women are more than three times more likely to die from pregnancy than white women.


Williams, 36, gave birth to Alexis Olympia Ohanian in September. She married Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian in November.

She opened up in the February issue of Vogue, talking about the "low moments" she has had since welcoming her baby. Williams also told the magazine that her daughter was born by emergency C-section after her heart rate dropped during her contractions. Williams also dealt with additional complications, including an opened C-section wound and blood clots. She spent six weeks in her bed after having the baby.

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After reading the article, fans flooded Williams with messages.

"I didn't expect that sharing our family's story of Olympia's birth and all of complications after giving birth would start such an outpouring of discussion from women - especially black women - who have faced similar complications and women whose problems go unaddressed," Williams wrote Monday on Facebook.


"These aren't just stories: according to the CDC, [Center for Disease Control] black women are over 3 times more likely than White women to die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related causes. We have a lot of work to do as a nation and I hope my story can inspire a conversation that gets us to close this gap."

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"Let me be clear: EVERY mother, regardless of race, or background deserves to have a healthy pregnancy and childbirth. I personally want all women of all colors to have the best experience they can have. My personal experience was not great but it was MY experience and I'm happy it happened to me. It made me stronger and it made me appreciate women -- both women with and without kids -- even more. We are powerful!!!"

"I want to thank all of you who have opened up through online comments and other platforms to tell your story. I encourage you to continue to tell those stories. This helps. We can help others. Our voices are our power."

The 23-time Grand Slam champion pulled out of the Australian Open on Jan. 4, saying she is close to returning, but not where she personally wants to be.

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