Serena Williams shared an image from the day she gave birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, on Instagram on Saturday to draw attention to Black Maternal Health Week. The 41-year-old tennis star has first-hand experience of the risks the US healthcare system poses to black people: After giving birth by caesarean section in 2017, she suffered a pulmonary embolism, among other complications, which a nurse initially did ‘t take seriously, which could have cost him his life, as SELF has already reported.
In a 2022 interview with She, Williams said that when she tried to fight back after giving birth, she was quickly fired. After expressing concerns about her health – Williams had a ‘high risk’ history of blood clots, so she pushed her healthcare team for some tests and medication – her nurse replied: « I think all those drugs make you talk crazy. »
Tragically, cases like this are all too common, and Williams wrote in her Instagram caption that people with similar stories reached out to her after she told him hers: “I shared my story birth and was amazed at the outpouring of support and similar experiences women have had,” she wrote. « According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], black women in the United States are more than three times more likely to die from causes related to pregnancy or childbirth. Speak CDClack of access to quality healthcare and structural racism are contributing factors to these disparities, as are implicit biases (which is why all healthcare workers who treat pregnant women should receive training on implicit biases, as SELF has previously reported).
Williams went on to say that this crisis is not limited to where she lives: Research has been shown to affect black mothers around the world. “It’s not just a challenge in the United States. Around the world, thousands of women struggle to give birth in the poorest countries,” Williams said. « Every mother, everywhere, regardless of race or background deserves to have a healthy pregnancy and childbirth. »