With her close friend and defending champion Serena Williams not ready to return after recently giving birth, opportunity knocks at the Australian Open. And she's a new mom to the sweetest little baby girl we've ever seen. The surgery was fine, and Olympia's dad was standing by to cut the cord. As a professional athlete familiar with the complexities of her body and someone who has a history of blood clots, the new mother immediately knew she was in need of blood thinners.
Alexis said of the time: "I was happy to change diapers, but on top of everything she was going through, the feeling of not being able to help made it even harder". 'That was an unbelievable feeling, ' Serena remembers.
Serena pulled out of the Australian Open after losing a December exhibition match against Jelena Ostapenko in Abu Dhabi.
"I don't need the money or the titles or the prestige", Williams told Vogue. At first, a nurse who was treating Williams suggested that the pain medications she was taking might have been confusing her, but Williams insisted.
The hospital workers performed a CT scan after the ultrasound revealed nothing. The ultrasound revealed nothing, so they sent her for the CT, and sure enough, several small blood clots had settled in her lungs. Serena was started on an IV of heparin right away.
Similarly, the tennis champion has always encouraged the importance of body positivity and self-acceptance, insisting "That you can be whatever size you are and you can be handsome inside and out".
"Sometimes I get really down and feel like, man, I can't do this", says Williams in the interview. Intense coughing caused her surgery wound to open and a haematoma was found in her abdomen. And while her story is indeed scary, it's not uncommon. And once she began recovering, she said she found out just how challenging motherhood can be.
NPR also reported in December that maternal mortality rates have vastly improved for white women in recent years, but have gotten worse for Black mothers in some states. "And while part of the disparity can be attributed to factors like poverty and inadequate access to health care, there is growing evidence that points to the quality of care at hospitals where a disproportionate number of black women deliver, which are often in neighborhoods disadvantaged by segregation", writes Annie Waldman.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that women with a history of blood clots use an anti-clotting medication to prevent blood clots during pregnancy. The group has also been raising awareness and educating the general public about this issue by hosting screenings of the documentary Death By Delivery, where doctors speak to audiences about high childbirth mortality rates among Black women. According to ProPublica, between 700 and 900 women die in the U.S. each year from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. It's so important to hear that this happens to everyone.
Even for white and wealthy women, pregnancy can be a risky condition.