Serena Williams opens up about how she ‘almost died after giving birth’

Serena Williams has revealed the life-threatening ordeal she went through when she gave birth to her daughter.

The 23-time Grand Slam winner had to have an emergency Cesarean section when she gave birth to Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr in September last year.

In a column for CNN, the American says she faced “six days of uncertainty” and now lives in fear of blood clots as it “sparked a slew of health complications”.

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

“While I had a pretty easy pregnancy, my daughter was born by emergency C-section after her heart rate dropped dramatically during contractions. The surgery went smoothly. Before I knew it, Olympia was in my arms. It was the most amazing feeling I’ve ever experienced in my life. But what followed just 24 hours after giving birth were six days of uncertainty.”

“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.

“This sparked a slew of health complications that I am lucky to have survived.”

The 36-year-old first revealed her ordeal during an interview with Vogue magazine in January and she received a lot of praise for highlighting an issue that rarely gets public attention.

And she once again appealed to people to “be the change” by donating to charities worldwide.

“Every mother, everywhere, regardless of race or background deserves to have a healthy pregnancy and birth. And you can help make this a reality,” she added.

“How? You can demand governments, businesses and health care providers do more to save these precious lives. You can donate to UNICEF and other organizations around the world working to make a difference for mothers and babies in need. In doing so, you become part of this narrative – making sure that one day, who you are or where you are from does not decide whether your baby gets to live or to die.

“Together, we can make this change. Together, we can be the change.”