Serena Williams 'almost died' while giving birth to baby girl

By @saihoops on
serena williams
Serena Williams of the U.S. gestures as she holds her trophy after winning her Women's singles final match against Venus Williams of the U.S. Reuters/Edgar Su

Serena Williams, arguably the greatest female tennis player in the history of the Open Era, admittedly had a near-death experience while giving birth to her daughter Olympia. In a heart-felt column, Williams revealed that she encountered severe health problems in the hospital while going into labour. 

In a column for CNN, Williams explained how the “most amazing feeling I’ve ever experienced in my life” quickly turned into her most tumultuous period. 

“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. First my C-section wound popped open due to the intense coughing I endured as a result," Williams wrote.  

Williams, who holds the record for most Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles combined amongst active players, was two months pregnant after capturing the 2017 Australian Open title -- her 23rd Grand Slam crown. The 36-year-old revealed that she was forced to spend the first six weeks of motherhood in bed due to unforeseen complications.

“I returned to surgery, where the doctors found a large hematoma, a swelling of clotted blood, in my abdomen. And then I returned to the operating room for a procedure that prevents clots from travelling to my lungs. 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.”

Serena Williams (23) surpassed German Steffi Graf (22) on the list of most Grand Slam singles titles when she won the Australian Open last summer. She is just one title shy of equalling all-time leader Margaret Court (24). After giving birth to a baby girl in September, the American began the slow process of returning to tennis-related activities. However, she eventually skipped the 2018 Australian Open due to an injury.