As More Black Women Die from Childbirth, Serena Williams Calls out the Healthcare System
Serena Williams feels the healthcare system doesn’t do enough to take care of black women.
During a recent interview, she opened up about the health scare she received while she was pregnant with Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.
Check out the excerpt from Essence:
Tennis champion Serena Williams became a mother for the first time last September when she gave birth to Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. Though she joked that she and baby Olympia are “not spending a day apart until she’s eighteen,” bringing her daughter into the world almost cost Williams her life.
Black women are more than three times as likely as their white counterparts to die during pregnancy or childbirth, and Williams thinks one reason is because many doctors don’t take the concerns of Black women seriously.
“Doctors aren’t listening to us, just to be quite frank,” she said during a recent interview with the BBC. “I was in a really fortunate situation where I know my body well, and I am who I am, and I told the doctor: ‘I don’t feel right. Something’s wrong.’ She immediately listened.”
The day after having baby Olympia via an emergency cesarean section. Williams felt short of breath and worried she was having a pulmonary embolism. It’s a condition that previously sidelined her career for nearly a year. Williams told a nurse she needed a CT scan, but the woman brushed her aside. When she spoke to her doctor, Williams again said she needed the procedure and her physician listened. The CT scan found several blood clots in Williams’ lungs, which could have easily been deadly.
“I had a wonderful, wonderful doctor. Unfortunately a lot of African Americans and Black people don’t have the same experience that I’ve had,” she said.
“Because of what I went through, it would be really difficult if I didn’t have the healthcare that I have – and to imagine all the other women that do go through that without the same healthcare, without the same response, it’s upsetting,” Williams said.