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Serena Williams’ Black Maternal Health Week Post Reminds People That ‘Every Mother’ Deserves a Healthy Pregnancy

For Black Maternal Health Week, Serena Williams is sharing her story again about the trauma she faced while giving birth to her daughter Olympia, and how every mother deserves to feel heard during their pregnancy.

On April 15, Williams shared a photo of her, her husband Alexis Ohanian, and their daughter Olympia when she was a newborn. She shared the photo with a powerful message, saying, “I shared my birth story and I was stunned by the outpouring of support and similar experiences women have had.”

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black women in the United States are over three times more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes,” she said. “But this is not just a challenge in the United States. Around the world, thousands of women struggle to give birth in the poorest countries. Every mother, everywhere, regardless of race or background deserves to have a healthy pregnancy and birth.”

In the post, The Adventures of Qai Qai author also linked back to her 2018 CNN article entitled “What my life-threatening experience taught me about giving birth.” For those that don’t know, Olympia arrived after an emergency C-section, and then many health complications happened afterward for Williams, including a pulmonary embolism.

In the article, Williams quoted UNICEF’s findings, noting, “each year, 2.6 million newborns die, tragically before their lives even really get started. Over 80 [percent] die from preventable causes.”

Over the years, Williams has worked to bring these facts to light, and show that black women need more advocates in the delivery room. (She’s talked extensively about how she had to be her best advocate during this process.)

Sadly, this is the reality for many mothers, especially black mothers, who have to face being ignored, dismissed, and discriminated against by medical professionals, thus leading to medical gaslighting and fatal consequences.

If you’re interested in learning more, please see our Black Maternal Health Crisis series, where we have stories from Black mothers, resources, and figures.

These gorgeous photos of Black mothers breastfeeding are sending a revolutionary message.

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