For Serena Williams, Childbirth Was a Harrowing Ordeal. She’s Not Alone.

When the ultrasound revealed nothing, she underwent a CT scan, which showed several smaller blood clots in her lungs. She was immediately put on the heparin drip. “I was like, listen to Dr. Williams!” she told the doctors.

A spokeswoman for Ms. Williams declined to comment beyond the Vogue article.

The need to ensure which medical professionals are responsive to brand-new mothers’ concerns has gained attention in recent years. The “Stop. Look. Listen!” campaign, for example, which was introduced in 2012, aims to empower women to report pregnancy-related medical issues along with to boost awareness along with responsiveness among health care practitioners.

About 700 women die each year from the United States as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control along with Prevention. Complications affect more than 50,000 women annually. along with the risk of pregnancy-related death will be three to four times as high for black women as the idea will be for white women, the C.D.C. says.

Even more troubling, the numbers have increased steadily via 7.2 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1987 to a high of 17.8 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2009 along with 2011, according to the C.D.C.


Serena Williams with her daughter in September.

via Instagram

The “Stop. Look. Listen!” campaign — a collaboration between the Tara Hansen Foundation along with the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at Rutgers — was developed to honor the life of Tara Hansen, a young mother who was sent home after delivery despite raising concerns about how she felt. She died six days later via an undiagnosed infection.

The campaign has prompted brand-new Jersey to designate Jan. 23 as Maternal Health Awareness Day, the first state to designate a day to the cause.

For Ms. Williams, the clots were only the beginning of her complications. from the days after she gave birth, bouts of severe coughing — a result of the embolism — caused her C-section wound to open. She returned to surgery, during which doctors found a large hematoma, a collection of blood outside of the blood vessels, in her abdomen. She was then back from the operating room for a procedure to help prevent more clots via dislodging along with traveling to her lungs.

Ms. Williams was bedridden for her first six weeks of motherhood.

Life-threatening complications from the delivery room, along with during recovery, are all too common — particularly for black along with Hispanic women.

A series last year by the nonprofit investigative journalism organization ProPublica explored why black women disproportionately suffer complications around pregnancy along with childbirth.

ProPublica analyzed how different medical facilities in brand-new York, Illinois along with Florida treated women who experienced hemorrhages during childbirth. the idea found, as has various other research, which women who hemorrhage at disproportionately black-serving hospitals are significantly more likely to experience severe complications like birth-related embolisms along with emergency hysterectomies.

Poverty, access to care, culture, communication along with decision-doing all contribute to disparities, Dr. Elizabeth Howell, professor along with director of the Women’s Health Research Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine in brand-new York, said on Wednesday. Still, the problem will be often attributed incorrectly solely to poverty, she said.

“Everyone always wants to say which the idea’s just about access to care along with the idea’s just about insurance, however which alone doesn’t explain the idea,” said Dr. Howell, whose research focuses on quality of care along with racial along with ethnic disparities in maternal along with child health.

Dr. Howell along with ProPublica both pointed to a 2016 analysis which found which black college-educated mothers who gave birth in brand-new York City hospitals were more likely to suffer severe complications during pregnancy along with childbirth than uneducated white women.

brand-new York City will be increasingly confronting the role which racism plays in health outcomes, Dr. Howell said. “There’s more along with more emphasis to thinking about the ways bias shapes the way we hear our patients,” she said.

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