Educated women making educated decisions: Serena Williams childbirth story


Have you ever seen an educated woman making uneducated decisions? No obviously, worldwide, there are still 31 million girls of primary school age out of school. According to the United Nations, only three countries have over a million girls out of school. In Nigeria there are almost five and a half million, Pakistan, over three million, and in Ethiopia, over one million girls out of school.

Educate a girl child, educate a community. This statement is factual and true, especially if you look at the life of thousands of women worldwide making a difference in their communities by the power of education.

This February, Serena Williams, undoubtedly the world’s greatest Olympics player will be gracing the cover of Vogue Magazine with her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr, who at three months is also the youngest Vogue cover star ever.

In the cover story, Serena narrated how she saved herself in the hospital after the birth of her daughter. Vogue writes “The next day, while recovering in the hospital, Serena suddenly felt short of breath. Because of her history of blood clots, and because she was off her daily anticoagulant regimen due to the recent surgery, she immediately assumed she was having another pulmonary embolism. (Serena lives in fear of blood clots.) She walked out of the hospital room so her mother wouldn’t worry and told the nearest nurse, between gasps, that she needed a CT scan with contrast and IV heparin (a blood thinner) right away. The nurse thought her pain medicine might be making her confused. But Serena insisted, and soon enough a doctor was performing an ultrasound of her legs. “I was like, a Doppler? I told you, I need a CT scan and a heparin drip,” she remembers telling the team. The ultrasound revealed nothing, so they sent her for the CT, and sure enough, several small blood clots had settled in her lungs. Minutes later she was on the drip. “I was like, listen to Dr. Williams!”

Serena’s extraordinary courage and knowledge of her history and condition helped her to save her own life. It is estimated that 150,000 women in America to experience serious illness or near-death experiences around pregnancy every year.

Every day, approximately 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth and 99% occur in developing countries.

The link between education and maternal mortality cannot be overemphasized. An educated woman is in a better position to completely understand her body, better communicate with medical personnel and make better decisions for her unborn child.

Let us urge African leaders to pay more attention to educating the girl child. Let us urge African leaders to understand that the economy is better and maternal mortality will be drastically reduced when women are empowered and educated.



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