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 small 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 that medical professionals are responsive to 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 and to increase awareness and responsiveness among health care practitioners.

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

Even more troubling, the numbers have increased steadily from 7.2 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1987 to a high of 17.8 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2009 and 2011, according to the…

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