When the 36-year-old tennis star, discovered she was pregnant with her daughter Alexis Olympia, the positive test caught her a little off guard because she’d recently had her period.
“I literally had a cycle just before [I took the test],” she told InStyle magazine.
“So I was surprised when I saw the result and even more surprised when the doctor said I was seven weeks along.”
Clearly therefore, the bleeding Serena had experienced couldn’t have been a period, so what was it?
According to the NHS bleeding during pregnancy is relatively common, with around 1 in 10 women experiencing some bleeding.
But bleeding while you’re pregnant won’t be caused by your usual menstrual cycle, as a period is the shedding of uterus lining, which does not happen during pregnancy.
Though vaginal bleeding during the first three months can be a sign of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy (when the foetus starts to grow inside your fallopian tubes, instead of your womb), it isn’t always a sign that something is wrong.
In early pregnancy, women can often experience light bleeding, called “spotting”, which is when the foetus plants itself into the wall of your womb.
“This is also known as implantation bleeding and often occurs around the time that your first period after conception would have been due,” the NHS site reveals.
Bleeding during the later stages of pregnancy can have many different causes including cervical ectropion, placental abruption, miscarriage and placental praevia.
But just because bleeding in pregnancy is relatively common doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get it checked out. If you experience any bleeding at any stage during pregnancy you should contact your GP or midwife immediately.
“It’s not often caused by something serious, but it’s important to make sure. Lie down and rest until you can see a healthcare professional and do not take any medication while you are waiting,” the NHS site advises.
“To work out what is causing your bleeding, you may need to have a vaginal or pelvic examination, an ultrasound scan, or blood tests to check your hormone levels. Your doctor will also ask you about other symptoms, such as cramp, pain and dizziness, and what foods, medication and exercise you’ve been taking recently,” the site continues.
It isn’t the first time Serena Williams has opened up about her pregnancy and birth experiences. Last December she turned to the Internet to ask for breastfeeding advice.
And the new mum also revealed all about her difficult birth. The tennis ace told Harpers Bazaar that she was forced to undergo an emergency caesarean while giving birth to Alexis, and had to have surgery for blood clots in her lungs.
“Honestly, sometimes I think I still have to deal with it,” she told the publication.
“I think people have to talk about it more because it’s almost like the fourth trimester, it’s part of the pregnancy.
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