Serena Williams revealed Jan. 10 that she suffered a pulmonary embolism following the September birth of her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., according to an interview published by Vogue

Pulmonary embolism is a condition that causes blockage of the lungs artery. The medical complication can prove to be life-threatening as it produces clots that restrict an individual's blow flow, according to Mayo Clinic. While it typically surfaces from blood clots that move from the legs to the lungs, the condition can materialize from other regions of the body — known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Nearly one million American people suffer from a pulmonary embolism, but half of the affected individuals experience no symptoms, according to MedlinePlusCommon symptoms of the condition include shortness of breath, chest pain and a cough that may contain blood. 

Vogue's February 2018 cover story detailed the aftermath of Williams' delivery, which caused her to experience symptoms of pulmonary embolism. 

Williams, who has a history of blood clotting complications, refrained from taking her prescribed anticoagulant medication because she needed to have her daughter delivered by cesarean section (C-section). As Williams recovered in the delivery room the next day, she began to feel shortness of breath. Williams attributed the symptom to be a pulmonary embolism, which led her to ask medical professionals to perform a CT scan to confirm it.

The CT scan established that various small blood clots had populated her lungs. Her pulmonary embolism also brought about a coughing fit, which caused her C-section incision to tear open. 

The 36-year-old tennis player was transported to the hospital's operating room where doctors came across a hematoma, an abnormal grouping of clotted blood outside of a blood vessel. Hematomas are typically caused by trauma, including coughs. 

Williams' Vogue cover story brought about an outflow of discussion, to the athlete's surprise. 

"I didn't expect that sharing our family's story of Olympia's birth and all of [the] complications after giving birth would start such an outpouring of discussion from women — especially black women — who have faced similar complications and women whose problems go unaddressed," Williams wrote Monday on Facebook

"We have a lot of work to do as a nation and I hope my story can inspire a conversation that gets us to close this gap," Williams continued. "Let me be clear: EVERY mother regardless of race, or background deserves to have a healthy pregnancy and childbirth. I personally want all women of all colors to have the best experience they can have."

Williams has suffered complications from a pulmonary embolism before. The professional athlete was hospitalized in 2011 with bilateral pulmonary embolisms after she underwent a foot surgery. Since that incident, Williams was worried about getting pregnant because pregnancy increases the risk of blood clot production, Vogue reported August 2017