Awaiting the birth of her first child, Serena Williams was missing from the lawns of Wimbledon, and while she isn’t on court very much these days, she’s taking care of her body more than ever.
You may have even seen the 23-time Grand Slam champion sleeping on your TV screen, in honor of reaching the 10-year mark of her partnership with Tempur-Pedic.
“Quality sleep is super crucial for my performance as a mom, and as an athlete that's going to try to come back and do the best that I can do,” Williams said last week.
She’s taken her health seriously throughout her entire career, which has seen her deal with injuries, illness, multiple surgeries and even a pulmonary embolism in 2011. But now, it’s all about caring for her soon-to-be-delivered baby.
“My health was the biggest concern for me when I was playing in Australia,” the 35-year-old said. “I wanted to make sure I was OK. I spoke with doctors I've worked with my whole life and I let them know what was going on, and would it be OK if I played and how would that work out? It worked out great, obviously, but that was the biggest concern for me.”
It was more than great, as Serena beat her older sister Venus to win her record 23rd major while roughly two months pregnant. Last week, she watched Venus reach the Wimbledon final at the age of 37.
While Venus is busy playing a loaded schedule and returning to the Top 10, Serena has kept up a fitness regime throughout her pregnancy, even sharing clips of practice from her third trimester.
“I’m playing, but I'm just hitting balls, I'm not doing anything crazy. So that's been interesting. It would be amazing if I can play until my due date, but that's not the goal," Serena Williams said. "The goal for me is to just play and be healthy and have a healthy pregnancy above all... I just do some light working out so I can stay fit.”
Staying active throughout a pregnancy is recommended (for healthy women). For an athlete of Williams' caliber, hitting the court once a week works, on top of other exercise.
“I think it's really important to do a little bit a day, even if it's just 20 or 30 minutes, I think that's super important,” Williams said. “And really, really getting great sleep. If you get really bad sleep, which is so common in pregnant women, next thing you know you are too tired to work out, too tired to function, or too tired to eat healthy, and then it just starts to go down from there.”
Luckily, quality sleep is still coming easily for Williams, but that's guaranteed to change once her little boy or girl arrives. It’s too soon to tell how much her resting—and training—patterns will be affected once the baby arrives, but it definitely will be a whole new world for the first-time mother.
“Obviously, ideally I would love to come back. I plan on coming back. I plan on playing,” she said. “But you know, at the same time, this is a whole new chapter in my life. I'll have to see how that is and how it goes.”
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