Serena Williams Shares How She's Embracing Her Changing Body During Pregnancy
"My body has done so much for me," says the 23-time Grand Slam champ.
A lot has happened for tennis legend Serena Williams this past year. Shortly after getting engaged to Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, the Grand Slam queen announced her surprise pregnancy on Snapchat-something neither she nor the rest of the world was fully prepared for. (Oh, and who could forget just last month when she clapped back at those sexist comments from John McEnroe?)
"Women have been having babies for centuries, so it isn't something new, but it's still a miracle to me," says Williams. "My whole life has been about staying fit and being ready to compete as a professional athlete. Now that I'm pregnant, I can kind of relax a little bit."
That's why, right now, Williams is just enjoying time at home with her family and reflecting on all the things her body has helped her accomplish in order to get to this peaceful point. "My body has done so much for me," she says. "I'm 23 Grand Slam titles in because of it, and I love who I am because of my body. You have to love who you are because that's what's most important." (Related: Serena Williams' Important Body-Positive Message for Young Women)
In an effort to take care of her ever-changing pregnancy bod, Williams has cut back on her daily practice schedule and is hitting the court about twice a week. Her biggest focus, though, is sleep, which is why she's teamed up with Tempur-Pedic as part of the mattress brand's Sleep Is Power campaign. "Now that I'm pregnant, I'm going to bed a lot earlier and getting tired a lot faster," she says.
"Rest is really important, especially now that I'm growing another human being inside of me, which is still mind-boggling," she says. "I've been really fortunate because I've heard of a lot of people and seen tons of video blogs with tips on how to get a good night's rest while pregnant, but with my Tempur-Pedic, I don't have to do that because it just conforms to my body."
She knows sleep is something she won't get a lot of once the baby arrives but admits that quality rest will play a crucial role when she decides to return to the tennis court. "For any athlete, sleep is super important," she says. "When I'm on the court and I haven't had enough sleep, I just feel sluggish. My coach will call me out and I feel guilty saying I didn't get enough sleep. Even though that feels like a bad excuse, it's not! Because sleep is really powerful and quality sleep is crucial to performance."