Serena Williams will return to competitive tennis in February - just five months after giving birth.

The 36-year-old sportswoman suffered small blood clots on her lungs soon after welcoming daughter Alexis Jr. into the world on September 1, and her C-section wound opened after intense coughing spells, but she will pick up her racket next month to take part in the Fed Cup.

A tweet on the US Tennis Association's official Twitter account read: ''Team USA plays its 2018 BNP Paribas @FedCup World Group R1 tie vs. the Netherlands on Feb 10-11 in Asheville, NC! Former world number ones @serenawilliams & @Venuseswilliams return with 2017 Fed Cup standout @CoCoVandey! (sic)''

The Fed Cup will see the 23-time grand slam champion take to the court for her first official game since she gave birth to Alexis Jr., who she shares with husband Alexis Ohanian, and she will represent the US alongside her sister Venus Williams.

Serena was due to return to the tennis court at the Australian Open - which she won last year - earlier this month, but withdrew from the tournament 12 days beforehand after playing in an exhibition match.

She said afterwards: ''My coach and team always said, 'Only go to tournaments when you are prepared to go all the way.' With that being said I am disappointed to say I've decided not to compete in The Australian Open this year.''

Earlier this month, Serena admitted her health problems following child birth have made her ''stronger''.

She shared on Facebook: ''I didn't expect that sharing our family's story of Olympia's birth and all of 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.

''These aren't just stories: according to the CDC, (Center for Disease Control) black women are over 3 times more likely than White women to die from pregnancy - or childbirth-related causes. 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.

''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. My personal experience was not great but it was MY experience and I'm happy it happened to me. It made me stronger and it made me appreciate women -- both women with and without kids -- even more. We are powerful!!! (sic)''