Academics from Loughborough University have helped shape UK Sport’s groundbreaking pregnancy advice – the first of its kind to support Olympic and Paralympic athletes and sport governing bodies.
The guidance provides a solid framework and guidance for athletes throughout pregnancy and their return to sport and has been informed by a research project put together by colleagues at the University.
The research investigated pregnancy experiences – both firsthand and those planning to have children – among elite female athletes as part of a world-class program.
Conducted through interviews, data analysis and questionnaires, the results were presented to colleagues at UK Sport to shape the overall report.
Gathered by Nik Diaper, Loughborough Parasport Manager, the project was led by Dr Emma Pullen and supported by Dr Carolyn Plateau (both School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences).
Dr Pullen explained: “It has been great to work with UK Sport and colleagues from the British Athletes Commission and the English Institute of Sport on this project. We are truly delighted that the results of the project have contributed to the development of new pregnancy guidelines. This is an important step forward in supporting the well-being of female athletes. “
Sally Munday, CEO of UK Sport, added: “The publication of this pregnancy guide for athletes and sports is an important marker for our high performance community. We are committed to nurturing a diverse and inclusive Olympic and Paralympic family and no athlete should be forced to choose between elite sport and having a family.
“Giving birth and starting a family can be a physical and mental challenge for a mother, so it is essential that female athletes and sports have the right resources at their disposal. We want to make sure that mothers and expectant mothers have full confidence that they will be supported fairly and appropriately in all aspects of their lives.
“UK Sport has the ambition to grow our thriving sport system and we look forward to working with all members of the high performance community to implement these guidelines and provide world class athlete services.”
The athletes involved were recruited through the British Athletes Commission and the English Institute of Sport and included a cross section of sports in the Olympic and Paralympic programs.
The report can be viewed in its entirety by visiting HERE.
Notes for Editors
Press Release Reference Number: 21/257
Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links to industry and unparalleled achievements in sport and its underlying academic disciplines. .
It has been awarded five stars in the independent university rating system QS Stars, named the world’s best university for sports-related subjects in the QS 2021 World University Rankings and University of the Year for Sport by The Times and The Sunday Times. University Guide 2022.
Loughborough is in the top 10 of all national rankings, being ranked 7th in the UK Complete University Guide 2022 and 10th in the Guardian University League Table 2022 and the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.
Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty UK universities in the Times Higher Education ‘Table of Tables’ and in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of her contribution to the sector, Loughborough received seven Queen’s Anniversary Awards.
The campus of Loughborough University in London is based on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive level education, as well as research and business opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of education and the latest modern thinking.