Pregnancy in Spanish elite sportswomen: A qualitative research


Pregnancy and motherhood have been historically considered as reasons why elite sportswomen may end their sport careers. During pregnancy the safety of both mother and baby has been identified as a key reason for ceasing sport participation. Recent “official” statistics on how many elite athletes are mothers suggest that pregnancy, motherhood and sport could be no longer mutually exclusive. The aim of this qualitative phenomenological study was to describe the lived pregnancy of Spanish elite sportswomen. Spanish elite sportswomen (n = 20) aged between 18 and 65 years that had been pregnant during their sporting professional career and after the end of their pregnancy had taken up again their professional sporting career for at least one year were included. Data were collected from May 2010 to April 2012 using in-depth personal interviews, investigator’s field notes and extracts from the participants’ personal letters. Identified themes included: (1) choosing the right moment; (2) fears and doubts; and (3) justifying physical exercise. By giving voice to these elite Spanish sportswomen, their pregnancy experiences are made visible, which might help to gain a better understanding into their expectations and develop policies and practices focused on elite sportswomen during and after pregnancy. 

Autor / Fonte:Beatriz Martínez-Pascual, Sara Alvarez-Harris, César Fernández-de-Las-Peñas, Domingo Palacios-Ceña Women & Health 2016 June 20