UK Sport has published pregnancy guidance for elite sportswomen.
UK Sport has published pregnancy guidance for elite athletes following an 18-month consultation.
The guidance provides advice to athletes about how and when to share their pregnancy with their sport, advice to sports should an athlete share their pregnancy with them and recommends a framework which athletes and sports may follow to ensure a responsible and reasonable approach is adopted pre, during and post-childbirth, including return to training and competition.
In addition, UK Sport says athletes on World Class Programmes who become pregnant and are in receipt of an Athlete Performance Award (APA) will continue to receive their full APA throughout the duration of the pregnancy and for up to nine months post childbirth.
UK Sport says its guidance recognises that requirements will vary significantly depending on the impact of the pregnancy, any delivery complications and the nature of the sport the athlete is returning to.
Sally Munday, CEO at UK Sport, said: “The publication of this pregnancy guidance for athletes and sports is an important marker for our high-performance community. We are committed to powering a diverse and inclusive Olympic and Paralympic family and no athlete should be forced to make a choice between elite sport and starting a family.
“Giving birth and starting a family can be physically and mentally challenging for a mother, so it is essential that female athletes, and sports, have the right resources at their disposal. We want to ensure that mothers and mothers-to-be are fully confident that they will be supported fairly and appropriately in all aspects of their life.
“UK Sport has an ambition to grow our thriving sporting system and we are looking forward to working with everyone in the high-performance community in implementing this guidance and providing world-class services to athletes.”
The guidance has been supported by a Loughborough University research project into the experiences of pregnancy in elite female athletes, which concluded that making improvements to the support offered, prior to UK Sport publishing today, would have wide-ranging positive impacts for the high-performance community.
UK Sport has also already begun producing partner guidance for athletes who become parents and how their sport can provide the necessary support.