The BAC has praised guidance released today by UK Sport, outlining recommendations for athletes and sports around pregnancy within elite competition.
The guidance has been published after an 18-month consultation process, during which the BAC supported the recruitment of current and former World-Class Programme athletes to the research project at Loughborough University, whose findings – Experiences of Pregnancy in Elite Female Athletes on the World Class Programme Report – helped to inform the final guidance.
The guidance provides advice to both athletes and sports, and recommends a framework to ensure a ‘responsible and reasonable approach is adopted pre, during and post-birth, including return to training and competition’.
While the guidance leaves room for flexibility and individual approaches to be adopted by each sport, its publication is a hugely significant step forward in promoting consistency and best practice with regards to this issue.
Sarah Newton, the BAC’s Chief Operating Officer, said:
“We were delighted to be able to play our part in facilitating the research that has contributed to what we believe is a valuable and progressive piece of work.
“We know from feedback that we have received how important support and clarity of policies is for those athletes considering starting or expanding their family whilst on the World-Class Programme, and we believe that this guidance will be welcomed by the athlete community.
“It is also extremely heartening to see guidance which affects athletes being so heavily informed by athletes. There is a wealth of knowledge and experience within the athlete community, and using that to form guidance – as UK Sport have done in this instance – will help to ensure that athletes retain trust in the system, and that sports are able to take informed decisions when crafting their own individual policies.
“The BAC will continue to strongly advocate for this approach to be replicated on other issues relating to athlete welfare and wellbeing.”
Any athlete requiring support in this area can contact the BAC via firstname.lastname@example.org.