The Australian Institute of Sport has launched a major study into the impacts of pregnancy in high performance sport with the aim of increasing career longevity for female athletes.
The 'Mum-Alete' study will survey athletes to determine the physical, mental, financial and social impacts that pregnancy and post-pregnancy have on their decision to remain in sport.
The three-month national project is led by AIS Sports and Exercise Medicine Registrar Dr Victoria Forsdick, with results expected in April 2022.
"Athlete well-being and success go hand in hand so establishing conditions to create a supportive environment is a key strategic priority for the AIS," Dr Forsdick said.
"Historically, almost all research and resources have been centred around male athletes so I'm proud that AIS Clinical Services is helping change that narrative to better support our female athletes."
Two-time Olympic water polo player Lea Yanitsas had her son between Rio and Tokyo and said having a post-pregnancy road-map would have made her return to high performance sport an easier process.
"I would have loved to be able to access more research, more resources and more information about my return to elite competition following having my son," Yanitsas said.
"I leant hard on the research available and the experience of my friends who are elite athlete mothers and so much was trial and error.
"I wish I had had more support in navigating travel, breastfeeding, expressing and the practicalities of trying to train with a newborn."
Open to athletes training or competing at the highest level in their sport in the six months prior to pregnancy, the survey results are expected in April.
Australian Associated Press
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