If you’ve recently learned that you’re unexpectedly pregnant, chances are, you have a lot of questions about how this may affect your day-to-day life. Perhaps you’re a student athlete or even a professional. If so, your sport is bound to be an important aspect of your routine… possibly your sense of identity too. It’s natural to wonder how a physical condition (like pregnancy) may impact your physical ability to participate in activities you enjoy. Maybe you don’t know how to move forward. You want to discover your own best pregnancy outcome, but this is hard to achieve in reality. A significant part of your life- your chosen sport- is making your pregnancy situation extra complicated (and vice-versa).
Perhaps you felt stunned when you first realized you were pregnant, but now this is starting to sink in, and your anxiety is growing. Avenue Women’s Center is here for you. We’re a first-step pregnancy center with six locations in the western Chicago metro area. It’s our mission to help persons facing an unexpected pregnancy access the practical services and caring support they need to carry on with confidence.
Discover our free, confidential early pregnancy services!
Being Mindful of Your Physical Health
If you’re asking yourself the question, “Does this unexpected pregnancy mean I have to quit sports?” you’re probably a person who’s mindful of her physical wellness- and that will serve you well! Know that a lot of different factors may influence your choices surrounding athletics and this pregnancy journey. Here are just a few important questions to reflect on:
- How does my sport impact my body?
- What aspects of my health history should be taken into consideration?
- What are my pregnancy options, and which one(s) am I leaning toward?
- How might my pregnancy decision affect my participation in sports?
The question of whether quitting sports (at least temporarily) is the right move can’t be answered with a “yes” or “no” in a blog. That’s because every person’s circumstances are completely unique. However, seeking answers to the above questions may help you feel more confident about whether or not you continue with sports during your pregnancy. It would be wise to consult a medical professional, perhaps a primary care physician to begin with, or a doctor who specializes in sports medicine. A qualified medical professional can provide education on all the implications surrounding pregnancy for an athlete in your particular sport, based on your one-of-a-kind health history. He or she can help you design and implement a plan that’s right for you.
Understanding Your Rights
If you’re a student athlete in the U.S., you have rights concerning this pregnancy! Knowing your rights may equip you to embrace your best decisions about sports and your pregnancy. A Federal civil rights law, Title IX, protects you from discrimination based on sex within an educational environment. According to Title IX, a student cannot be prohibited from participating in school sports and other educational activities on the basis of pregnancy or parenting status. The U.S. Department of Education highlights additional Title IX regulations required of, “All public and private schools, school districts, colleges, and universities receiving any Federal funds (‘schools’).” This is well worth exploring further!
In the world of professional sports, protections concerning pregnancy and parenting unfortunately aren’t as straightforward at this point in time. According to an article from 19thnews.org, many elite athletes depend on sponsorships from brands to earn a living. Those sponsors have significant authority to renew or end contracts, leaving a lot of room for pregnant athletes to be discriminated against. However, professional athletes and legal advocates are actively working to secure protections for pregnant and parenting athletes.
Your identification as an athlete may hold significant meaning and value. Our expert staff at Avenue Women’s Center understands the vital role of sports in your life. We recognize that pregnancy decisions can be particularly challenging to navigate for athletes, so we are here for you! Avenue is all about supporting women, and equipping them with the reliable information they need to embrace their next best steps.
Schedule an appointment today! Our team members would love to offer a listening ear, and help you learn about your pregnancy, your options, and resources.
- The 19th. (2021, November). Athletes don’t have pregnancy protections. Here’s why that could finally change. Retrieved from: https://19thnews.org/2021/11/athletes-pregnancy-protections-contract/
- U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. (2020, January). Know Your Rights: Pregnant or Parenting? Title IX Protects You From Discrimination At School. Retrieved from: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/dcl-know-rights-201306-title-ix.html
The information provided here is general in nature. It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention. Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.