Competing While Pregnant-Nutrition For Female Athletes

Sheryl Swoopes’s Pregnancy Changed Professional Sports

During the 1997, basketball star Sheryl Swoopes announced that she was pregnant before the inaugural season of the WNBA, which she was widely expected to be the star of. Swoopes she came to her sport six weeks later, which while probably not a huge surprise to most women was unusual for female athletes at the time however. “I don’t know if anyone thought that was really possible until Shery did it,WNBA player Tina Thompson explained in a documentary about her friend Swoopes.

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Photo Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

But as evidenced by other female athletes, competing and training while pregnant is totally doable. “Pregnancy isn’t a disability,” said the managing director of sports medicine for the U.S. Olympic Committee, Mill Moreau, to NBC in 2012. Still, we have a long way to go yet before a pregnant athlete excelling at her job will be commonplace rather than cause for excitement, questions or scrutiny.

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Star beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings won a third gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics five weeks pregnant. Canadian curler Kristie Moore brought a silver medal at 2010 Olympics while five months pregnant. Malaysian shooter Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi was at the 2012 Olympics while eight months pregnant, and Alysia Montaño competed in the 800-meter race at the 2014 U.S. track and field championships while eight months pregnant.

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Learning the balancing act is the universal to all mothers who work outside the home. But she is also learning the finer points of being a professional athlete mom, for whom returning to the job means to physically rebuild your physical core 

Hartley started strength exercises a little more than three weeks after giving birth, when even a 20-second plank “was difficult at the beginning.” She was doing on-court workouts three weeks after that.

“One of the things for me is my core strength isn’t back where it was,” Hartley said. “And strength is something I had to work on a lot in general [even before pregnancy].

“But I’m the kind of person, if I set my mind to something, I’m going to get it done. I don’t think there was ever a moment of doubt, but you can get frustrated. Just because you’re used to doing something that seemed easy before, and now it’s a lot harder.”

There are aspects of the athlete’s journey to and through motherhood that can’t be simplified, and getting back into shape is one of them. But Terri Jackson, who took over a year ago as director of operations for the Women’s National Basketball Players Association, has been thinking about what could be improved for player moms.

More Content For Mother’s Day

As part of the WNBA’s collective bargaining agreement, which was signed in March 2014 and runs through October 2021, players who get pregnant while under contract receive 50 percent of their salary while they’re out and have their medical expenses covered by insurance.

That’s helpful, certainly. Eventually, the WNBA players’ union and agents who represent the players are hopeful that the league might consider doing more, including in the subject of childcare. As these are all things negotiated in collective bargaining, the WNBA declined to comment, which is normal policy of professional leagues . It’s a topic the players’ union and player agents continue to discuss.

“The WNBA should lead or at least match the most progressive companies on policies relating to women and working moms,” agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas said. “It should be viewed as critical that a player can go to practice and a club can provide them with childcare, and that’s not salary-cap circumvention.

“I’m confident most clubs would want to do whatever they could to insure their working moms are supported so they’re empowered to perform at a high level.”

Never turn down a request of help

Players coming back from pregnancy are aware they have to push themselves through fatigue and annoyances. Their livelihood depends on it. Hartley got advice from two former teammates in Washington, Tayler Hill and Tianna Hawkins, who are both moms.

Hill had her son, Maurice, in June 2014, during her second year in the WNBA. Early in her career, she hadn’t had much time to establish herself. She was determined to get back on the floor for the Mystics that season; she played five regular-season games and one in the playoffs.

“I was kind of antsy because I was ready to play again,” Hill said of the latter stages of her pregnancy. “I found out I really love this game of basketball and want to play it for as long as I can.”

Hill said she doesn’t think of her mom responsibilities as burdensomeWe’re picking up this WNBA season where we left off last year: Minnesota and defending champion Los Angeles appear to be the top two teams. But New York and Washington might not be far behind.

“My son brings so much joy into my life,” she said. “He doesn’t care what I did on the court. He loves me the same way. I’m his superhero.”

That said, Hill and other players who are moms say they know they can’t do it alone. Players’ partners or spouses, family members, friends and teammates all pitch in.

“Don’t turn down help. It really does take a village,” said Minnesota guard Jia Perkins, whose daughter, Aalirah, is almost 13. “I don’t know how I’d do it without my mom and my family.”

Perkins took Aalirah overseas from about the time she was 2 years old. Most WNBA players go overseas to compete in the winter and spring. That can present additional logistical challenges for moms, but it also brings more options. Some teams/countries have more progressive policies in regard to childcare, and players can negotiate living space and travel expenses for their children and caretakers.

“She adjusted easily going to other schools overseas, and I think it was a great experience,” Perkins said of Aalirah. “But I haven’t gone the last few years. Now she’s in middle school, and I want her to have her core friends through high school.”

Perkins’ pregnancy was seen as a liability by teams when she was drafted. She was part of a very good 2004 class that included current Lynx teammates Lindsay Whalen and Rebekkah Brunson, plus Phoenix’s Diana Taurasi and Los Angeles’ Alana Beard. All were top-10 picks, with Taurasi and Beard going Nos. 1 and 2.

But Perkins, who was about seven weeks from giving birth on draft day, wasn’t chosen until the third round, at No. 35, the fourth-to-last pick. Those are picks that often don’t make a roster.

Yet Perkins is in her 14th WNBA season. Talent-wise, she clearly belonged in the first round. But the fact that she was pregnant made teams see her as too much of a risk — even though a player from the same college as Perkins, Texas Tech, had proven that coming back from pregnancy was not an obstacle to being great in the WNBA.

Sheryl Swoopes had her son in the WNBA’s inaugural season in 1997 and went on to win three MVP awards. But that had no impact on how Perkins was viewed. She had to prove herself.

Women’s basketball has come a very long way since that first game at Smith College on March 21, 1893, with a major boost from Title IX passage in 1972. It’s no news flash that young women accidentally get pregnant, and Title IX regulations would seem to offer students some protection. They state that recipients of federal funds “must treat disabilities related to pregnancy the same way as any other temporary disability in any medical or hospital benefit, service, plan or policy which they offer to students. Following this leave, the student must be reinstated to her original starting position

Yet no uniform policy at either the school or professional level protects a pregnant athlete’s rights. The resulting insecurity, especially for athletes on scholarship, can cause women to hide their pregnancies or have abortions. Of course, the guys who get women pregnant suffer no repercussions, financial or any other way

Stepping into the void, Elizabeth Sorensen, a nurse and the faculty athletics representative at Wright State University, has become an authority on athletes and pregnancy. She created a policy for Wright State, and is now trying to build momentum for a comprehensive, proactive policy that focuses on an athlete’s well-being. In 2003, she submitted her policy to the NCAA, but the collegiate athletic governing body has not taken up the issue. The women’s community is taking notice, however. The Women’s Sports Foundation is about to release its own position paper on athletic competition and pregnancy, and the National Women’s Law Center has also begun to consider the issue.

No one pretends that it’s easy to return to play at the same level after a pregnancy. But for WNBA players, basketball is their job. Although a league veteran, Allison Feaster was still nervous when she got pregnant: “I was really concerned about just announcing my pregnancy and how it would affect my ability to stay in my job. I’d say put the pressure on the lawmakers to do their part so that we are protected.”

Darnellia Russell would love the opportunity to show a school that she has come back from her pregnancy. She is waiting for the phone to ring with a college coach giving her that chance.

No one wants to rewrite the collective bargaining agreement through a series of side agreements. But this is an issue where we could get league and union folks on the same page very quickly. Hopefully both sides could possibly carve out a side agreement on this issue until it’s time for the larger discussion about the entire document.

WNBA moms return to the fact that it’s the surrounding people who are so critical to making this work. Mothers Day is a celebration of them and all Mothers worldwide. But the WNBA’s moms give a lot of credit to all the people who help them.

 

 

 

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Women’s basketball has come a long way since that first game at Smith College on March 21, 1893, with a major boost from Title IX passage in 1972. It’s no news flash that young women accidentally get pregnant, and Title IX regulations would seem to offer students some protection. They state that recipients of federal funds “must treat disabilities related to pregnancy the same way as any other temporary disability in any medical or hospital benefit, service, plan or policy which they offer to students. Following this leave, the student must be reinstated to her original status.

There is no uniform policy at either the school or professional level which protects a pregnant athlete’s rights. The resulting vulnerability, especially for those athletes on a scholarship, this may cause some women to have abortions or hide their pregnancies. Conversely, the guys who get women pregnant suffer no financial repercussions or otherwise.

Stepping into the void, Elizabeth Sorensen, a nurse and the faculty athletics representative at Wright State University, has become an authority on athletes and pregnancy. She created a policy for Wright State, and is now trying to build momentum for a comprehensive, proactive policy that focuses on an athlete’s well-being. In 2003, she submitted her policy to the NCAA, but the collegiate athletic governing body has not taken up the issue. The women’s community is surely taking notice, however. The Women’s Sports Foundation is slated to release its own position paper on athletic competition and pregnancy, and the National Women’s Law Center has also pondered this important social issue.

None will pretend that it’s easy to return to play at the same level following a recent pregnancy. For WNBA players, basketball is their job. Even a league veteran, Allison Feaster got nervous when she became pregnant: “I was really concerned about just announcing my pregnancy and how it would affect my ability to stay in my job. I’d say put the pressure on the lawmakers to do their part so that we are protected.”

Darnellia Russell would love the opportunity to show a school that she has come back from her pregnancy. She is waiting for the phone to ring with a college coach giving her that chance.

Bria Holmes Will Miss 2018 Season Due to Pregnancy

Atlanta Dream second player Bria Holmes to miss the 2018 season because she is expecting but plans on returning to the Dream in 2019 stronger, healthier and ready to play. As a female professional athlete, it is hard to start a family while playing year-round but this little human inside of is truly a blessing .Image result for Bria Holmes

Atlanta Dream rookie Head Coach Nicki Collen said: “While I am certainly disappointed Bria won’t be in a Dream uniform this summer, as a mother of three, I also wish to congratulate her on starting her own family. This league is about celebrating the female athlete and everything that it entails. Bria is a big part of the Dream family and we will welcome her back in 2019.”

Initially chosen 11th overall by the Dream in the 2016 WNBA Draft, Holmes has averaged 7.6 points and 2.7 rebounds for her first two years in the WNBA. This off season, the former West Virginia University was a star playing in Poland for CCC Polowice.

 

 

 

 

If you consider yourself as a passionate online shopper like myself, Amazon has amazing  deals on the best products and exercise equipment.I hoped you enjoyed the Competing While Pregnant-Nutrition For Female Athletes article and if you have any questions about the  post  want to leave a comment or want to leave your own personal review,please leave a comment below .

Thank you,

Erick Darke

 

 

 

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12 thoughts on “Competing While Pregnant-Nutrition For Female Athletes

  1. Wow! These women are amazing! I cannot imagine playing while pregnant, much less recovering after pregnancy and jumping right back in so soon. Glad to hear there are some regulations in the works. They deserve to be able to play and have a family!

    1. Thanks for reading the article Heidi. The WNBA and Players Union need to continue dialogue to help the families and players to be able play free and easy minus distractions so they can play to the best of their abilities

  2. Wow I had no idea what women in sports had to go through, though it makes sense that it is there livelihood so getting in shape would be hard but a high requirement in their life.
    Very inspiring I must say,

    Thanks for this information, I definitely learnt a thing or two here not only about women in basket ball but in sport overall!

    1. Thanks for leaving a comment on my post Danielle.I pleased to shed some light on what these amazing athletes have gone through to lose weight and get back to playing the sport they love

  3. I really enjoyed the content of your article. You were very in depth with how they handled the pregnancy and wanting to come back stronger and better than ever.

    1. Nancy I am so please that you enjoy the article .I got most of the info after researching the back story of athletes themselves

  4. Wow, great post! These are some pretty amazing athletes!

    Good job!

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read this post Christie .I am happy you enjoyed the article .Agreed these are sensational people and athletes no doubt that about that

  5. This is a very amazing post about the stories these women have had to go through when being basketball stars and motherhood. My first thought was the time they commit to their sport and raising a child, but as was mentioned, they really need to rely on family and friends to help out. Good for them for finding a way to be a professional athlete and a parent.

    1. I appreciate that you read the article and positive feedback Keri

  6. A very good read! You express the subject matter very thoroughly in your post which shows that you have given the article a lot of thought. The topic is a very unique topic which I think a lot of people who reads it will find intriguing. The female athletes you have mentioned are of real inspiration, strength and perseverance creating a sense of pushing through during hard and difficult times, especially during pregnancy.

    Well done! the post was well laid and thought out and I’m sure it took a great deal of research and planning to create.

    1. Thank you for reading the post Monica .Yes it did take some time to gather all the information.These women are amazing athletes to say the least

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