Pregnant Athletes Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Pregnant Athletes


Many ethical issues were raised when Fantasia Goodwin decided to continue with the basketball season while she was carrying a baby in her womb. The ethical issues are associated with the well being of the fetus and the mother as well along with the official recommendations that have been issued pertaining to pregnant athletes. The first ethical issue that should be highlighted with respect to Fantasia's case study is that by preferring the sport over her pregnancy, Fantasia put her fetus (that developed from a mass of cells into a living being) at stake. This implies that she endangered a human life, which was obviously a wrong thing to do. Another ethical issue found in this scenario is the violation of the official recommendations of the American Gynecological and Obstetric Association. The Association recommends that any pregnant woman should refrain from contact sports since this can lead to the death or morbidity of the fetus as well as the mother. Needless to say, Fantasia should have acted upon the recommendations of the AGOA. Furthermore, it should be noted here that if Fantasia or her fetus would have suffered from a medical condition because of continuing the sport during her pregnancy, it would have laid a million dollar lawsuit on the institution for which she was playing. She should have pulled out from sport for the prevention of the aforementioned situation, even though luckily enough it did not happen. Another point that should be noted here is that there are some women who do not believe that playing a certain sport would harm their child. In such a case when a woman is ready to take any risks and is passionate about her sport, the coaches and the team managers decide to allow them to play because if they do not do so then it would be considered a case of discrimination against pregnant women, which would not be right. Finally, another ethical issue that can be spotted in this case study is that regardless of the outcomes, Fantasia should have told her coach about her pregnancy from the very beginning. If she was so passionate about completing the season, she could have defended her position.

The central ethical issue that is there in this case study is the threat that Fantasia posed to her fetus. There is a need to resolve this issue because other pregnant athletes can get impressed from this case and continue playing the sport while they are carrying a child. Playing a contact sport in pregnancy can result in a miscarriage or a stillbirth that can adversely affect the woman and her family.

II. Research

Sporting organizations should consider the issue of pregnancy in athletes very seriously since the pregnant athletes as well as their unborn children has the right to protection from preventable injury and even intrauterine death. Therefore, decision making in the ethical arena hold a great deal of significance for the athletes, their unborn children and for the sporting organizations as well, since all of them share the ethical and legal responsibility of making sure that no athlete has to suffer from a medical condition because of playing the sport. The economic future of a sporting organization and even the athletic career of the athletes can suffer because of poor decision making pertaining to pregnancy in sports (Longstaff, 2001).

Physical activity is considered to be an important aspect during pregnancy but it should be made sure that the pregnant women are not putting the life of their unborn children at risk of injury or death. As we know that there are many sports enthusiasts who do not wish to refrain from their sport even when they are expecting, there are some measure that should be taken in any case. All the gynecologists and obstetricians believe that women should avoid contact sports since there is a chance of placental separation, fetal hypoxia and hyperthermia while playing a contact sport. All the aforementioned conditions can lead to the death of the unborn child and can also endanger the life of the mother (Clapp, 2002).

It is true that some student athletes do not want to tell their coaches or teammates about their pregnancy because they are aware of the fact that they will be pulled out of the team. On the other hand, they cannot afford to be pulled out of the team because their scholarships can also be withdrawn. To avoid the development of such circumstances, policies should be devised pertaining to student athletes and pregnancy. The development of such policies is important for health and safety of the mothers and their unborn children (NCAA, 2008).

III. Analysis


There should be a screening test for all the female athletes before the start of every season, which would rule out pregnancy in any athlete

An official policy should be made that no female athlete should indulge in unprotected sexual activities while she is a student athlete

The pregnant female athlete should be asked to get a medical certificate from her obstetrician that would allow her to play the sport

The decision of playing or not playing the sport in pregnancy should only be sought from the student athlete and she should be responsible for the outcomes

Pregnant Student Athletes

Those who have been trying to hide the truth just because they want to remain in the team will be affected, meanwhile the others can go through the screening test without any fears

They might consider it as an assault on their privacy and freedom of action since every person has the right to sexual activities, protected or unprotected

They might try to influence the physician and misguide them about the sport that they play

It will give a higher degree of freedom and satisfaction

Team Administration

The coach other members of the sports association will not have to suffer from any lawsuit or economic decline because of any unfortunate event

It is very difficult for the team administration to make sure that this option is implemented since they might have to face a great deal of criticism while making this option a permanent part of the policy

The administration needs to make sure that the medical certificate is a valid one from a certified physician

The administration or the coach of the team will not be held responsible for any untoward event


The physicians would have to reassure the athletes that once they have delivered the baby safely, they can return to the sport

Physicians can counsel the student athletes about the various methods of contraception and protected intercourse

The responsibility of this option is completely on the physician since he/she has to make sure that the sport played by the pregnant athlete is not dangerous for her and the unborn child

The student athletes should be counseled properly and each risk factor should be discussed in detail so that there is no poor decision making involved that would result in the miscarriage of the baby


The teammates have to be supportive for the one who is pregnant



The teammates should make sure that they do not unnecessarily push the pregnant athlete once she decides to play during her pregnancy

IV. Application

Consequential Theory

NCAA has done a great deal of work to make sure that the pregnant student athletes are protected from any kind of injury by coming up with the Model Policy that has been shared with all the sporting organizations. The main reason why many people are against pregnant athletes playing the sport is that it is the right of the unborn child to be protected by its parents. Therefore, the main purpose of this policy is to make sure that every student athlete, pregnant or non-pregnant, is safe while playing the sport. In the Model Policy it has been stated that the student athletes who become pregnant should not be discriminated and pulled out of the team. The policy also urges the coaches and the team administration to arrange medical facilities within the sporting club or organization so that the situation can be handled promptly. Unnecessary disclosure of pregnancy before it is well established has also been discouraged by this policy. Since the main ethical concern is the protection of the unborn child, the application of this policy and the theory it has been based on can result in fewer accidents that lead to miscarriage, without the female athletes compromising their passion.

Being a part of the sport is the right of every athlete, pregnant or non-pregnant. The aforementioned Model Policy aims at protecting this right of the athletes along with the protection of their fetus. By allowing the pregnant athletes to play, this policy wishes to avoid any retaliation that might come from these athletes. By making sure that a physician is present within the sporting organization, any untoward event can be avoided. Disclosure of pregnancy has been discouraged, which helps to avoid any unnecessary commotion within the team. The Model Policy…

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