School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences
Medical and Health Sciences
Dr Melanie Hayman, Dr Amy Reynolds
Doctor of Philosophy
Boden Tighe

Research Details

Thesis Name

Developing an evidence-based organisational approach to support professional sporting bodies, staff and their athletes on the successful return to sport post-partum.

Thesis Abstract

Women's sport in Australia has significantly grown from the amateur level into a professional platform and as a result, women are now choosing to establish and pursue long-term careers with many looking to return postpartum. There is good evidence for returning to exercise after pregnancy, however, there remains little to no information on how sporting organisations should manage and support the return of female athletes to competitive based sports postpartum. The current study aims to address this gap by utilising an organisational participatory research approach to develop, understand, and report actions to best inform, support and assist sporting staff and their athletes on the safe and successful return to sport post-partum. Valid and well-established qualitative methods will be employed to explore and identify key components (e.g. the challenges, barriers, enablers and motivations) to be included in the development of a strategic approach, framework and policy to be developed as an outcome of this project. The results from this project will provide decision-makers with information to deliver more effective management regimes of athletes through the integration of the findings. Additionally, as a pioneering study for Australian sport, the outcomes of this research are expected to create a baseline for researchers, policymakers and governing sports bodies adding to the lack of evidence regarding exercise and competitive sport after childbirth.

Why my research is important/Impacts

The impact of this research will not only enhance understanding of return to sport postpartum for female athletes in refining practice recommendations but also inform and provide sporting bodies a framework to better guide and develop their strategies in managing and supporting athletes who decide to have children.


Queensland Academy of Sport; CQUniversity Elevate Scholarship


Queensland Academy of Sport