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Call for papers - Female athletes in pregnancy and postpartum

Guest Editors:
Rita Santos Rocha
: Polytechnic University of Santarém, Santarém, Portugal
Anna Szumilewicz: Gdansk University of Physical Education and Sport, Gdansk Poland

Submission Status: Open   |   Submission Deadline: 31 March 2024


BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth is calling for submissions to our Collection on Female athletes in pregnancy and postpartum.

Female athletes face unique challenges during the periods of pregnancy and postpartum due to the combined physical and mental demands of both competitive sports and pregnancy. Pregnancy and childbirth have both short-term and long-term effects on a woman's health, and for athletes, these effects can impact their athletic careers. During pregnancy, athletes may have to modify, reduce, or fully stop training and competition. The postpartum period can be a challenging time for female athletes, as they navigate recovery and return to sport with bodies that have been changed, in large or small ways, by pregnancy and childbirth. By gaining a deeper understanding of the effects of pregnancy and postpartum on female athletes, we can improve their health outcomes and support their continued success in sports.

Meet the Guest Editors

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Rita Santos Rocha: Polytechnic University of Santarém, Santarém, Portugal
Rita Santos-Rocha began her professional career as a gymnastics and fitness instructor, in 1989, in Portugal. She has been working with pregnant and postpartum women since then. She started her research and higher education career at ESDRM-IPSANTAREM and CIPER, in 1998. She holds the academic degrees of BSc, MSc, PhD, and Habilitation in Exercise/Physical Activity and Health, from FMH. Her main research interests are: Impact of effective supervised exercise programs on fitness, functionality, and health of pregnant/postpartum women. Exercise professionals' competencies. Physical activity and health promotion. She is Vice-President of APFE-The Portuguese Association of Exercise Physiologists, and she has been involved in the development of EuropeActive’s Standards and Profiles for the Fitness Sector. She runs the Active Pregnancy – Gravidez Ativa YouTube Channel.

Anna Szumilewicz: Gdansk University of Physical Education and Sport, Gdansk Poland
Anna Szumilewicz is an Associate professor at the Gdansk University of Physical Education and Sport (AWFiS) in Poland. Her research interests are bi-directional. In experimental studies she evaluates the impact of various exercise programs, including high-intensity interval training, on the fitness and health of pregnant and postpartum women (HIIT Mama project). She also analyzes the areas of knowledge, skills and competence of exercise and sport professionals in relation to the implementation of prenatal and postnatal training programs (NEPPE project). She is the Deputy Director – Standards of the Professional Standards Committee and a member of the THiNK Active Scientific Advisory Board at EuropeActive. She is the author or co-author of over 80 scientific and popular science papers and an assistant editor in several scientific journals. She was awarded by Women's Sports Committee of the Polish Olympic Committee (2022), The President of the Republic of Poland (2019), The Polish Sport Ministry (2017, 2022) and The Polish Ministry of Education (2016).

About the collection

BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth is calling for submissions to our Collection on Female athletes in pregnancy and postpartum.

Female athletes face unique challenges during the periods of pregnancy and postpartum due to the combined physical and mental demands of both competitive sports and pregnancy. Pregnancy and childbirth have both short-term and long-term effects on a woman's health, and for athletes, these effects can impact their athletic careers. During pregnancy, athletes may have to modify, reduce, or fully stop training and competition. The postpartum period can be a challenging time for female athletes, as they navigate recovery and return to sport with bodies that have been changed, in large or small ways, by pregnancy and childbirth. By gaining a deeper understanding of the effects of pregnancy and postpartum on female athletes, we can improve their health outcomes and support their continued success in sports.

BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth is pleased to announce the launch of a new Collection titled ‘Female athletes in pregnancy and postpartum’ to present the most current research on the experiences of female athletes during pregnancy and the postpartum period, with a focus on optimizing their health and performance outcomes. The Collection welcomes quantitative and qualitative research from around the globe from a wide range of disciplines including obstetrics, gynecology, sports medicine, exercise science, and psychology. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, physiological changes experienced by female athletes during pregnancy and the postpartum period, psychological effects of pregnancy and the postpartum period on female athletes, the impact of exercise on maternal and fetal outcomes and postpartum health, strategies for optimizing postpartum recovery and return to sport for female athletes, and the psychological and social factors that influence female athletes' decisions about training and competition during pregnancy and postpartum.

We hope that this Collection will contribute to a better understanding of the unique experiences of female athletes during pregnancy and the postpartum period. We believe that the research presented will inform clinical practice and improve outcomes for mothers and babies alike.

Image credit: © RichVintage / Getty Images / iStock

  1. Combining pregnancy and parenthood with sporting activities or a professional athletic career can be challenging. The objective of this Collection is to gain a deeper understanding of the effects of pregnancy ...

    Authors: Rita Santos-Rocha and Anna Szumilewicz
    Citation: BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2024 24:128

Submission Guidelines

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This Collection welcomes submission of original Research Articles. Should you wish to submit a different article type, please read our submission guidelines to confirm that type is accepted by the journal. Articles for this Collection should be submitted via our submission system, Snapp. During the submission process you will be asked whether you are submitting to a Collection, please select "Female athletes in pregnancy and postpartum" from the dropdown menu.

Articles will undergo the journal’s standard peer-review process and are subject to all of the journal’s standard policies. Articles will be added to the Collection as they are published.

The Guest Editors have no competing interests with the submissions which they handle through the peer review process. The peer review of any submissions for which the Guest Editors have competing interests is handled by another Editorial Board Member who has no competing interests.