A Qualitative Exploration of a Select Group of Student-Athlete Mothers Who Experienced a Pregnancy While Competing at a NCAA Division I or Division II University



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The purpose of this study was to examine the lived experiences of a select group of female student-athletes who experienced a pregnancy while competing at a NCAA Division I or Division II university. After an in-depth review of the literature, this study assisted in gathering the experiences of the participants by utilizing a transcendental phenomenological qualitative method. This method was implemented by utilizing semi-structured interviews with each participant. Using Moustakas’s (1994) method for conducting a qualitative transcendental phenomenological study, interview data was prepared for analyzing data and reporting results. Eight major themes were derived after carefully coding transcriptions, and grouping common themes to describe the phenomenon: (a) pregnancy decisions, (b) on being a pregnant-student athlete, (c) available support during and after pregnancy, (d) perceived organizational support, (e) guidance and suggestions around pregnancy. The shared experiences of the women in this study offer information regarding various dimensions of dealing with pregnancy while competing in intercollegiate athletics, which may be used to educate mental health practitioners in the areas of advocacy and clinical efforts supporting pregnant student-athletes.



Motherhood, Student-athlete, Pregnancy, Female college athletics, NCAA