Cultural and Ethics Studies Paper on Pregnant Athletes

Pregnant Athletes

Step 1: Identification

Fantasia Goodwin is a basketball player who joined women’s team in her junior session. During this period, she became pregnant and found it difficult to make a decision of informing the coach. However, Goodwin participated in the play for entire season until when she delivered a bouncy baby boy. The assignment question is “What should Fantasia have done?” The following are the additional ethical issues I identified.

1. Fantasia Goodwin is a basketball player and is pregnant during her session.

Is it right for her to inform the coach about her condition?

2. She proceeds to play the entire season in her condition.

Is it right to participate in the game while pregnant?

3. What if Goodwin subjects herself to risks such as miscarriage of the baby?

Is it right for her to play and expose her life and that of the baby to danger?

4. Pregnant athletes who terminate their game end up missing scholarship opportunities.

Is it fair that Goodwin make a decision of staying home until she delivers and miss such opportunities?

5. Goodwin claims that even if she had an abortion, she would still be playing for her team.

Is this fair and does it imply that pregnant women are selfish?

Irresponsibility is the central ethical issue to be resolved because it creates a negative impact on behaviors of players. It leads to wrong decision making when they opt to proceed with the game even in their pregnant situation. The reason is because they perceive athletics as a way of maintaining fitness by exercising even when they are pregnant. Furthermore, this enables them to remain competitive but is a bad decision that exposes the woman and fetus to danger. The solution that could assist in reducing irresponsibility among pregnant women is to stop participating in athletics. For instance, a woman might assume that she is fit but she has a hypertension problem that could cause termination of the pregnancy. In such a case, this can be avoided when a pregnant woman takes responsibility of her condition to rest for safety of the baby. In addition, problems evident among irresponsible pregnant women who proceed with athletics are oxygen deficit, hyperthermia and sports injuries (Zedd 65).

If pregnant women are irresponsible of their condition, it could lead to sports injuries. This implies that a direct impact caused by athletics damages the fetus or the mother’s womb. Due to this potential risk, it is up to the mother to take responsibility of her condition by terminating athletics. The consequences of athletics could cause trauma to the fetus and the only sure solution is for the woman to make a good decision by taking a break until when she delivers the baby.  Irresponsibility among pregnant women could also lead to oxygen deficit. This is stimulated by factors such as intensity of the practice, duration and type that could affect the heart rate of the developing baby. In some circumstances, if a pregnant athlete attends practice on a regular basis, it enables the fetus to get used to stress of the exercise and subjects it to a better condition. This could be a similar situation to that of Fantasia Goodwin because she managed to deliver her baby safely despite the continuous exercises during her pregnancy. On the contrary, for unfit women, high intensity practices could affect their fetus because it decreases flow of blood to the uterus leading to serious oxygen shortage.

The solution to this issue is for pregnant athletes to be conscious and pay attention to movement of the fetus (Wyne 134). This is because developing babies in the womb stop moving when they lack sufficient supply of oxygen. In addition, responsible pregnant women who participate in athletics must drink plenty of water to keep them safe. The relevance to this information in relation to irresponsibility among pregnant women is that it enables them to make a wise decision. For instance, the significance of a pregnant woman being responsible is that she takes caution to avoid miscarriages and abortions that could happen during athletics. These details create awareness to pregnant women to check with medical practitioners if they are unfit or fit to go for exercises in their condition.

Step 2: Research

The following are sources that are relevant to the central ethical issue in relation to Goodwin’s condition.

  1. “Unfairness during sports”

This is evident when women athletes are denied a chance to participate in sports when they are pregnant. Based on this case, the writer suggests that when a female athlete is pregnant, she should be terminated immediately from exercising for her safety and that of the child. This is an ethical issue because it affects only female athletes and not men. For instance, this could mean immediate suspension of the athlete against her will (Barbara 72).

  • “Unconsciousness by pregnant women”

Conversely, another issue noted from the case is that pregnant women need to be conscious of their situation because this contributes to responsibility of their actions. According to medical experts, this tends to affect pregnant women involved in athletics by exposing them to dangerous threats such as miscarriages.

  • “ Discrimination against Female Athletes”

This is another ethical issue that is experienced in sports. Discrimination against female athletes is another challenge experienced in sports. The article exhibits how the public discriminates against pregnant women by assuming that they cannot participate in athletics. As a result, this affects the female participants who are pregnant when it terminates their scholarship in athletics.

  • “ Selfishness among pregnant athletes”

Another issue in the case is whether pregnant women are selfish; this is evident when Goodwin ignored her responsibility as a mother by exposing her baby at risk. In this case, there is also a challenge when sports officials fail to adhere to NCAA rules. For instance, it becomes an issue when sports officials do not exhibit integrity by denying pregnant women athletes the red t-shirt option that could permit them to participate in the 6th year to prove their eligibility in athletics. On the contrary, the medical red t-shirts are issued at discretion to be used at a 17 school athletics program (Wyne 165).

Step 3: Analysis

In this section, I evaluate on options that Fantasia Goodwin could have opted to take, the stakeholders affected and how each choice affects an individual stakeholder. The stakeholders involved in this case are Fantasia Goodwin, medical practioners, the coach, team players and individuals who offer scholarships. The following are decisions that Goodwin could opt for;

  1. Visit the medical practitioners for advice
  2. Inform the coach about her pregnant condition
  3. Be loyal to her team and benefit from scholarships
  4. Drop out of the team and return after delivery
  5. Continue playing and ignore the risks that come along such as abortion.


  Advice Inform couch Be loyal Drop out Continue playing    
Fantasia Goodwin If she seeks advice from medical practioners, it enables her to know if she is fit to continue playing in her pregnant condition. Telling the couch about her condition will make him dismiss her from the team. If Goodwin decides to remain at her team, she might benefit from scholarship opportunities. This option grants her safety from dangerous risks such as abortion. If Goodwin proceeds playing, she might keep fit but also risk losing the baby.    
Medical practitioners If medical staff advices her to take a break, they may not risk their patient losing pregnancy hence will avoid complications from her. Informing her condition to the couch will make him direct her to medical practitioners who will take care of her. Being loyal and continuing to play will cause worries to medical staff about her condition. Medical practitioners will be at peace when she drops out because it’s a sure way of being safe. This will increase worry among the medical staff as there is high chances of losing the baby.    
Couch If she decides to go off, the couch will miss a player in his team. Informing the couch may convince him to discontinue her from playing. Being loyal will put the couch at risk to be answerable if anything bad happens. This will give a couch a difficult time of finding another player to replace her. The couch may risk going to court if she loses the baby.    
Team players If advised to leave, players will miss her company. This could lead to changes in the team that might make other members uncomfortable. Loyalty will make other members miss scholarship chances due to her presence. Dropping out will create a gap that may affect performance of other players in the team. If she continues playing and abort, it will discourage others to play when pregnant.    
Scholarship individuals If Goodwin accepts the advice of taking a break, scholarship individuals may find it difficult to award others considering that she is a best player. These stakeholders may end up excluding her from scholarship opportunities. If she remains loyal and be one of the best players, it will force them to increase the number of scholarships. Dropping out will force these individuals to search for other best players to award. If she proceeds to play, they will be forced to increase the number of scholarships to be enough to all players who qualify.    

Ethical Implications

Based on an inductive moral reasoning, there are ethical implications that these potential solutions may have on stakeholders (Morgan 156). For instance, for medical practitioners that are part of the athletics group, this may force them to be concerned and carry out follow-ups on pregnant women who participate in sports. This can be accomplished through checkups to ensure that they are fit to proceed with athletics in their pregnant conditions. In relation to the deductive moral reasoning, ethical implications that potential options have stakeholders affect the organization that is responsible in issuing scholarships. A good example is when an athlete woman is pregnant, she cannot access scholarship because the firm responsible for awarding them terminates her opportunity with thoughts that she cannot compete again in athletics.  As a result, this affects stakeholders who offer scholarships and tend to seek for another alternative other than awarding the pregnant women.

Step 4: Application

In this section, I will apply ethical theories to the options that I listed in above steps.

  1. Consequential ethical theory

Consequential theory could be of help to find a resolution of irresponsibility among pregnant athletes, which is a central ethical issue. In relation to consequential theory, Act suits this case because it reveals that anything a person does at a given time, her overall best consequences are determined by moral and right actions. In regard to irresponsibility, this implies that when a pregnant athlete makes a wise decision by taking responsibility of her actions, this determines her best course of action. For instance, in this case, it is morally right for women in such a condition to take a leave from athletics and return later after delivering for safety purposes.

  • Non-consequential ethical theory

The second theory to apply is non-consequential theory concerning natural laws. According to this law, moral standards that govern behaviors of human beings depend on nature of human beings and the universe (Zedd 156).  Based on its central principles, this theory is morally right because it reveals how character of human beings depends on their behaviors. For instance, if a pregnant athlete decides to proceed with sports, it is morally acceptable because she is fulfilling her standards by maintaining fitness that is natural in human beings. These central principles of the theories applied assists in resolving the key issue that is irresponsibility among pregnant athletes. For instance, Act is a theory that would assist women to opt for safety measures by taking a break from athletics to keep the baby safe (Morgan 118). Natural law is a theory that incorporates central principles and guides such women to do what they think is right in relation to their nature. For instance, this allows women to exercise in a careful manner to maintain fitness during pregnancy.

Step 5: Decision Making

The wisest and most ethical option is for pregnant women to be responsible for decisions that could lead them to actions that are morally right. Based on research, if pregnant athletes take a break from sports, this could be a relief to stakeholders because they will be sure that they are not exposing baby and mother to risks. Applying the ethical theories and laws, the morally right resolution to central key problem is for pregnant athletes to take responsibility of their actions. This implies that staying away from athletics for some time will assist to keep both of them safe. This is the best solution because it is less dangerous when the pregnant athlete avoid vigorous activities. In addition, the mother will be safe from potential harm caused by athletics that could lead to fetal overheating. It is also the best solution for a pregnant woman to stop participating in athletics to avoid losing the baby through miscarriage.

Step 6: Evaluation

There are three counterarguments against the option I selected as being morally right.

  1. The first argument is that pregnant women will not be able to keep fit when they avoid exercising. This tends to be unhealthy and may affect the normal growth of fetus in the womb.
  2. The second argument is that organizations that award scholarships tend to ignore them thinking they are not capable of competing again. As a result, they offer these scholarships to other athletes who are not pregnant hence promote inequality.
  3. The third argument relates to title IX of Civil Right Acts, it claims that denying pregnant women chances to practice is similar to discriminating them and it prohibits such actions. To defend against these arguments, I concur with the idea of keeping fit only when the woman is in good health condition (Barbara 115). This implies that if she has hypertension issues, medical practioners will not allow her to practice.

Step 7: Reflection

 Reflecting on my thought process, I learnt that responsibility is a virtue in athletics. This applies in case study and it implies that women who are irresponsible by making bad decisions do not act in a moral way. For instance in this case, a pregnant woman takes risk of engaging in athletics without the knowledge that she could lose the baby. To improve on the problem solving process, I could incorporate more arguments and alternatives to central issue to find a relevant solution.      

Works Cited

Barbara, Lenice. Women in sport. Malden, MA: Blackwell Science, 2000. Print.

Morgan, William. Ethics in sport. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2001. Print.

Wyne, Robert.  Ethics of sport and athletics: theory, issues, and application. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2009. Print.

Zedd, Robert.  Fair play the ethics of sport. 3rd ed. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2010. Print.