Sports fanatic, educator and researcher, Dr Melanie Hayman, blends work with play by fusing her passion for sport with academia.
Dr Hayman authors accessible, evidence-based information for women and medical professionals to access, to facilitate deeper knowledge and understanding on exercise and physical activity amongst pregnant women.
“I think the research field chose me,” Dr Hayman said.
“I was a very active person when I fell pregnant with my son, and I received a lot of conflicting medical advice from different health professionals.“
“This conflicting advice left me confused and unsure, despite coming from an exercise science background.”
After this experience, Dr Hayman resolved to support pregnant women of all fitness levels through her research.
“It is motivating knowing there are end-users waiting for me to finish pregnancy-related fact sheets that provide evidence-based recommendations that women can follow up with confidence,” she said.
“Or providing feedback on sports policy that will genuinely improve the support structures for elite athletes during post-partum and pregnancy.”
To maintain motivation in the gruelling academic field, Dr Hayman champions the importance of balancing passion and motivation with self-care.
“Engage in research that you are passionate about, it makes the journey so much more enjoyable and worth it,” she said.
“[However] do not be scared to just take a breath and pause now and then, self-care is important and can often be overlooked.”
Practising what she preaches, Dr Hayman has been able to achieve significant career highlights in recent years.
“I think [my career highlights] would be a tie between co-authoring the recent 2020 Australian physical activity guidelines on behalf of the Australian Government [and] leading the development of the first Australian Pre-Screening Tool for exercise during pregnancy,” she said.