abbie doc
Guinness Women's Six Nations star Abbie Ward features in a new documentary on ITVX about the challenges facing professional female athletes and all working mothers.

Abbie Ward. A Bump in the Road chronicles the remarkable journey of the England rugby player as she battles back to the professional game just 17 weeks after the birth of her baby in July 2023 - and then secures her return to England’s Championship squad for 2024.

Adding an extra layer of intrigue, the ultimate decision-maker in her return to play at Bristol Bears is the women’s head coach, Dave Ward - her husband.

The film showcases the remarkable spirit of a mother driven by an extraordinary dream: to inspire her daughter and leave an enduring legacy in sport. It also tackles long-held myths that prevent many women from remaining active during and after their pregnancies.

Commenting on her ambition for the documentary, director Sue Anstiss MBE, a renowned women’s sport campaigner, author and podcaster, says: “It’s fantastic that we’re now seeing elite female athletes combining their sporting careers with motherhood - especially in sports like tennis, athletics and cycling. But it’s rarer to see this for sportswomen competing in team sports. The demanding nature of rugby, with its physical contact and impact, makes it all the more remarkable that Abbie would try to return to the sport professionally, so soon after she’d had her baby.

“I believe this film will transcend the world of sport, resonating with audiences everywhere, especially with women who face the societal challenge of balancing careers with motherhood.”

Ward is the first player to benefit from a new RFU maternity policy, as the media spotlights the challenges and triumphs of elite sportswomen returning to professional sport as mothers.

Ward says: “What’s most important to me is that my story can serve as an example for sportswomen in the future. I hope I can be a test case to show what’s possible for female athletes when they have great support around them during and after pregnancy.

"The world of women’s sport is changing rapidly, and enabling professional athletes to keep competing as mothers is another important milestone.”

The documentary is now available on ITVX.