Sports Technology Institute


Rachel Vatter

Photo of  Rachel Vatter

Doctoral Researcher


Compression garments for postpartum women and how they can aid a return to sport

Key research areas

Postpartum, compression, return to sport, pregnancy.

Summary of research

During pregnancy and throughout the postpartum period women undergo many anatomical, physiological, and musculoskeletal changes. Many of these changes can result in discomfort and pain which women can continue to experience long after giving birth. Regular exercise is recommended as it has many physical and psychological benefits, as well as helping lessen symptoms of social withdrawal. Many of the problems which arise during pregnancy and the postpartum period can deter women from beginning or returning to exercise. The aim of this research is to consider and evaluate ways in which these issues can be alleviated which will allow women to feel more comfortable and confident when returning to exercise after childbirth.

Academic supervisors

  • Dr Aimee Mears
  • Dr Diana Segura-Velandia

Additional academic projects / roles

Rachael is a member of the ISEA 2024 conference committee, whose job it is to organise the biennial international conference.


Rachael grew up in the lake district, Cumbria, and before university represented her county in cross country, fell running, and cricket. Her love of sport is what first interested Rachael in pursuing an engineering degree with the hope to later specialise in a sport related subject.

Awards and qualifications

Rachael completed her undergraduate degree at Loughborough university in Mechanical engineering, MEng. During her degree Rachael spent a year in industry at Lubrizol using computer aided design (CAD) and computer aided manufacture (CAM) to produce parts which were on used engine test rigs to analyse engine oil additives.

In the final year of her degree Rachael also chaired the university triathlon club, which is the largest university club in the country.

Non academic interests

Rachael has competed internationally in triathlon since 2015 at both European and World level. Alongside her PhD she still trains for triathlon and races in British, Spanish, and French leagues.