Often students may be confused or concerned about how to navigate their higher education, such as university. These concerns may be heightened in the face of unexpected circumstances, and students may feel even more lost. One of the events students are often curious about is pregnancy, and how universities react to them. A common question is if universities accept pregnant students, or if accommodations are made for them.
To put it briefly, yes, universities accept pregnant students. In fact, there are usually support programmes offered (as well as different types of help offered) to expecting students in the UK. What also usually tends to happen is that class schedules and deadlines for coursework may also be relaxed for pregnant pupils.
If you are interested in more information about being pregnant and attending university, read on for more.
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Can you go to university if you are pregnant?
In short, yes, you can go to university if pregnant! Most universities hold the attitude that becoming pregnant or having a young child should not be a barrier to study.
Typically, universities will have plans and in place for pregnant students, as it is not a particularly rare phenomenon. As well as this, pregnant students in the UK are protected by the Equality Act of 2010, so being pregnant is not grounds for being denied education at university.
To find out more about what to expect when pregnant at university, visit this helpful article at The Guardian.
What happens if you get pregnant while at university?
Understandably, students may be in shock at the news they are pregnant. Some students think that they should immediately terminate their studies, but it doesn’t always have to be the case.
It is important to tell the university sooner rather than later. The student welfare officer may be able to offer guidance and support about the student’s next steps, as well as point them in the direction of available support.
It is also important to talk to your tutor. Talking to your tutor is important because it can help you decide what to do about your studies, absences, and putting various coursework and deadlines on hold in order to successfully take time off.
The university may also be required to carry out a risk assessment, depending on whether the student is in a lab setting or is working with chemicals that may be dangerous.
Support can also be found in the form of peers. Pregnancies can sometimes feel very isolating, so having a support network of friends and fellow students can really help emotionally and mentally.
To read more on potential support for pregnant students, this website, Pregnant at Uni, may also be helpful.
Is there financial support available for pregnant students?
One of the most significant issues when expecting is the issue of finance, and this can be felt even more keenly by pupils who study full-time. The costs when expecting can add up both quickly and expeditiously.
Luckily, there are various financial support programmes available for expecting students. For example, in England and Wales, the Student Loans Company offers a Parent Learning Allowance. You can check out more information about this on the UK Government website here.
The Student Loans Company also offer a Childcare Grant, the article for which is linked here. Eligibility for these two programmes isn’t always guaranteed, but going through pregnancy as a student applies nonetheless.
Students also have the option of talking to the National Association of Student Money Advisers (or NASMA for short), who may be able to provide detailed and personal advice and guidance on government support and the best way to make that budget work for students. Their website can be found here.
Factoring in childcare is also important, as costs for creches and nurseries can add up if students only need a couple of hours for lectures, as some require a minimum number of days per week.
It may also be worth finding out information about any child benefit or child tax credit students can receive via universal credit following their graduation.
There isn’t any official financial support available for pregnant students; depending on where they are based, students may need to budget for travel to check-ups and hospital appointments.
How to manage absences as a pregnant student?
Being absent from lectures can take its toll on a student’s education and academic progress, and being a pregnant student means a lot of those absences, both unplanned and planned.
These extenuating circumstances could include maternity leave, antenatal appointments, morning sickness, healthcare, unexpected medical appointments, or other various maternity related appointments.
The most efficient and fastest way to overcome this issue is through preparing in advance. Talk to tutors, fellow pupils and friends to find ways to avoid falling behind on academics and coursework.
Talking to tutors especially can help push back deadlines in case of absences and can therefore make the extra workload less of a burden.
It may be possible for lecturers to adjust and help by recording their lectures and posting them online for students to watch when they can’t be in the lecture hall or classroom. Also, taking courses with online lessons may also be a good option.
Most universities will ultimately offer student support, with access to advisors and mental health counsellors to help pregnant students.
To find out more about expecting at university, this article at Courses Online may be helpful.