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Pregnancy whilst studying

Introduction

Early symptoms of pregnancy may include: missed menstrual period, nausea or vomiting, tiredness and fatigue, a craving for certain foods. Discovering you are pregnant can invoke a variety of feelings and these can be different for each individual and their circumstances. When you find out that you are pregnant it is normal to have questions and it can be an emotional time. Finding out you are pregnant whilst studying at university can give you even more questions and decisions to make about your life and future. Your circumstances are individual but this page is aiming to give you some general guidance and resources.

Regardless of if you are proceeding with pregnancy or planning a termination there is a range of services within the university that can assist you with practical concerns, such as finance or studying plans, and your emotional wellbeing.

What First? The first thing to do is to talk to your GP who can confirm your pregnancy and discuss your options with you.

If you are considering terminating your pregnancy you may wish to seek support to help think through your decision process and explore your feelings in a non-judgemental, neutral space. You may like to register with the University Counselling Service for a face-to-face appointment, or consider the option of Email Counselling. Or you can seek support from specialist services within the locality (see below). If you feel some time out from your studies may be required, your GP can provide a medical certificate but if you do not wish to disclose the reasons for time off you can inform the university that it is on “medical grounds”.

If you are continuing your pregnancy is advisable to talk to your personal tutor as soon as possible so that your department can support your studies. Your course may need to carry out a risk assessment, which does not assume that pregnancy will incur ill health and for many courses the risks will be low. However, courses that involve physical activity, including lifting and carrying; the use of chemicals, including paints and pesticides and some lab work may pose risks. Pregnancy does not mean you need to leave your course of study, as you are protected by the Equality Act 2010. There is an array of arrangements which may be made such as taking temporary withdrawal or reasonable adjustments so that you can continue to sit exams or complete coursework whilst pregnant. The university can make arrangements such as extra exam time to allow for rest breaks or alternative seating. You should also inform your department of any antenatal appointments so that they can arrange the time off. Prospective fathers at university are also entitled to time off for antenatal appointments and delivery days. Temporary withdrawal may vary in length of time depending on your circumstances. Planning for return: Before maternity leave tell your personal tutor of your preferred means of contact whilst off, by communicating it will ensure that you can be confident that things are in place for your return. It is also advisable to start planning childcare whilst still pregnant. The university has its own nursery service http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/nursery. Depending on your accommodation needs you may need to liaise with the accommodation department. If you are requiring a private area for breastfeeding please liaise with your department about provisions that can be provide.

Getting Support and Resources

Within Coventry there are the following family planning services:

  • Integrated Sexual Health Services 0300 020 0027 which runs by appointment or drop in. It is on 3rd Floor, City of Coventry Health Centre, Stoney Stanton Road, Coventry, CV1 4FS
  • British Pregnancy Advisory Service which has a drop in centre and an action line 24 Hours 0845 730 4030 https://www.bpas.org/

Within Leamington Spa there is a sexual health clinic located at Brunswick Healthy Living Centre

https://www.respectyourself.info/provider/contraception-and-sexual-health-clinic-leamington-spa/

University guidelines and information: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/aro/pregnancy

University Pregnancy, Maternity support guidelines http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/academicoffice/gsp/aboutus/formslibrary/maternity_guidelines_sept_2014.pdf

Student Finance department – can advise on the impact on your student loan and may be able to signpost you to grants or benefits.

https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/benefits-and-entitlements-to-claim-when-you-have-a-baby

Counselling service - choose either face-to-face or email counselling, to help acknowledge and understand the feelings you may be experiencing around pregnancy and the choices you are making.

Wellbeing Support Services can liaise with your department or provide you with mental and physical health and wellbeing information.

For international students the international office will be able to advise on any implications it may have on your visa http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/study/international/immigration/othervisas/

The student union advice centre may also be a source of practical information and signposting http://www.warwicksu.com/advice /

Some websites and organisations that offer support in pregnancy and the post-natal period:

NHS Health A-Z www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Pages/hub.aspx

The National Childbirth Trust www.nct.org.uk

Pregnancy sickness support www.pregnancysicknesssupport.org.uk

Brook www.brook.org.uk

Nutrition in pregnancy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nutrition_and_pregnancy

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