Becoming a mom might not have been what you envisioned when you decided to get started with or return to your education, but nevertheless, it’s going to happen. Getting pregnant while you’re at college can be a massive surprise to some, and it’s all too common to feel like the odds are stacked against you. It can be tricky trying to deal with the stresses of pregnancy and making sure that you meet expectations and deadlines while still taking care of both yourself and your baby. There’s no denying that being pregnant while studying at college can be a highly challenging experience, but it’s certainly not impossible to make sure that you are still successful. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
Top 5 Tips for Handling Pregnancy at College
#1. Prioritize Self Care
Any mother will tell you that when you’re pregnant, your baby becomes your new boss. So, regardless of college, this is the time to put yourself first and really listen to your body when it is trying to tell you something. Don’t be afraid to postpone certain aspects of your college degree work if you need to due to health or stress – at the end of the day, these can always be taken at a later date.
Looking after yourself is also hugely important. Make sure that you are eating well and staying hydrated, to give yourself and your baby the best fuel to get you through the day. And some gentle exercise can help improve your mood, clear your head and boost your appetite. Speak to your doctor or midwife about what types of exercise are the most appropriate for you to continue doing throughout pregnancy as this will depend on a number of factors such as your exercise levels beforehand and your level of risk in pregnancy.
#2. Consider Studying Online
Getting to campus to attend classes can be a struggle at any point during pregnancy, from getting up for early lectures if you’re suffering from morning sickness in the first trimester, to getting there when you’re heavily pregnant and just want to spend the day in bed. So, speaking to your tutor about the possibility of taking some online classes might be the best option for you. Not only will this allow you to be more flexible with your studies if you’re not feeling up to it, but you’ll also find it easier to fit your college work around all the appointments that you’re going to be attending with your midwife or OBGYN.
The good news is that there’s an online option for almost every degree program out there, whether you’re a freshman studying for your bachelor’s degree or are enrolled in an FNP program after years of the previous study. You may be able to complete your entire program online or simply pick some online modules while attending the class for the rest – it’s up to you.
#3. Get Support
Communicating well with the people who are there to support you during this time is absolutely crucial if you are at college while pregnant. Your teachers, your student advisor, and even fellow students can all be great sources of support for you if you let them. As soon as you find yourself in a position where you may need help, it’s a wise idea to schedule meetings with your professors. When they are aware of your situation, they can help you out with extensions to assignment deadlines and putting other plans in place to make sure that you are still able to be successful at school.
It’s also worth sitting down with your academic advisor and letting them know about your situation. They can take you through your options and help you determine whether dropping a class, for now, studying for some or all classes online, or taking more time to complete your studies will be beneficial for you. They can also help when it comes to determining if the steps that you take will affect your enrolment status or your eligibility for financial aid.
#4. Come Up with a Schedule
Coming up with a schedule for yourself that you know you can work with can help you reduce stress and stay on top of things when you are pregnant at college. Even a simple study timetable can make it easier for you to plan ahead, and when you know exactly where you need to be at any given time on any given day it’s harder to become overwhelmed, and this calmer, in control you will be better for both yourself and your baby.
If you’re going to continue studying on campus, then it may be worth to speak to your professors about only attending afternoon classes while you are pregnant if you are experiencing morning sickness. Leaving class until the afternoon will give you the morning to take care of yourself and recover from any sickness you’ve been feeling. And, make sure that you are giving yourself plenty of time in between classes – you’ll probably find that you need to go to the toilet more often when you’re pregnant, and it’s worth having some time to eat a healthy snack between classes to keep your energy levels up.
#5. Prepare for Giving Birth
There are plenty of things that you will need to do in preparation for welcoming your little one into the world; packing your hospital bag, getting your birthing partner ready, and attending classes to prepare yourself with your midwife or OBGYN. But when you’re at college, you need to think about making sure that everything is in place for you weeks before, too.
Try and request time off college a few weeks before your due date – the last thing that you want is to end up going into labor in the middle of a lecture! Make sure that you have approved time off from classes and that any assignments or exams due have been postponed for you so that you can spend these crucial last few weeks getting ready for the arrival of your baby.
If you’re pregnant in college, then you’re certainly not alone! During this time, there are several adjustments you can make to ensure that you can still succeed while putting yourself and your baby first.