As a student who hasn’t planned for it, it can be scary to miss a period or display other symptoms of early pregnancy. It is a situation that can cause all manner of worries to fill your head, making it difficult to concentrate on anything else. However, a surprise pregnancy isn’t the end of the world and you might be amazed by the amount of support you’ll receive if you find yourself in this situation.
If you think you might be pregnant while studying in Leeds, read through this article to find out your next steps.
How to find out if you’re pregnant or not
First things first, it’s important to find out if you are pregnant or not. You may be worrying about nothing!
Early signs of pregnancy
- A missed period (although you may experience light bleeding)
- Nausea (not just in the morning)
- Tiredness or exhaustion
- Peeing more frequently
- Changes in your reactions to smells, flavours, textures, etc.
You may be wondering how soon you can tell if you’re pregnant. This varies from person to person, but it is possible to feel the first twinges of pregnancy as early as one or two weeks after conception. However, some women and people with vulvas can go months without a single symptom.
Take a pregnancy test
If you have some of the above symptoms, you might be pregnant. In which case, it’s time to find out for sure and take a pregnancy test.
As a student, you can get a free pregnancy test from any sexual health clinic, your GP, or your student welfare team (LUU Student Advice, for example).
If the test is positive, you may wish to get the pregnancy confirmed by a doctor before you make any decisions.
Your next steps if you are pregnant
If you are pregnant, you will need to decide if you are continuing with the pregnancy or having a termination. Talk to your partner (or the father of the child), family and friends about this, but also chat to your university’s student welfare team. They are removed from the situation and are able to offer unbiased information regarding studying while pregnant. This additional information may help you to come to a decision.
If you decide to terminate the pregnancy, you will need to talk to your GP. If you decide to keep the baby, you’ll also need to talk to your GP so they can track your pregnancy as it progresses. In time, you will be assigned a midwife and be invited to check-ups and scans to make sure everything is going well with mother and baby.
Also talk to all of your tutors and fellow students — the more people who know, the more support you will receive during your pregnancy.
Your student welfare teams
The University of Leeds
0113 3801 400
Or drop in to see them — they’re located in the Union Foyer and wear teal blue t-shirts.
Monday – Friday 8 AM – 7 PM
Saturday – Sunday: 10 AM – 6 PM
Leeds Beckett University
Students’ Union Advice Service
0113 812 8400
Or drop in to see them.
City drop-in session: Monday – Friday 11 AM – 3 PM
Headingley drop-in session: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 11 AM – 12 PM & 2 PM – 3 PM
Is it possible to study while pregnant?
It is possible to study while pregnant, but you’ll want to have a plan in place for later in the pregnancy and, of course, for when baby arrives.
The first trimester can be difficult as this is when ‘morning sickness’ is most likely to strike (and it isn’t just limited to mornings!)
You may find that your concentration and memory are also challenged somewhat during your pregnancy due to the phenomenon known as ‘baby brain‘.
Throughout your pregnancy, it will be important to rest well and avoid stress where possible. Make sure you plan rest time into your studies.
Keep communications open with your university regarding how you are feeling and let them know about all of your scans, check-up dates, etc. in advance. If you are struggling with your studies, flag it as soon as you can.
What are your other options?
If you decide not to continue your studies while pregnant, you’ll need to chat to your university as there will be many options available to you — including taking a year out (depending on when you fall pregnant).
What benefits can pregnant students claim?
The benefits you’ll be able to claim as a pregnant student and a student with a child will depend on your personal circumstances.
It is possible for students to be eligible for maternity pay if they are in part-time employment or have been recently.
The two types of maternity pay are Statutory Maternity Pay (for those currently in employment) and Maternity Allowance (paid by the Government to those who have recently been in work).
When your child is born, you or your parent/guardian (if you’re under 20 years old and in full-time education) will be able to claim Child Benefit.
You’ll also benefit from free prescriptions and free dental treatment.
You can get the best and most up-to-date information on all of this from your student finance team.
University of Leeds
If you’re a student at the University of Leeds, get in touch with LUU Advice and they’ll be able to assist you with all your pregnancy finance questions. This article is also helpful.
Leeds Beckett University
If you’re a student at Leeds Beckett University, you can give the Money Advice Line a call and they’ll be able to let you know where you stand regarding pregnancy and benefits as a student.
Money Advice Line
0113 812 5593
Weekdays 10 AM – 12 PM (except Thursdays)
If these hours don’t suit you, you can request a call back outside of these hours by completing this form.
Leeds Trinity University
If you’re studying at Leeds Trinity University, you can contact their Student Adviser, Emma Quirke, with your questions and queries on 0113 283 7173 or [email protected]
Leeds university policies for pregnant students
To know exactly where you stand with your university as a pregnant student, you can read your university’s pregnancy policy.
Childcare at university
The University of Leeds has childcare available on campus. Bright Beginnings is a nursery for children between the ages of three months and five years. It is open between the hours of 8 AM and 6 PM during the university semester and offers a variety of experiences for little ones — from the outdoor area to the indoor light exploration space.
For those studying at Leeds Beckett University, there’s no nursery on campus but the North Leeds Community Nursery is located on the edge of the Headingley campus. Otherwise, there are plenty of other nurseries in the area.
Leeds Trinity University students have access to childcare on campus with Cliffe House Day Nursery.