Students who become pregnant during their studies may need detailed information, guidance and support on a range of issues. Do seek advice as soon as you know you are pregnant to avoid encountering problems later. If you think you may be pregnant because of missed periods or because you have used an ‘over the counter’ pregnancy test or for any other reason, you should consult your GP to have your pregnancy confirmed, or otherwise, as soon as possible. The Square 13 (Sexual Health Service) is based at Denburn Health Centre www.nhsgrampian.org/nhsgrampian/sexual_health.jsp
It is important to make any decisions based on your own health, the health of your child and the management of your course of study, and also to be aware of any benefits and services available to you. Staff in the Student Advice & Support Office can provide confidential and objective advice and assistance on the practical, financial and personal aspects of your pregnancy.
Information and Guidance for Students Who Become Pregnant During Their Studies
If you decide your pregnancy is to be terminated, there is no need for any one at the University to know, but, should you wish to talk to someone about this, staff in the Student Advice & Support Office or the University Counselling Service are happy to speak with you in confidence. However, should you have to take time off, you should self-certify your unfitness to attend classes in the usual way, but it is not necessary to specify the exact reason.
If your pregnancy is to continue, your doctor will make the arrangements for your ante-natal care and delivery.
If you are unwell during your pregnancy you should self-certify or provide medical certificates from your doctor as evidence of this.
In certain circumstances, where there could be a potential risk to your unborn child (for example from exposure to certain pathogens, chemicals or radiation in the laboratory), it will be important that your School is informed as soon as possible to enable them to carry out a review of your study programme and, where necessary, ensure that measures are taken for your health and safety and that of your child. The Student Advice & Support Office will contact the School on your behalf to ask that a specific risk assessment be undertaken.
The University provides guidance to Schools on health and safety issues for new and expectant mothers.
Once your School has been informed, it will arrange to carry out a risk assessment with you to identify any relevant risks associated with your study programme and to manage these risks for your protection. The School may also consult the University’s Health & Safety Adviser when completing the risk assessment.
If you plan to take part in fieldwork whilst pregnant, this should be specifically addressed in the risk assessment completed by the School as there may be special risks associated with the fieldwork.
You may also wish to discuss with your Adviser of Studies or Regent the impact of your pregnancy on your course of study. You may decide to interrupt your studies because of your pregnancy and it is important, when making this decision, to plan to take into account both the academic requirements of your study programme and your needs as an expectant mother.
If your expected date of delivery falls within the academic session, you will almost certainly need to take time out of study. Unless you are already a lone parent or are a part-time student, you will not be entitled to Government benefits before your baby is born, as the majority of students are not entitled to these benefits until their course is finally completed. If you are in employment, you may be entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay or, if you have recently been in employment but are no longer working and have a adequate National Insurance Contribution record, you may be entitled to Maternity Allowance. Contact the Student Advice & Support Office for further information.
However, once your baby arrives, you may be able to claim certain benefits, depending on your personal circumstances. Whether married, in an unmarried partnership or single, you may be entitled to Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit. If you are a single parent, you may be able to claim other benefits, free milk and vitamins and help with hospital fares.
If you are funded by the Student Award Agency for Scotland, you can continue to receive support during a temporary interruption of studies for illness or caring duties. You will need to inform them of your circumstances. Graduate students in receipt of Research Council or other awards should contact their sponsor to arrange for the award to be suspended during the period of interruption.
If you are an international student, subject to the "no recourse to public funds" condition, you will not be eligible for the benefits above. If you have financial sponsors you should inform your sponsors of your circumstances and agree an appropriate plan of action. If you decide to return home for the birth of your baby, you should note that most airlines will refuse to carry pregnant passengers after the 28th week of pregnancy.
Returning to Study
You may feel that you wish to take time out from your studies and arrange to return at a later date: in this case you should contact the Senate Office for advice on suspending and resuming study.
This will need advance planning and it is advisable to begin to make enquiries during of your pregnancy. Students and staff at Aberdeen University may apply to the Rocking Horse Nursery, but please bear in mind that places are very limited. Further information on childcare providers may be found at http://www.scottishchildcare.gov.uk/.
The Scottish Ministers provide a Childcare Fund, administered by the Student Advice & Support Office, to help towards the cost of registered or formal childcare (childminders, after-school clubs, day care and nurseries). Application forms are available from the Student Advice & Support Office.
While there are no restrictions on breastfeeding at the University, there are no specific facilities available for the purposes of breastfeeding or the expression of milk. However, should you require private circumstances, it may be possible to provide access to first aid rooms for these purposes. Contact the Student Advice & Support Office for further details.
Student Advice & Support Office, The Hub, Elphinstone Road, Tel: +44 (0)1224-273935, e-mail email@example.com (Advice, information, support)
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