University of Reading
While we know you probably have a lot of questions and very few answers right now, there is a lot of support available and you have so many more rights now there are two of you. Below, we have collated a lot of the information of what both universities and the country will offer you.
You have a legal right not to be discriminated against for being pregnant. If you feel like your university is not supporting you, you may wish to make a complaint through your Head of Department, your University Complaints Procedure, or Student Union.
-From the Uni
You may be eligible for your university’s student support fund. These are funds which are given to students who are struggling to meet day to day living costs due to unforeseen circumstances and includes student parents.
-From the Government
You are also almost certainly eligible for general help from your government – please check here (link to general advice for relevant country)
-From Student Finance
If you pay your tuition through Student Finance, ask your tutor or Financial advice area ([email protected]) for further guidance. If using Student Finance, you are usually entitled to more of a grant/loan once you have a dependent child.
Continuing Your Course
We recommend speaking with an academic member of staff - preferably your personal tutor or someone else you know. They will act as your point of contact to the university and sort a lot of the admin side. Whichever member of staff you go to should support you through your pregnancy, both academically and pastorally.
Your baby is most at risk in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, so it is advisable that you go sooner rather than later, especially if you study a course which includes working in a lab with chemicals .
-In the Meeting
In your meeting, the staff member should work with you to find out what you need. Things for you to consider and bring up in the meeting would be:
- Alternatives for exams and assessments if pending
- Think of what would be helpful for you. This could be as simple as a deadline extension and a more comfortable chair, to postponing exams.
- Pregnancy related absence
- Will you need time off or possible modification to restructure your timetable for medical appointments or antenatal classes?
- Maternity leave and return
- It is legally recommended that you take 2 weeks off after birth, but it is normal to take up to one academic year off post birth if you so wish. You can always take time off and communicate with your tutor when you wish to return.
- What measures would help you catch up with your studies?
- Online powerpoints? Lecture recordings? Regular tutor meetings? Or perhaps taking a year off?
- Risk assessment
- Your member of staff should also make a risk assessment with you so that both you and your unborn baby are safe. Do you live up 5 flights of stairs? Or do you study a degree which involves working with chemicals?
- You might also want to discuss a plan for alternative placements, field trips, and study abroad if required. Universities often have a contingent plan for these circumstances.
Being Pregnant/Having a Baby on Campus
If your existing accommodation is no longer suitable during pregnancy, or you need help finding suitable accommodation for your return, speak to the Accommodation and Residential Services for help and to explore your options. Most Universities have some family friendly flats which may be suitable, but the accommodation office can also help with non-university owned family housing if needed:
Students who are breastfeeding or have a baby under 26 weeks are protected under the Equality Act 2010. This means that you can breastfeed in any public space. However, if you would like to breastfeed in private or have a room to rest in, speak to your school office/personal tutor/students’ union before you return and they will be able to help find you a comfortable space.