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Advice to Students who become Pregnant during their Course of Study

The purpose of this document is to ensure that if you become pregnant while you are a student at UCL you know where to seek advice about your own health, the health of your child, the management of your course of study and any benefits and services available to you.

Early action

It is important to obtain sound advice as soon as you know you are pregnant. If you believe you are pregnant because of missed periods or because you have used an 'over the counter' pregnancy test, you should have your pregnancy confirmed, or otherwise, by a doctor as soon as possible.

You can obtain confidential advice from the Health Centre at Gower Place, even if you are not registered with one of the doctors there, or you can consult your own GP. If you prefer to go outside UCL for advice, there are a number of agencies that you can visit, including the Marie Stopes Foundation.

Your future plans and action

Your doctor will arrange for you to be registered for ante-natal care. It is very important that you let your Departmental Tutor, Programme Tutor or Supervisor know as soon as possible. The reasons for doing this are to make the best plans for your course of study and examinations and also to ensure any special measures needed for your safety and the safety of your child. Remember, the greatest risk to an unborn child from exposure to chemicals and radiations occurs in the first 13 weeks of the pregnancy. Should you feel uneasy about telling your Department, seek advice from the International and Welfare or Women's Sabbatical Officers or the UCLU Rights and Advice Centre.

Once you have informed your Department, they will complete a Risk Assessment with you to identify any relevant risks associated with your study programme and to manage these risks for your protection. The main risks are associated with physical activity or exposure to some chemicals, radiation and biological agents. The Department may consult the UCL Safety Advisory Units when completing the Risk Assessment.

You will also need to plan with your Department how your pregnancy will effect your course of study. You are entitled to interrupt your course of study because of pregnancy and it is important to make a plan to take account both of the academic requirements of your study programme and your needs as a pregnant mother. You will be expected not to attend UCL during the four weeks immediately preceding birth and for one month after birth. Normally, the maximum period of interruption allowed is two years. You should also arrange with your Department any absences needed for attendance at ante-natal clinics. Students whose partners are pregnant may similarly apply to their Departments for interruptions to cover the birth of their partner's child and also to make any arrangements for attendance at ante-natal clinics with their partner.

Finance

Your student loan can continue for up to 60 days from the beginning of any interruption of study. You will need to inform the Student Loan Company of your circumstances. You will also need to apply for maternity benefit and information about this can be obtained through your ante-natal clinic or from the UCLU Rights and Advice Centre, who will also help you with your approach to the Student Loan Company. Graduate students in receipt of Research Council or other awards should contact the sponsor and make arrangements for the suspension of the award during the period of interruption.

International students are unlikely to be entitled to maternity benefit and UCL recommends that they should return home unless they have sufficient funds to remain in the UK. Overseas students who have financial sponsors must inform the sponsors of their circumstances and agree an appropriate plan of action. International students who return home for the birth of the child should note that most airlines will not carry pregnant passengers after 7 months of pregnancy have elapsed. Also, international students returning home should arrange for continuing ante-natal care in their home country and take with them details of any care they have received in the UK.

Special considerations

Field work

If you plan to take part in field work whilst pregnant, this must be specifically addressed in the Risk Assessment completed by the Department as there may be special risks associated with the field work. You will not be permitted to take part in field work after 7 months of pregnancy have elapsed.

Year abroad

Students who become pregnant whilst on a year abroad must contact the Study Abroad Office at UCL to make appropriate plans to ensure that their health is safeguarded and their academic progress is properly managed.

Mitigating circumstances

If you are unwell during your pregnancy you should let your Department know and provide notes from your doctor as evidence of this.

Returning to UCL

Academic considerations

Let your Department know when you are ready to return and plan with your Tutor or Supervisor the optimum timetable for your return to your programme of study, including the examination schedule.

Finance

Inform the Student Loan Company or financial sponsor of your plans to return to study once these have been agreed with your Department.

Childcare

This will need advance planning. It is advisable to begin to make arrangements at the beginning of your pregnancy. UCL operates a Day Nursery, with special rates for students, but places are very limited.

Breast feeding

There are no specific facilities for breast feeding at UCL but your department will endeavour to identify an appropriate location and you should approach your personal tutor in the first instance.

Sources of advice

UCLU Rights and Advice Centre, UCL Union, first floor, Bloomsbury Theatre Building.
020 7679 4130

Health Centre, 3 Gower Place, London WC1

020 7679 7057

UCL Student Psychological Services, 3-4 Taviton Street, London WC1
020 7679 1487

UCL Day Nursery
020 76797461

Marie Stopes Foundation
020 7574 7400

Page Editor: The Registrar's Office

Page last modified on 08 aug 13 18:29