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PhD and Pregnant?

(7 Posts)
lollydollydrop Mon 10-Feb-14 00:00:04


I'm new to the board (not MN though) and wondering whether anyone here is pregnant and a PhD student?

I am a few months into my PhD, will be 29 in June and unsure whether to start ttc during the course or wait till I graduate (age 32) or even wait till I've been in a job a year.

Would be nice to hear from anyone in a similar position to me smile


Yummiliscious Mon 10-Feb-14 00:20:47

Hi Lora,
Great news that you have started your PhD! I had exactly the same question as you when I started my PhD and decided to wait until I was finishing my PhD to TTC due to financial reasons. Have you checked as to whether your studentship/funding has a maternity leave scheme? I think that makes a big difference as for example my studentship did not provide any maternity pay, they allowed me to "pause" my PhD but there was no financial support. In the case of PhD studentships you also cannot claim maternity payment from the government as you are not paying NI or taxes. Things are slightly different if you are doing a part-time PhD and also working. Thats just the financial aspect...being currently pregnant I can say I would have struggled doing a PhD with my current baby brain! But a lot of people do it and I am very impressed by those that do! Hope this helps!

TestingTestingWonTooFree Mon 10-Feb-14 06:47:35

A friend of mine had a baby during her phd. It sounded horrendous, but she coped with it all.

KateG2010 Mon 10-Feb-14 08:44:16

Hi op. You don't state what subject your PhD is in and I think this will probably effect how well you could cope with being pregnant during your studies. When I did mine in Biomedical Science I found that the hours alone (often in excess of 12 a day) doing practical work would have been impossible when pregnant. (I'm now a pregnant post doc so have some insight!) There are also safety concerns with wet lab work (chemicals, certain biologicals, radiation etc) that need to be considered. My job description has had to adapt massively on being pregnant which has led to problems as colleagues have to take on more of my work - during a PhD when it would have to all be my work I'm not sure I could have coped. If it's more desk based of course it's much more doable!

sksk Mon 10-Feb-14 08:50:07

Hello! Your decision might be based on whether you will get paid maternity leave and if so, you might need to have been in the job for a year. Although I am not doing a PhD, I am doing an MSc as well as specialist training (3 years specialist training, i.e. the Job, and also doing an MSc). I became pregnant in my first year and completed the first year of my training post and MSc and then had my baby. I'm currently on maternity leave so will be going back to my MSc and training post (Aarrgh! I'll be starting my research) and the MSc is in London, so I will have to commute.
I did ponder whether I should wait until I finished the three years but decided against it as I guess I just thought there would never be the right time if I thought about it too much, and also I'd be a little older so might feel more pressure to have another baby quickly! I think things have a way of working out and I feel really lucky to have a baby even though I know it will be difficult when I go back to work/study. Unfortunately I had a 4th degree tear but again, at least I'm on maternity leave while I try to heal.
I think the points made about job safety are valid if it applies to you, but you will know if it is relevant or not.
Good luck!

BettyFriedansLoveChild Mon 10-Feb-14 08:52:20

Hi Lora,

I had DD1 half way through my PhD, and am now writing up and expecting DC2 in the summer. The whole Phd will have taken me 3.5 years from start to finish, so it can all be done within a reasonable timeframe, although it has been exhausting and not for the fainthearted. I would recommend that you think hard about the practicalities and financial implications of childcare before you make your decision - don't assume that you can carry on working on a thesis whilst looking after a baby full time. (We spend virtually my whole grant on childcare; we are lucky that DP earns enough to cover all our other outgoings, but this may not be the case for many.) Think about whether you are willing to use full time childcare, check how much it will cost in your area, and do the sums.

Also, will your DP support your academic career aspirations? - you will need time away from the baby to teach, speak at conferences etc, so he will have to step up and be willing to do at least 50% (if not more sometimes) of all child related tasks. Whilst I was on maternity leave with DD1 I made friends with a group of women all doing phds with babies - the ones who are sinking are the ones with partners who do not pull their weight. (From what I have seen, having a partner who will pull their weight is even more essential than being able to afford childcare).

If you have a supportive partner and can afford childcare, there is no reason why it cannot be done. It will be hard, but combining babies with academia will be hard whenever you decide to do it, so you may as well do it now if that is what you really want! Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

PS - just realised that I have assumed you are in a humanities discipline like me; the logistics that you have to deal with may well be difference if you are in the sciences and have to do lab work, for example. Good advice from Yumiliscious too re. checking the terms of your funding and other financial support.

TeaAndANatter Mon 10-Feb-14 09:48:30


I'm om a funded doctorate, about half way through, and taking a year mat leave (paid) in about four weeks time. Hard work, but then, isn't it anyway. Managing fine on my knees with exhaustion and pulling hair out with the horror of it all despite two other DCs and husband who works away during the week. Go for it!

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