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mcook64

Pregnant in Grad School??

19 posts in this topic

So, kind of a weird question that most people probably don't have any experience with, but I want some opinions! I'm thinking I'm totally nuts to start a family while in grad school but my wife thinks we can do it. I haven't started my program yet so I am completely unaware of how intense it will be. Any insight from current graduate students about being able to balance school and family would be appreciated! 

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Posted (edited)

I don't have personal experience with this necessarily, but I had a sort of similar conversation with one of my post-bacc professors before I started applying. We were talking about where I might want to work after grad school and, because I am "older" and not coming right out of undergrad, he told me to consider if and when I want to start a family because some areas (ie: hospitals vs. schools) will be more flexible with maternity leave, hours, etc. than others. I'll be 32 when I graduate and I understand people have children well into their 40s these days but I would prefer not to wait that long. He joked that I could definitely have a baby while in grad school, but to try not to plan my due date for the same day as graduation. Which I took to mean that yes, it's possible. I also have a family friend who had her daughter while she was getting her SLP masters. She told me she would not recommend it if you have a choice but that it was manageable and she obviously doesn't regret it.

FWIW - I was born while my Dad was going through law school. I know it's a different field, but I think law school is definitely up there with the more intense programs and my parents survived. I asked them once why they chose to start a family then, and they said they thought long and hard about it but that ultimately everyone told them there is never a "perfect time" to do it. You'll always feel like life is too hectic or you don't have enough money. It will definitely be a lot of work and require good time management, but I think if you and your wife feel ready you should go for it. Just my 2 cents! 

Edited by ElKel87

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Here's my 2 cents -The question is can you handle it?  Anything is possible with lack of sleep, a sense of humor and perspective.  I'm not sure from your post if your the one who will be pregnant or are the partner  -but either way -it will be challenging at times.  I've had two kids so I can tell you if you have good insurance will have tons of tests and appts.  Unless you are more laid back -I had a friend who only went to the doctor a few times and has had two healthy home-births.  Not my personality.  Ask yourself if you can communicate well, balance life, prioritize, etc.  I'll just add this -when I became a parent (in my 30's) -I had a pretty good perspective but I was unprepared for the amount of mental stress and worry that would start the minute the baby was born.  My first had tests, dr. apps. every week for the first few months -and colic!!  God Bless the people in our condo building.  My second never went to the dr. except for a few well baby exams and was so chill / happy.  He also has severe CAS.  Go figure.  Good Luck.

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I can't tell whether you would be the one carrying your baby or your spouse. Pregnancy takes a physical toll on a woman and with my 2nd pregnancy I had a very rough time because I experienced horrible morning sickness from basically the time I found out I was pregnant until delivery. My OB wouldn't prescribe anti-nausea meds because I was "only" throwing up twice per day and never wound up hospitalized for dehydration.

That said, if it's your spouse who will be carrying your baby, it probably isn't going to be any harder on you to be in grad school vs. employed FT after grad school. Our son was born during fall semester of my DH's last year in grad school. We timed it so that I had paid maternity leave and health insurance right up until spring semester started. The last semester we lived off of his signing bonus for his post-graduation job.

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I think if you are good at managing your time and stress it's doable. I have heard of others who have done it :-) 

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Thank you everyone for your insight! I really appreciate it! I would be the one pregnant and a few of you have brought up some things I hadn't thought about, like morning sickness, doctors appointments, etc. This was a strange question and I really can't thank you guys enough for weighing in! Gives me a lot to think about :) 

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I had at least one classmate who became pregnant at business school (or arrived pregnant).  The usual remedy was one semester off, which can kind of mess up your course sequence if it is in Year 1.   If a second-year elective has a pre-requisite that can only be met with a core class from the spring you were away, then you're sort of hosed.  Taking a full year off would get rid of that problem, although it then means you're a bit out of the game for longer than just a few months and that would send the wrong signals to all who care.

Our first child was born in my second semester, but I was her father.  Luckily, her mother was incredibly prepared and motivated to take care of her.  That caused some tension later, but was a life-saver while in school.  The only real sacrifice, not that it was significant, was that I looked at summer internships closer to home than I might have if I'd been completely footloose and fancy free.

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3 hours ago, mcook64 said:

Thank you everyone for your insight! I really appreciate it! I would be the one pregnant and a few of you have brought up some things I hadn't thought about, like morning sickness, doctors appointments, etc. This was a strange question and I really can't thank you guys enough for weighing in! Gives me a lot to think about :) 

During my 3 pregnancies I saw the OB/midwife for routine pre-natal checks at 8-9 weeks, 12 weeks, 16 weeks, 20 weeks, 24 weeks, 26 weeks, 28 weeks, 30 weeks, and then weekly from 32 weeks until delivery at 39-41 weeks. Then there were various lab and ultrasound appointments. With 2 of my babies I failed the 1 hour glucose testing and had to do the 3 hour one.

With my 3rd pregnancy, I had to go for twice-weekly "non-stress tests" where I had to be hooked up to an ultrasound machine and fetal monitor for a hour at a time. At least with that pregnancy I was already a SAHM so I didn't have to worry about missing work.

With my 2nd, I went into premature labor at 27 weeks but they were able to give me a shot to stop the contractions. I was worried that they might put me on bedrest for the rest of my pregnancy and I might have to use my paid leave even before my baby came, but fortunately after an afternoon in L&D they decided I was fine to resume normal activity. I do, however, know several women who DID end up on bedrest for a good chunk of their pregnancies. If you're going to be using IVF, that raises the risk of pregnancy complications and the likelihood of needing bed rest.

It will take at LEAST 6 weeks to physically recover from a standard delivery and longer for a C-section (all of mine were standard).

Honestly, if you are seriously wanting to go through pregnancy during grad school rather than waiting, I would find out if there is a PT track. If you can spread out classes and the practica over 3 years rather than 2, that would make things a LOT easier on you.

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I know plenty of people who get pregnant in grad school. In fact, I've known several who entered grad school single and graduated married with two kids. It's doable. Honestly, I don't see much reason to hold off until after you graduate if it's only because kids can take up a lot of time. I mean, after all, are they going to take up less of your time if you have kids later? Are you going to be less busy working than you are in school? Chances are no. Sure, you're busy as a grad student. Academics and professionals are all busy too. How much time are you going to have when you get your first tenure-track position and suddenly find yourself teaching three classes on your own, sitting on ten different committees, applying for several grants, and still trying to pump out publications like nobody's business? Point being, you won't have any more time in your schedule after you graduate. It's all a matter of priorities, whether you're a student, professor, or some sort of professional in the industry. If you want kids in grad school, the first thing you need to do is be able to treat school like a 9-5 job that you leave when you leave, and not like the entire focus of your life. Other than that, it's an adjustment, like it will always be.

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57 minutes ago, ThousandsHardships said:

I  Sure, you're busy as a grad student. Academics and professionals are all busy too. How much time are you going to have when you get your first tenure-track position and suddenly find yourself teaching three classes on your own, sitting on ten different committees, applying for several grants, and still trying to pump out publications like nobody's business? Point being, you won't have any more time in your schedule after you graduate. 

This is the Speech & Language Pathology board. Hardly any of us are going to be winding up pursuing a tenure-track position in academia with "publish or perish" pressure and a LOT of SLP positions are part-time. Even "full-time" SLP positions may only be 30 hours/week for 36 weeks/year. So yes, it is INFINITELY easier to find a position with a family-friendly schedule after grad school is over in SLP.

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You haven't yet mentioned what kind of support you will or won't have in place - that's huge IMO. I wouldn't have planned my family the way I did had my mother and father in-law not been in town, and retired, lol. They were a HUGE help. My parents had three kids and were pregnant with their fourth by the time my dad finished his PhD in Physics. That said, he obviously didn't carry the babies. :) 

I already had my three-year-old son, and then gave birth to my second son during winter break of my second-to-last year of school for my first degree. It. Was. Not. Easy. I had "evening sickness" rather than morning which conveniently coincided with several evening classes. There was only one other pregnant student in my program and she dropped out. I had some complications with my delivery that left me incredibly weak, and some subsequent visits to the ER took place. I was back in classes seven weeks after his delivery (the little bugger was a week late)! 

I don't want to scare you away from it, but I would plan for a delivery during a summer or long winter break, if you feel it's now or never. During my 12 1/2 hour clinical shifts at the hospital, I had to (literally) run out to my car, put up all the window shades, and pump breast milk 2-3 times per shift. Same during full days of classes. Sleep deprivation happened. We did co-sleep, so that made things easier.  I agree with finding a program that has a part-time option if you can. My current grad program is year-round (8 quarters straight) and I would NEVER consider planning a pregnancy during this particular program. Anyway, best of luck whatever you decide!

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11 hours ago, Crimson Wife said:

During my 3 pregnancies I saw the OB/midwife for routine pre-natal checks at 8-9 weeks, 12 weeks, 16 weeks, 20 weeks, 24 weeks, 26 weeks, 28 weeks, 30 weeks, and then weekly from 32 weeks until delivery at 39-41 weeks. Then there were various lab and ultrasound appointments. With 2 of my babies I failed the 1 hour glucose testing and had to do the 3 hour one.

With my 3rd pregnancy, I had to go for twice-weekly "non-stress tests" where I had to be hooked up to an ultrasound machine and fetal monitor for a hour at a time. At least with that pregnancy I was already a SAHM so I didn't have to worry about missing work.

With my 2nd, I went into premature labor at 27 weeks but they were able to give me a shot to stop the contractions. I was worried that they might put me on bedrest for the rest of my pregnancy and I might have to use my paid leave even before my baby came, but fortunately after an afternoon in L&D they decided I was fine to resume normal activity. I do, however, know several women who DID end up on bedrest for a good chunk of their pregnancies. If you're going to be using IVF, that raises the risk of pregnancy complications and the likelihood of needing bed rest.

It will take at LEAST 6 weeks to physically recover from a standard delivery and longer for a C-section (all of mine were standard).

Honestly, if you are seriously wanting to go through pregnancy during grad school rather than waiting, I would find out if there is a PT track. If you can spread out classes and the practica over 3 years rather than 2, that would make things a LOT easier on you.

Wow, thank you! My program does offer a part time track! Even if I start full time, I can drop to part time whenever I need to. 

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Having just finished school I can say the biggest thing (besides health, etc already mentioned) would be can you pause school when baby is born. If it's in the middle of a semester you may have to cancel sessions with clients. I don't know if you'd be able to return quickly (obviously depends on health) but worth looking into if you can take a semester off if necessary. Much of my cohort were parents of 18 mo twins all the way to college age kids but no one was pregnant. Our program was intense and having to miss sessions means you lose hours and your client doesn't get consistent therapy. Just be realistic that it may be an added challenge so plan ahead especially if your program even has a few weeks or month between semesters (no guarantee if baby came early of course). I know a ton of undergraduates who had babies midsemester but grad school is a different beast. (I hope I don't sound too discouraging; you know you and your program. I just know how hard it is without kids and if you are prepared and realistic hopefully it'll go well!)

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You absolutely can do it!! I am speaking from personal experience. I had both of my children while in grad school, back to back years. Yep only 13 months separates them. It was BUSY and crazy at times, but I was able to do it. My professors were extremely supportive, positive, and understanding. I had one professor actually request a small table for me when I could no longer fit in a desk. :lol: The key for me was to have a great support system (my hubby was AMAZING) and to be extremely organized. I didn't have any time to waste, so I kept a pretty good study schedule and home schedule. I was able to finish my SLP program in 2 years (including summers). Good luck to you!!

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I have an almost 3 year old and I am 5 months pregnant in grad school. And I work full time! It is totally possible! Just stay organized, prioritize and support one another. I will say, with my 1st I was ALWAYS sleepy. This baby, not so much. So I have a lot more motivation to do my school work as soon as it's assigned.

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6 hours ago, sincerelycree said:

I have an almost 3 year old and I am 5 months pregnant in grad school. And I work full time! It is totally possible! Just stay organized, prioritize and support one another. I will say, with my 1st I was ALWAYS sleepy. This baby, not so much. So I have a lot more motivation to do my school work as soon as it's assigned.

Kudos to you, mama!  School and pregnancy did not work for me.  What job are you able to do full-time while in grad school with a 2 year old and pregnant?  Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy and grad school!

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Posted (edited)

I'm in grad school, and if I had to take care of a kid right now, I would die.  

I know someone who raised a baby during SLP grad school, but ended up never entering the work force afterward.  But I'm sure it's possible.  

Edited by eggfish

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On 6/1/2017 at 7:52 PM, SLPsingballs said:

Kudos to you, mama!  School and pregnancy did not work for me.  What job are you able to do full-time while in grad school with a 2 year old and pregnant?  Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy and grad school!

I work as an SLPA in a school. I do most of my studying in the evening when my daughter is playing or sleeping during the week and then on weekends I pretty much have no life lol. Honestly, it has been a breeze thus far... but it also took me a while to get here so I refuse to give up! Thanks!

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