What it's really like to be pregnant while in school

First Trimester

The first trimester of pregnancy is rollercoaster. First, it’s probably too early to go around telling everyone that you’re pregnant. You likely feel exhausted, because you’re bodybuilding. Your body is literally building a body! So while your classmates are likely stressing out over the next midterm or keeping up with assigned reading, you’ll also be stressing out about the little embryo that’s growing inside you. Are you eating healthy enough? Will your baby be healthy? How much caffeine can you use to try and trudge through this exhaustion? Can your friends tell that you’re keeping this massive secret? When can you step out of class to go pee for the millionth time this morning? The list of things to worry about seems never-ending!

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Basically, you’ll feel like a nervous hot mess. Morning sickness (which happens at throughout the day, by the way), along with constantly having to pee, may make it difficult to sit in your seat throughout an entire class. Certain smells and tastes can take on a new effect, and even foods that you typically love may leave you feeling nauseous. But this is all temporary! Sleep as much as physically possible. I personally recommend letting your professors know what’s up if your class time is being impacted by your pregnancy.

Second Trimester

Finally, you can tell the world!!!! Assuming that everything is going as planned, you can share the big news with your friends and loved ones. You may even get to feel the little one ‘kick’, although it’s probably too small yet for others to feel it yet.

Excited Golden Girls GIF by TV Land - Find & Share on GIPHY

You may now just be starting to ‘look pregnant’, or it may just be a little bump that goes unnoticed until closer to the third trimester. Your lab coat is now starting to feel a bit snug around the middle, so you may need to borrow a larger one from a friend if possible. If your taking labs, always check with your professors to ensure that any extra precautions are taken to ensure the safety of your fetus! For example, I wore a mask or let my partner take over when working with gasses, even if the risks are minor. It’s best to play it safe!

Third Trimester

By the third trimester, it’s probably really obvious to everyone that you’re pregnant. Your fetus will likely be kicking around while you’re trying to focus, your ribs hurt, and it’s more difficult than usual to keep track of everything (aka ‘baby brain’). On the day of my last exam, I managed to put on a different pair of shoes on each foot without realizing it until I got to school!

But your little one is almost here, and that’s so so exciting! And maybe a bit scary. You may be feeling nervous about the birth process itself, how your body is changing, and how your life will change once you’re holding your baby in your arms. I personally found my son’s constant kicking to feel quite comforting while sitting in class or during an exam.

In summary…

Pregnancy during school may have you feeling;

  • Exhausted
  • Alienated from your peers
  • Hot/sweaty
  • Hungry all the time
  • Like your bladder is about to explode every 10 minutes or so
  • Worried
  • Excited
  • Nervous about how life will change after the baby arrives

… just as you would if you weren’t a student. The only difference is that you may stand out from your non-pregnant peers, and the gap between your college experience and theirs begins to widen. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll miss out on relationships. In fact, you may even bond with new friends through women’s groups on campus, or at campus daycares!

So relax. Breath deeply. You’ve got this, and you don’t have to do it alone!

Have you been pregnant in school? What was your experience life?