Coventry University Featured PhD Programmes
King’s College London Featured PhD Programmes
University of Liverpool Featured PhD Programmes
University of Glasgow Featured PhD Programmes
University of Reading Featured PhD Programmes

PhD Discussion Forum

The following thread is brought to you by our sister Web site If you wish to reply or post your own thread, you will be redirected to this site.

This Category: > PhD Advice / Support


Pregnancy during PhD

User: bootguitar - 26 December 2010 20:52

Does anyone know the legalities of maternity leave during a PhD, or where I could find more information?

Many thanks and a happy new year to all (gift)

User: dunni73 - 27 December 2010 11:33

I cannot answer your query specifically but have you tried speaking to the student services at the uni? Do they have a specific maternity policy for post grad students? Generally I beleive you can have up to 12 months maternity leave whereby your course would be extended for that maternity leave duration. If eligable Maternity Alllowance may be payable via the job centre (SMP for higher paid). Alternatively if you receive a grant there may be a maternity pay policy there.

User: Artista - 27 December 2010 21:52

Oh boy, massive flashback: I took a year out after my first year of a 2yr part-time MA, for the birth of my 3rd child. It was fine, apart from doing exams when 7 months pregnant, and there were absolutely zero concessions made when it came to submitting my thesis. I missed getting a Distinction by <0.4%, ...if those (male) examiners had any idea of the experience I went through....So, find out the terms, and make sure the decision-makers are aware of them. Good luck.

User: Here_And_There - 05 January 2011 14:16

Hello and Happy New Year

I know from very recent experience that you can apply for up to 12 months off on maternity leave (I came back from mine last September). I have also been granted extra maternity pay by my Uni on top of SMP as part of my bursary, which came as a lovely surprise as I wasn't aware of it. All I had to do was submit a maternity certificate (Mat B1 I think) to my post grad office and they did all the rest.

I have personally found both being pregnant during my first year (I had a difficult pregnancy) and coming back to the PhD (full time) after a whole year out with a baby and a 4 year-old to take care of on top of my teaching duties a real 'challenge' to put it mildly. Childcare is a headache at times, sleepless nights are a very unwelcome recurrence and very difficult to recover from when you have so much to do, I have developped organisation skills I (and most members of my family!) didn't know I had and spare time is practically non-existent, although the chief procrastinator that I am still manages to find plenty of time to waste...

Still, this can be done and is, on a good day (there are a few of these too thankfully), the most rewarding experience.

Hope this helps

User: Ariajolie - 05 January 2011 14:37

hi guys

I admire all women especially when they can manage motherhood and PhD and day to day life but just wondering ..isn't it a good idea to become pregnant strictly after yor PhD is over? Can't this be explained to partners? I am asking this question because im in my early 20's and i know i have sometime before i can embrace motherhood but isnt it simply more practical to do concentrate on getting PhD out of the way before you can concentrate on building a family? I get easily nervous about work-life balance :-)

User: dunni73 - 05 January 2011 14:45

In an ideal world women would be able to determine their babydays with full appreciation of their careers/studies. In the real world pregnancies may not be planned or may be planned due to maternal age related concerns or other such reasons. Some women cannot and would not terminate a baby for a PhD yet will aim to acheive both. It is not an easy route and not managable for all women. It is a learning curve in time management and juggling that can enhance a womens CV showing that she is determined and able to manage an intense workload. I admire all women who can deal with this challenging time and respect them for not giving up on something that they obviously long for.

User: button - 05 January 2011 14:47

There is never a 'right' time to have a baby, life will always get in the way. Although I'm completely committed to my PhD, I am firmly focused on ensuring that it will not take over my life.

Maybe it's because you're early 20's, and you've got your whole life ahead of you to have children etc.

I'm 22 and have no children, but I am getting married in 4 months. I've had a few people telling me that I should wait until after my PhD, but why should I? I want to get married to my lovely fiance as soon as possible, and doing a PhD will not get in the way of that.

If it is what people want, doing a PhD should not deter them from having a baby. It is simply another thing to consider, just like doing a PhD and planning a wedding/having an illness/working part-time etc.

User: Ariajolie - 05 January 2011 14:56

wow you women here are really wonderful!!!! In a few weeks i turn 24 actually so yea i mean i guess i could wait for 2 or 3 more years to take decisions like having babies and so on....right now i havent even met the love of my life..cos in my Masters I still had my crushes and in and outs of temporary now i have 2 things on my agenda as top priorities for this year- 1. to get a Phd studentship 2. to find love and who knows churchbells and diapers will follow in a few years ;)

User: Here_And_There - 05 January 2011 14:57

Hi Ariajolie

There is no 'practical' time to start a family in my experience - whenever is right for you is the right time. Besides, you can't always plan these things, and even when you do make a conscious decision to start a family you don't know when it's actually going to happen - best laid plans and all this ...

User: GibsonGirl - 05 January 2011 19:11

Hi Ariajolie, I just started my Phd in October, and my partner and I have decided that it is more practical for us to try to have our first baby DURING the PhD rather than wait until I have finished. There are several reasons for this: firstly I am 35, and would hate to wait three years only to find out that I couldn't conceive (although I know that plenty of women do in their late 30s). I am full time and have funding, which has a provision for maternity leave (if I was studying part time and working full time to self-fund I probably wouldn't consider it). I have seen how difficult it is for friends of mine who work full time to juggle work and childcare - I reckon that doing a PhD gives me more flexibility that having a job with fixed office hours, and that juggling a baby and PhD might actually be easier than juggling a baby and work. Finally, even if I put it off until after the PhD, I will still have to balance having a baby with being an early-career academic, which I think might be even more demanding that a PhD. I know that it's not going to be easy, but from reading threads on this forum, I have seen that plenty of other people have managed it. (Although if I was 24 there would be NO WAY I would consider doing this just yet - at that age I was convinced that I didn't want babies ever! :p

User: Ady - 06 January 2011 07:36

======= Date Modified 06 Jan 2011 07:36:59 =======
Life doesn't always run to a strict schedule and if you plan too rigidly, it can be harder to adapt if things go awry. Us women with babies and PhDs are super multi-taskers so in no particular order (as they say on 'Strictly') no reason why PhD, babies, engagements, marriage, mortgage can't all run concurrently:-)

User: timefortea - 09 January 2011 20:04

Hi - I am just returning to a PhD after 15 months off for maternity leave. (It was only meant to be a year but I had a hard time in pregnancy and took extra time off). It is possible although I would agree that if I were in my early twenties I would have waited until I had finished as it is HARD. I had twins (and already had another child) and I am still trying to work out how to fit it all in! Also check out childcare facilites early on - I am doing a fulltime PhD and can afford part-time childcare - not ideal!

User: Hayley - 22 January 2017 09:54

I can see that this post is a few years old but I thought I would add my perspective as I have just passed my viva with 6 weeks to go until my baby is due!!! My advice if avoid getting in this situation if you can as it's not easy BUT if you do decide to study whilst pregnant it is totally doable (I'm the evidence!) I've written about how I did it in my blog which you can find here-

User: timefortea - 23 January 2017 11:36

Congratulations Hayley! I too have finished since posting on this thread although it took me a lot longer- I think you did very well to finish it before your baby arrives - much more sensible!

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2019
All rights reserved.