Are you pregnant and in college? An unplanned pregnancy doesn’t have to put an end to the pursuit of a bachelor’s degree, especially if you’ve chosen adoption. But if you still aren’t sure how to stay healthy and keep your educational plans on track, take a look at what you need to know about pregnancy, your health, and your college classes.
Between late-night study sessions, stress from finals, and everything else on your plate, it’s not always easy to stay healthy in college. Now that you’re pregnant, you need to pay special attention to your overall health. To maintain your health as a pregnant college student:
- Create a healthy eating plan and stick with it. Eat regularly throughout the day and choose a variety of options from the food groups. Include plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and lean sources of protein.
- Get plenty of rest. Even though you have a full semester of classes, you still need to find time to sleep. Pregnancy may increase overall fatigue, making it difficult to concentrate on your classes. Combat mid-day sleepiness with a full night’s rest.
- Drink enough water. Hydration is essential for everyone — especially pregnant women. Carry a refillable water bottle with you to sip during the day. This can also help to reduce the rocky feelings of all-day morning sickness.
- Go to the doctor regularly. Regular trips to the OBGYN can help you have a healthier pregnancy. Make prenatal appointments around your school and study schedule. Avoid appointment times that conflict with midterms, finals weeks, or other important academic events.
Additionally, stay physically active. With everything you need to do as a college student, you may push exercise to the back of your to-do list. But hours of sedentary study time spent staring at a computer screen won’t help you to stay healthy. Talk to your doctor about the best physical activity plan for your health needs.
Nearly 53 percent of 18- to 22-year-old, full-time college students report drinking alcohol within the past month, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. If your pre-pregnancy social life included the occasional (or more than occasional) party, now is the time to change.
What you eat and drink passes from your blood and into your unborn baby — including alcohol. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), any amount of alcohol during pregnancy is dangerous. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects, including fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).
If you’re concerned about the impact your pregnancy will have on your social life, you can still have friends without drinking. To avoid potentially risky situations and maintain a healthy college social life:
- Plan activities outside of party times. Instead of late-night party plans, invite your friends to an early dinner or a weekend day activity.
- Explore clubs on campus. If your regular group of friends relies heavily on alcohol for socializing, explore other options. Join a new on-campus club that sparks your interest. This gives you a new way to socialize — minus the temptation to drink alcohol.
- Talk to your friends. Have you told your friends about the pregnancy? Talk to close friends about this major life change. This will help them to understand why you’ve changed your social behaviors.
If you live in an off-campus apartment and have roommates who drink regularly or refuse to stop partying at home, you may need to move temporarily. While a sudden housing switch isn’t ideal, you need to live in the healthiest environment possible. Talk to your school’s housing office about on-campus options or explore the possibility of a new off-campus lease.
Focus on Academics
Your physical health is crucial during this time. But it’s not the only thing you need to think about right now. You don’t want to waste the years you’ve spent studying in high school or the first few years of college. While it’s tempting to take your entire pregnancy off from school, this isn’t the only option. Before you quit (or temporarily quit) school:
- Talk to an academic advisor. Can you take fewer classes this semester? If you have concerns about your current schedule or think your pregnancy will interfere with your academic progress, talk to an educational advisor about making temporary changes.
- Ask for extra help. Between an unplanned pregnancy and everything else you have to do in college, it’s not easy to focus on academics. If your grades have dropped, ask for help from a tutoring center or your professors.
- Plan ahead. Is your due date during next semester’s finals week? Plan your academic schedule around your pregnancy. You may need to talk to professors about extensions for classwork, midterms, or final exams.
If you do need to take a semester off to give birth or for other reasons, talk to your advisor how you can make up those classes and graduate on time. You may need to take summer or winter break courses to stay on track.
Is adoption the right choice for you? Contact Arizona Adoption Help for more information.