Falling pregnant while you’re still in school can make you feel scared and out of your depth, but don’t worry- there are ways you can not only cope with the challenges, but also thrive and build the best future for yourself in the process. Here are a few tips.

Know your rights

If you’re pregnant in school, it’s vital to learn about your rights as a teen mom. Remember that just because you’re expecting a baby doesn’t mean you’ve lost your right to education- you have the right to continue attending school and learn without being discriminated against.

For more information on your rights, read this article.

Communicate what you need

Being pregnant will eventually lead to changes in your body, especially in the later stages of your pregnancy. You may need to sit at a larger desk for example, or require assistance when walking up stairs. You also may not be able to carry a heavy bag for long periods of time, or participate in Physical Education (PE) class. Don’t be scared to be honest and speak up about what you need. Your physical comfort and health are important, for you as well as your unborn baby.

Take time for your health

Pregnancy will require regular check-ups at the gynaecologist, as well as potentially taking some days off of school when you need to stay home. Keep close communication with your school and make your needs clear. Make sure that you’ve made a plan about staying on top of your studies by getting a friend to take notes for you, or even record the classes you won’t be able to attend.

Don’t forget that your mental health is also really important to take care of. Dealing with the increased stress of being pregnant in school in a healthy way will help everything run more smoothly. Look into calming techniques such as breathing, meditation or pre-natal yoga. If you’re struggling with bullying or other issues such as time management as a result of your pregnancy, consult your school counsellor or consider seeing a psychologist.

Keep your diet healthy

When you’re pregnant, it’s especially important to avoid unhealthy foods from the tuck shop, even if you’re craving them. Rather, prepare your lunches at home and plan them out for the week.

Be sure to keep your stomach light but satisfied, as an empty stomach can lead to morning sickness and light-headedness. Carrying a light snack such as nuts or crackers will keep you going throughout the day. Also, remember to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.

Ask for support

Being pregnant in school is a challenge, so you need to learn to ask for support when you need it. Whether it’s from a teacher or the staff in school, your school counsellor, your friends and classmates as well as your family members, recruit as many people as you need. You don’t have to go on this journey alone, so don’t be ashamed to be open and communicate your needs. If you need free, confidential advice, why not chat to us on Ask CellCgirl? We’re here to answer any questions you may have about coping with pregnancy in school.

If you need advice, why not join #MomConnect? It’s a network that sends you weekly SMS messages to inform you of your pregnancy and baby health (up to when your child is one year old).  You can register in the following way:  Step 1: Ask a nurse to confirm that you are pregnant.  Step 2: Dial 134550# from your cellphone to register.  Step 3: Answer a few simple questions about your pregnancy. You will then be registered. 

Being pregnant in school doesn’t have to mean the end of your education or opportunities. Yes, it will be difficult but remember that you have the strength to make the best out of your situation. Stay strong and hold your head high- your pregnancy is not a limitation and it doesn’t have to be a burden. Good luck!

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