Babies and Research - do they mix?


I am planning to get pregnant (hopefully!) part way into my final year. I am building in a 5 month 'safety net' as things always take me longer to write than I think.
I would have the best part of a year with baby (my partner luckily earns enough to support the two of us), and then start work the following year?
I mean, most women work through their pregnancy (complications notwithstanding) so surely it can't be that different finishing up a Phd, even if it is intense at the end?
Just wondering if anyone else did/is planning to do the same thing?

Avatar for sneaks

I know 2 people who have taken maternity leave during their PhD - one in her write up. Afraid to say that they are now in the their 7th and 8th year of PhD (and they weren't part time). However, if you are just about there with write up, I can't see a problem. Although one of these girls had an awful pregnancy and was sick ALL the time, dizzy etc etc right the way through the pregnancy, so you would have to bear that in mind - that you may have an uncomfortable time whilst writing up and this may affect your concentration etc. I've also heard that you go really thick and can't think properly whilst you're pregnant - not sure if that's true!?

Having said that, I don't think the PhD should get in the way of your life so I say go for it! Sounds ideal if you can afford to live off 1 wage - wish I could, then I would be trying now I think (or saving up for a 6 month trip to Africa or something!)


Hello Cupcake,

I am 8 months pregnant and waiting for my viva next week.
Babies and PhD.....mhhhmmmmm one answer: Possible but far from being easy especially during the last months of the Phd writting.
But then every woman, every pregnancy is different and every PhD experience is there is no direct answer to your question.
It also depends on wether you are well organised or not.

I had my first baby when I was a year into my PhD (it was not really planned), the pregnancy was a difficult one and they made me stop everything for the all period. I had to stay at home and do nothing for 8 baby was born ok and is very healthy now...but it was a very scary experience and it made me forget my PhD subject.

This pregnanc is planned and for now everything is ok...but having to deal with the stress of the writting up and then now with the viva preparation...I start to feel very tired and stressed so I hope this baby will not pop out too early.

So again it has to be your decision and plan, but this kind of plan always hid good or bad surprises.

On the other side, I cannot imagine my life without my daughter and I am so excited to be expected a second one.


Thanks, guys.

(Of course, there should not be a '?' after "following year"... doh!)

From what I've heard before (and from what you say) I think you do have to be really careful about making sure it is finished in good time before the birth. 8 years makes me shudder!

hmmmm... It is a tricky one. No one in my family that is biologically connected had even the slightest touch of morning sickness, sailed through all their pregnancies just fine, but I don't know how much these things are inherited traits or not.

Thanks for the thoughts!


I took me five years to do my Phd, and as i said it is not finished as I am waiting for the viva. I have friends who didn't have babies and they phd lasted 7 years. I have a friend who did have a baby no problem and finished in 3 1/2 it varies...

In term of what kindof pregnancy you could have, reallly believe me you cannot plan it at all, family history included :-(

Avatar for sneaks

mumphdstudent - is it true you get thick and brain fog when pregnant?


======= Date Modified 27 May 2010 21:20:20 =======
well, the upstairs neighbor's baby and my research certainly don't mix well :-)


sneaks No I don't think it is true! But you are often tired until the day you become supermummy, and you managed to keep everyone happy yourself included. I learn to be more efficient as you have to manage you time really well.

During the pregnancy, the three first months you tend to be normally tired, but as for me I was so busy writing my thesis that I forgot I was pregnant, was sick only once and it was because of a spicy curry.

The second trimester, you feel so good; I travelled and went out a lot. I was feeling really well and full of energy.
And then I lost three members of my family in a raw including one of my parents, so that was not easy and it still isn’t.
I am at my third trimester and I feel heavy and tired, but again I have to focus on my viva so it keeps my mind off the pregnancy. The little one just keep kicking me to remind me of it LOL :-):-):-)


Ooh timely post!

I'm 27 weeks pregnant and just did my Upgrade yesterday (and passed, yay!)..... six weeks until maternity leave.

My experience: from six weeks - four months of pregnancy were awful. I had Hyperemesis gravidarum, which is basically a mega-severe form of morning sickness... I could barely get out of bed, struggled to keep down even fluids, felt miserable, and slept from about 5pm every afternoon. Also had a threatened miscarriage. All very unpleasant... I took three weeks off over the worse bit, took anti-sickness medication and managed to work from bed for 5ish hours a day.

From 16 weeks ish I've felt amazing, full of energy and very happy! Bloody good job because I've been working like a slave 12 + hours a day seven days a week to get my c.25,000 words of Upgrade document in and presentation done. All in all my pregnancy has been pretty productive (maybe even more productive than the previous six months!) and had a very positive Upgrade.

From six weeks before the baby is born I plan to take a years maternity leave. Although this'll probably be a crazy time I'm hoping to get a little bit ahead of myself, at least after the first few chaotic months of motherhood -- but it helps that I have a very good support network. I'll have c. 14 months to do when I get back, which I'm sure will be difficult but by no means insurmountable.

Like you I'm in the very fortunate position that finances aren't really an issue. We own our own home outright, my OH earns decent enough money and I get 9 months of my maternity leave fully paid on my stipend.

I don't think horror stories about people taking 8 years are particularly helpful. It all depends on individual circumstances.....