Cancelling conference attendance


Sorry - all my posts seem to be rather personal at the moment but please bear with me! I am meant to be attending 2 conferences with a poster presentation but I am thinking about pulling out. As the gov swine flu guidelines now say that pregnant women should avoid crowds and public transport if possible and I am pregnant with twins I feel that I should put my (our) health first. Do you think this is fair enough or do you think I will get a black mark next to my name?!


I think it's fair enough. I'm immunosuppressed so high risk for complications and am avoiding risk situations, just to be on the safe side. But in your circumstances I would do the same.


I'd also put my health first if I was you, and pull out if you're worried. There will be other conferences during your PhD, and people do withdraw from events for a variety of unforseen health and personal reasons, that's life. If you feel guilty (which you shouldn't!) you can always say you made the decision after takling medical advice about your pregancy.


Whose exactly going to put a black mark by your name for not attending? Do you really think the organisers are going to tell everyone you didn't turn up and how awful it is? I don't mean to sound patronising but you seem overly sensitive that pulling out of conferences will result in some terrible negative impact on your career. People pull out of conferences all the time, and as long as it's not a last minute thing or you're the leading speaker - it will most likely go unnoticed anyway. You'd just be silly not to put your health first.


Misspacey the "black mark" was said tongue-in-cheek! However, I did wonder if I were to apply for the same conferences next year (they are annual) whether it might count against me.


Timefortea, I had to pull out of two conferences a few years ago, both were central to my research area. I did worry a bit about pulling out as I don't like messing people around, especially senior academics in my field. It doesn't seem to have made any difference in the long run though, as people involved in the conferences have continued to either be interested in my work or have offered help and advice since then.

If you're pregnant with twins, the organisers have absolutely no idea what stage your pregnancy is at, or whether you've had complications. They'd be pretty weird people to hold it against you for withdrawing from their event in those circumstances, even without the swine flu factor!


Just to reassure you, I pulled out of a conference a year ago - for a much more rubbish reason than yours as well - and a paper got accepted the following year for the same conference (ie its an annual conference), so dont worry.