Pregnant, fatigue, nauseous - while preparing for viva in two weeks.


I have been advised that my viva will take place in two weeks from now. Several weeks after I submitted my thesis I found out about my long awaited pregnancy, and I thought why not, now that I have submitted my thesis and I can finally start a family. But I never anticipated experiencing such an extreme fatigue and terrible nausea that last all day, now approaching four weeks of sleeping in the bed not able to consume anything. I have done everything I could to fight this first-trimester symptom but at the same time, I still find myself not able to get things done. I am so worried about the viva preparation. I have read forums, followed their advice, and focus on the 5 key questions but I am still left becoming more anxious because I just sleep all day and I am afraid I am not totally ready for the interview. I am afraid with this energy level I have, that I am not able to defend my thesis intelligently as I should. I am afraid I am not being able to answer some questions I have not prepared for.

5 key questions:

Avatar for DrCorinne

Dear appleby, first of all congratulations! Secondly, what you are experiencing is pretty normal. Don't fight against it. I had a baby in the middle of my PhD and although I didn't have nausea I definitely had the dormouse syndrome!

If you feel that you cannot be in control and sustain a viva, you should speak to your supervisor immediately and ask whether is possible to postpone the viva for a few weeks. It shouldn't be a problem.

However, the symptoms you are experiencing may be over in a matter of days, so if you think that you can go ahead as planned do not dwell too much on small details.

I don't know which field you are in, but you surely know your thesis better than anyone else. I can tell you that I got none of the questions I had thought prior to my viva - and I passed anyway. So, take stock of the work you have done and be confident.

Good luck on all fronts!


Congratulations! Actually it sounds as if you are pretty much prepared. As long as you are doing a little bit of reading to remind yourself of your topic every day then I think you will be fine. (My memory went to pieces when I was pregnant and I never really got it back!)


Dear DrCorinne, thank you for your supportive advice and I really hope the symptoms will be over in a few days so I may have time to really prepare mentally and emotionally. Also congratulations for passing your viva! At the moment I just use whatever energy I have to re-read the thesis and make a mind map of the important bits. For some very difficult reference papers, I record my voice reading it and listening to it for at least some of it can eventually enter my brain :)

Dear timefortea, thank you. "My memory went to pieces..." ---> THIS, exactly what happen to me that make me freak out in case during the viva I can't remember most things. So right now I have to jot down the key things, make a mind map, and hopefully during the viva I have enough energy level to be confident with my work.