Every time you have sex without using a method of contraception, you are in danger of becoming pregnant. Early symptoms of pregnancy include a missed period, nausea or ‘morning sickness’, heaviness or pain in the breasts, excessive tiredness, period type pains without bleeding or with a very slight bleed only or a slight change in the colour of your nipples. If you have any of these symptoms or have a reason to believe you might be pregnant you should have a pregnancy test immediately.
Some home pregnancy tests can be used on the day of your expected period. While these tests claim to be fool proof you will need to have your pregnancy confirmed by a doctor. If you are pregnant there are three main options open to you and you can contact the Students’ Union, Student Health Unit or the Irish Family Planning Association to discuss which would be the best for you. Crisis pregnancy counselling services are now available free of charge to students and medical card holders at IFPA clinics around the country. Counselling services are currently available in Galway. To make an appointment, telephone the IFPA at 1850 49 50 51 (price of a local call from anywhere in the country).
Nurture is a project aimed at supporting parenting and expecting students at NUI Galway. Parenting and expecting students are invited to drop in to the Wellness Centre at the back of The Hub in Áras na Mac Léinn anytime between 12pm and 2pm every Tuesday. This is an informal gathering with tea/coffee and snacks. It will give you a chance to meet other parenting and expecting students, share your experiences and concerns, and support one another. Nurture is a project of the NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards in collaboration with the Health Promotion Unit.
Please contact Evelyn or Cindy for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Every time that you have heterosexual sex you could become pregnant (or in the case of a man, you may impregnate someone). Should this happen, support is available for both men and women. If the due date for your period has passed, it is only then that you should do a test. The reason for this is if you do the test before your due date there’s a chance that you may get a positive result even if you are not pregnant as the hormone which is tested will be quite high before your period. You can have a test done in the Student Health Unit. Should you miss labs etc. due to morning sickness you can get a letter from the Health Unit and give it to the secretary of the Department.
The Positive Options campaign is run by the Crisis Pregnancy Agency which aims to make more women of all ages aware of the help that is available to them should they have an unplanned pregnancy. The campaign does not pass judgment or push values onto people. It is concerned with the provision of accurate and non-directive information about the options available. Many agencies also provide support for men involved in an unplanned pregnancy. Free Text “List” to 50444 or visit www.positiveoptions.ie for more information.
Maintaining the Pregnancy
It is important to seek support from others during your pregnancy. It may seem difficult at first, but you will be surprised by their reaction, which is often more supportive than you think.
Finance – What you are entitled to?
One Parent Family Payment and Child Benefit are applied for after the birth at your local Social Welfare office. It is important to note that you may be able to earn a certain amount of money per week before your payments are deducted. For more information contact your local Students’ Union.
Education – Which decision is right for me?
It is important to talk to someone in your department. They will be very understanding and can help with deadlines for essays and project work. You may need to defer your exams until the following year. Your tutor however, will be best placed to advise. Try and book into the local créche as soon as possible. Contact your Welfare Officer for more details.
This is an option you may take if you are unsure about the option of adoption, but are unable to look after your child. It involves the placement of your child with a family or individual but you retain parental rights. It can be arranged through the Health Boards or privately, although the local health board must be notified. You might find this helpful during the first few months allowing yourself time to decide about keeping the baby or to sort out problems like accommodation.
The decision to go ahead with your pregnancy is a big one. If you are considering adoption there are many people who can help you. These can be contacted via the Students’ Union. No matter what you decide however it is important to talk to someone about your emotions, to help you decide what the best thing is for you. The worst thing to do is make a hasty decision on your own, so please talk to someone who can help.
Termination of Pregnancy
The decision to terminate a pregnancy is not one which any woman takes lightly. You will need professional counselling and friendly support. Abortion is somewhat a taboo subject in Ireland, despite the fact that 100 Irish women travel to England for abortions each and every week. This means that between January 1981 and December 1998, 76,025 Irish women had abortions abroad. There are plenty of people around who will give you non-directional and impartial advice. They will not force you to make a decision, they will help you come to your own. If you just want information, nobody will force you to say anything or make any decision. Pre and post abortion counselling are available free of charge from the Irish Family Planning Association. For more information contact the Students’ Union, the Student Health Unit or the Irish Family Planning Association. The Irish Family Planning Association gives non-directional advice on every option open to a woman during pregnancy.