Of course, a pregnancy is a happy event but at the same time, it will impact your study or research plans.
Due to health and safety risks in certain fields of study, it is possible that 'normal activities' such as practical assignments (work placement and field work, lab work and use of chemicals and radiation, significant physical activity and overseas trips) might not even be allowed when you are pregnant. Even if you can continue your study/research, you will need to absent for a relatively long period of time of your stay. So in all honesty, postponing your trip to Belgium may be the wiser option.
It is important to obtain sound advice as soon as you know you are pregnant. Make sure you visit a doctor: he/she will be able to advise if there are any risks that will need to be managed during the course of your pregnancy.
Check the details of your insurance policy: do you have ample coverage for pre- and antenatal care and for the delivery at a hospital? What costs are not included?
Find out from your funding body what the situation is. Can your scholarship be suspended? Will your funding be extended by the same amount as your maternity leave?
Most student and guest accommodation is for single occupancy only and therefore not suitable for a family.
If you are going to need childcare in order to return to your studies/research, this will need planning in advance. It is advisable to begin to make any necessary arrangements at the beginning of your pregnancy and not to leave it too late.
If you are considering returning home for the birth, remember that most airlines will not carry pregnant passengers beyond the 7th month of pregnancy.
Pregnancy and your studies
If you become pregnant whilst enrolled for a programme at Ghent University, you may want advice on the management of your studies during the course of your pregnancy and after your baby is born. You will need to plan according to your individual circumstances and the timing of the academic year.
It is important that you let your professors/supervisor(s) know. The reasons for doing this are to make the best plans for your course of study and examinations and also to ensure any special measures needed for your safety and the safety of your child. In some cases, it might help to apply for a 'special status' which allows several facilities such as rescheduling of exams, substitutionary tasks etc.
Pregnancy and your research
Academic and scientific staff members are expected to notify the Personnel Department of their pregnancy and the estimated dues date as soon as possible by e-mailing to zwanger@UGent.be. Also announce the happy news to your colleagues and supervisor(s). In order to prepare, consider any possible concerns they may have and have possible solutions ready.
After the child is born, you must add him/hem to your personal details on the electronic HR environment Apollo.
Staff members who are 6 months pregnant (or are experiencing a taxing pregnancy) can request parking closeby.
Staff on UGent payroll have 15 weeks of maternity leave, which can start at the 6th week before the due date.
Some funding bodies cover maternity leave and contracts may be extended to continue beyond the maternity leave period to allow you to return to work. Please discuss these issues with your principal investigator and/or funding body.
Staff members who become a father are allowed 10 days of paternity leave, to be taken within a period of 4 months after the birth.
Staff on UGent payroll can request a maternity allowance from the 6th month of pregnancy onwards. The allowance will be paid out at 2 months before the due date at the earliest.
After the child is born, you can request a child allowance. There are, however, certain conditions that have to be met if you want to benefit from this allowance. The International Staff Office can advise UGent staff on this issue.
Staff on UGent payroll planning to breast feed after returning to work, are allowed to take short breaks. This request must be made two months in advance.