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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

More than 20 percent of undergraduates in 2008 had at least one child — but less than 10 percent completed their bachelor’s degrees within six years, according to a Wisconsin Financial Aid study recently in the news.

Some universities don’t provide the proper health services and accommodations to pregnant students, according to the study.

UF doesn’t have programs in place to cater to pregnant students, despite having pregnant women come in for counseling, said Roberta Seldman, a psychologist at UF’s Counseling & Wellness Center.

“There’s certainly no reason that women can’t continue their schooling while pregnant if they have the proper support system,” said Phylis Craig, a nurse practitioner at the Women’s Clinic in the UF Student Healthcare Center.

Most pregnant students come in for early evaluations or the treatment of simple illnesses, such as urinary tract infections, she said.

“We do not see many pregnant students on an ongoing basis,” Craig said. “Maybe five to 10 (women) a month come in for diagnosis and simple acute illnesses, not for an ongoing problem.”

She said although UF has a lot of medical resources available for women, she imagined being pregnant would pose more problems at a smaller school.

The Women’s Clinic offers preconception counseling, which helps prepare women who are anticipating pregnancy — usually mostly graduate students.

“I think it’s important that pregnancy is planned,” Craig said. “And we have many ways that students can prevent unintended pregnancy and have it planned. That’s the ideal way of doing it.”

A version of this story ran on page 8 on 10/7/2013 under the headline "Undergraduate mothers struggle to complete bachelor’s degree"

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