Being a physician assistant is a great career with many opportunities for advancement, and many people are drawn to it.
But if you also happen to get pregnant during your time at PA school, it can pose some interesting challenges.
The good news is that getting through your pregnancy during PA school can be done, if you follow some good advice.
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Surviving Pregnancy During PA School
Expect the Unexpected
Whether your pregnancy was planned or not, life happens and we have to deal with what’s in front of us.
It’s important not to panic and stress out too much at a time like this.
Balancing studies and pregnancy may be challenging, and it may include some unexpected things, but it can definitely be done.
Here are some tips on making it through:
1. Good Planning Is Important
Some women have fairly easy pregnancies, while others face more challenges.
The truth is that things can change at any time when you’re pregnant, so if you also happen to be balancing your physician assistant studies, you need to prioritize and be organized.
There are going to be plenty of assignments and exams in your PA studies, so it’s important to plan everything out in advance.
Write down everything you need to do in your studies at least one month in advance, and then add in any of your medical appointments related to your pregnancy.
If you’re the kind of person who already plans and prioritizes, this part is going to be second nature.
If you’re not used to this level of planning, it’s time to start.
Part of balancing pregnancy and study is being highly organized.
2. Develop a Healthy Perspective
Studying is important, but your health is more important.
As much as you want to balance your PA studies and your pregnancy, you also have to realize that you need to look after your health first and foremost.
Studying can become all-consuming if you’re not careful, and this can lead to health complications if you’re not taking care of yourself.
If you’re not looking after yourself, your studies and your health will suffer.
Just remember that as important as your PA studies are, your health at this time is more important.
You have a growing human inside you, so make sure to develop a good perspective on what’s important.
One way to develop a healthy perspective is to make sure you do some other activities, such as exercise or have a social life.
This can help to mitigate any stress you might feel.
There are plenty of scientific studies that link exercise to lower levels of stress.
3. Be Positive
This is a tough one because it is not always easy to remain positive, especially if you’re suffering from morning sickness or other health complications.
The fact is balancing studies and pregnancy during PA school is going to be tough and challenging.
The one thing you must do at this time in your life is to keep on telling yourself it is possible to get through your PA program.
You won’t be pregnant forever, and even though there are challenges, you need to be flexible enough to work through them.
Staying positive is not always easy, but there are things you can do to help maintain a good mindset.
Writing in a journal each day can help you develop a good perspective and clarify some thoughts.
Likewise, challenging any negative thoughts is a good way to identify when and why you might not be feeling great.
This can help to reframe your thoughts and feelings.
Try practicing meditation or yoga as a way to keep your mind positive.
4. Talk to Your Teachers and the Faculty Regularly
One thing you absolutely must do is communicate openly and frequently with your PA instructors.
They need to know about your health and where your head is at.
There may be times when you’re finding it difficult to meet a deadline, for example.
At these times, you must work with your instructors to see if they have any flexibility.
Having said that, you must not use your pregnancy as an excuse to fail an exam.
After all, your PA program must be fair to everyone.
At this challenging time, it’s worth sitting down and having a lengthy conversation with your instructors.
Some programs may be more flexible than others when it comes to accomodating pregnant PA students.
You need to know what options are available and what attitude you’ll be dealing with at the school.
There might even be times when your patient population needs to be limited.
For example, if you’re going to be exposed to infections in an ICU setting, you must think about your health and your baby.
The last thing you want is to pick up an unwanted illness that puts you or your baby at risk.
In the above circumstances, it’s best to talk to your PA instructor about the risks and why you think your exposure should be limited.
5. Falling Behind Is Not the End of the World
The truth is that lots of PA students get pregnant every year.
You’re not the only one who has had to face these challenges.
While this is a healthy perspective to develop, you should also expect you might fall behind in your studies.
You might even need to repeat a semester (depending on the program).
This can certainly be upsetting for some people, but it’s important to understand that it’s not the end of the world.
Even if you have to fall back a semester, you can make it up and get through your studies.
Just remember: you will not be pregnant forever, and you will adjust to your new life as a parent.
It might take some time, and you might even have to fall back in your studies, but remaining positive and keeping one eye on your goal of becoming a PA will get you through it.
The truth is that lots of students get stressed and fall behind.
You might be pregnant, but your life as a student is not so different from the life of others.
In fact, there may be others who have to face more challenges than you do.
Even if you’re falling behind in your studies, you can get through it.
Just remember to take care of your health, keep the lines of communication with instructors open, and accept that in the short run stress is normal.
Some Thoughts on Timing
One of the challenges faced when being pregnant during studies is the timing.
If your baby is born at the end of a semester, for example, you’ll have some time off to adjust to your new life and it may interfere less with your studies.
If your baby is born right in the middle of a semester, you are going to need to take some time off.
There are many variables at play under these circumstances, so you need to be open to any challenges.
Being pregnant during PA school may present some interesting challenges, but they’re not insurmountable.
It’s important to remain positive, communicate openly, expect the unexpected, and develop a healthy perspective.
Doing all of these things will help you manage your studies, maintain good balance, and work toward your goal of becoming a physician assistant.