Expecting students prepare for the unexpected

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Tyler Bellows juggled expecting a child with finishing school in 2015. He now enjoys coming home and seeing how excited his daughter is to see him.(Sam Zielinski)
Tyler Bellows juggled expecting a child with finishing school in 2015. He now enjoys coming home and seeing how excited his daughter is to see him. (Sam Zielinski)

Tyler Bellows started his last term at BYU while Kelsey, his wife, was in her last term of pregnancy. Because he didn’t know exactly when his daughter would be born, he felt concerned about coordinating assignments and exams with professors. At times, he left campus in the middle of projects to help Kelsey deal with pregnancy complications.

His school term ended prior to his daughter’s birth on June 20, 2015.

“I think I was way more anxious than I needed to be, especially because it was our first baby, but, it really is an exciting time,” Bellows said. “If I hadn’t been so anxious about it, I would have enjoyed it a lot more.”

Like Bellows, many BYU students express concerns about preparing for children while attending school. While Bellows recommends meeting with professors, BYU also offers various programs to aid expecting students.

Kat Leakehe, a junior studying communications, agreed that talking to a teacher was helpful when she first became pregnant.

“I was really nervous and scared because the semester I was in was so grueling,” she said.

Leakehe did get sick, but she was able to meet her academic deadlines that semester and her badminton teacher allowed her to do easier activities in class.

“Being at BYU always helps because it is a family-oriented school. People are willing to help if I need it,” Leakehe said.

BYU’s Women’s Services and Resources is one option available to expecting students. Office Manager Amy Beck said expecting parents come into their office not knowing where to go or what to do. One purpose of Women’s Services and Resources is to link expecting parents to available resources.

Women's Resources and Services are currently enhancing information sheets available to pregnant women. The project will go through spring and summer. (Amy Staker)
Women’s Resources and Services are currently enhancing information sheets available to pregnant women. The project will go through spring and summer. (Amy Staker)

Programs available to expecting parents:

– Informational booklets and fact sheets are available at Women’s Services and Resources about pregnancy, prenatal care and other similar topics.

-Students can set up appointments with a nutrition specialist through the BYU Wellness Program or Women’s Services and Resources to create a healthy pregnancy plan.

-BYU’s healthcare plan covers 80% of maternity and childbirth costs after co-payment. The child can be added to the plan after birth.

-Active pregnant students can create exercise plans curtailed to pregnancy needs with free trainers at the new Student Fitness Center.

Programs not offered by BYU:

-Many colleges in Utah provide daycare programs to students. BYU doesn’t, so expecting students will need to look elsewhere for childcare. Women’s Services and Resources provides information regarding local daycares.

-Parenting clubs allow students to gain information about child rearing. BYU doesn’t offer any student-run clubs for parents or expecting parents. A Supporting Student Parents Club existed in 2013, but is no longer active.

For students preparing to have a child, Bellows gives advice: “Don’t stress about it, because it really is a wonderful experience.”

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