Pregnancy is a difficult journey to navigate alone. It comes with a lot of responsibilities, some of which may require a helping hand.
From taking care of yourself to taking care of your baby after delivery (healthline.com advised pregnant women to get a birthing partner}, there’s a lot that comes with being pregnant, and as a student, it can get worse.
When you have to juggle your academics, examinations, and all of your other responsibilities as a student, finding the time to take care of yourself and attend antenatal care may be extremely difficult.
Pregnancy can add an extra layer of stress to your already full plate as a student.
You may not meet your academic requirements. You may miss classes, get sick often (and miss important assignments), experience tiredness, and have a lot of other things to juggle.
Here is what happens when you get pregnant as an international student.
What if an international student gets pregnant?
If you get pregnant as an international student, it’s up to you to decide what to do. You can decide to continue your studies (while carrying the baby to birth), take a break to deliver the child (the number of days you can take a break is limited), quit school and go back to your country, or abort the baby.
Canada has no law forbidding international students from getting pregnant, rather, the country has a law that forbids anyone from discriminating against you because you are pregnant, even as an international student.
This law protects the right of pregnant women (including any international student who gets pregnant) and ensures they are not discriminated against or harassed (in any form) because of their condition.
What happens if an international student gets pregnant in Canada?
If an international student gets pregnant in Canada, she can choose to continue her studies, take a leave of absence, withdraw from her program altogether or abort the baby and continue her studies.
The choice you make is entirely yours, you won’t be forced to choose and you will be protected according to Canadian laws no matter the choice you make.
You also have the right to access medical care and give birth in Canada if you wish to. Here are your options if you get pregnant as an international student in Canada.
Option 1. You can continue with your studies while carrying your baby to birth
If you decide to continue with your studies and carry your baby to birth, the first thing you should do is consult with your school’s health insurance provider.
You’ll need to find out what type of coverage you have and what, if any, costs you’ll be responsible for.
However, you may still be responsible for some costs, such as prescriptions and dental care.
It’s also important for you to consider your living situation and whether you will be able to continue staying in your current accommodation.
If you’re not sure, it’s best to speak with your school’s housing office or an immigration lawyer.
You need to take into account the implications of continuing your studies while pregnant. Canada does not have any special care programs for pregnant international students.
Every pregnant person is treated equally in Canada.
However, most universities and colleges will require you to provide a medical certificate from your doctor confirming that you are fit to study while pregnant.
A doctor’s report will prove that you are fit enough to cope with your stressful academic activities and pregnancy.
Depending on your program (Bachelor’s degree, Master’s, or Ph.D.) and the number of years the program will last.
If you are on a six months program (you may have it easier), you’ll be done with your studies before the arrival of your baby then you can easily leave the country before your baby arrives.
But if your program requires you to stay longer than six months, you have to keep your school informed as you get close to your baby’s delivery time.
This is usually 1 month before your expected delivery date.
A few months before your baby’s delivery, there may be a need for you to withdraw from school activities because they (school activities) will be stressful for you to cope with.
At this point going to school will be almost impossible for you because the baby will soon arrive.
You’ll need to stop attending classes or stop going to any school-related programs that may get you stressed out.
If you can still cope at this point, that’s fine but if you need to withdraw to birth your baby, it has to be done with the approval of your school.
Withdrawing from school without the approval of the school authority will be a violation of your study permit conditions so it has to be done only with the approval of your designated learning institute.
To withdraw from school without violating your study permit conditions, which state that;
“If a student withdraws from their program or takes a leave of absence without the approval of the authorities, such student no longer meets the conditions of their study permit and may have to leave Canada”, speak to your designated learning institute.
They’ll help you make arrangements so you can remain in Canada on your student visa while you take a break to give birth to your child.
They can as well arrange for an alternative learning process such as online classes for you while you stay at home till you give birth to your child.
If you would like to continue your education while you are pregnant, you can ask your professors or teachers for specific accommodations, such as taking online classes.
In a situation where an alternative learning process is not possible, you have to hold on with your studies till after delivery and subsequent recovery.
A child born in Canada while parents are on a study permit
Any child born in Canada will automatically become a Canadian citizen and also a citizen of whatever nation the parent is from.
Canada adheres to both the Jus Sanguinis (‘right of blood’) and Jus Soli (‘right of soil’) principles of nationality law, whereby citizenship is gained or decided by the nationality or ethnicity of either one or both parents.
The baby becoming a Canadian citizen will in no way make the mother a citizen of Canada.
Option 2. You can decide to take a leave of absence
If you get pregnant in Canada as an international student, you can decide to take a leave of absence.
According to the Canadian Immigration authorities, students may take a leave of absence for a good cause as long as the duration is no longer than 150 days.
Pregnancy is an example of a “good cause”.
As a pregnant international student in Canada, you can take a break to birth your baby without losing your student visa status.
However, you need to notify your school of your intention to take a leave of absence.
To do this, you need to contact your school’s international student office and request a leave of absence form.
Fill out your form and submit it for approval. On approval, you can take a break of not more than 150 days to birth your child.
While you are on leave, you won’t be allowed to work on campus.
Although it’s not a must you notify the government, they may do sporadic checks, so be prepared with documentation that will demonstrate your eligibility for medical leave, such as a letter from a qualified healthcare provider.
Additionally, you’ll need to reapply for your student visa once you are ready to return to school.
Challenges of taking a leave of absence to birth your child as an international student in Canada
Taking a leave of absence to birth your child sounds all good but it comes with its challenges.
Here are a few of the biggest challenges you may face when taking a leave of absence to birth your child as an international student in Canada:
- Financing your leave of absence: You’ll need additional funds to sponsor your leave of absence and stay in Canada.
- Finding a good doctor: Depending on your health insurance package, you may need a specialist doctor during this period and this can be hard.
- Navigating the Canadian healthcare system: There are not too many doctors available for you to get a specialist to have you on check all the time. In addition, the general healthcare system can be complicated.
- Dealing with homesickness: If you are alone in Canada, it can pose a huge challenge in dealing with homesickness.
Option 3. You can decide to withdraw from your program and go back to your country.
If you get pregnant as an international student in Canada, you can decide to quit school and return to your home country if that’s the best option for you.
This is usually the easiest decision but this decision should be made after carefully considering all of the factors involved.
Factors such as the cost of living in Canada with your pregnancy, the availability of child and health care (as an international student, you may not be covered by provincial healthcare plans, which could make it difficult to access prenatal care and other services.), and your ability to continue your studies while pregnant.
It is important to weigh all of your options before choosing this path.
You can also consult with an immigration lawyer to ensure that you are aware of all the potential implications of your decision.
If you take this option after due consideration, it means your visa will ultimately be terminated and you won’t be certified as a graduate of any Canadian institution.
Option 4. You can also decide to abort the child and continue with your studies
As a pregnant international student in Canada, you can decide to abort the child if you feel you can’t cope with both the child and your school obligations.
And you don’t want to quit school.
Abortion is legal at all stages of pregnancy in Canada and it’s publicly subsidized as a medical treatment.
While abortion may seem like a difficult decision, it is ultimately your decision to make. You may choose to abort the child for a variety of reasons.
Perhaps you are not ready to be a parent, or you feel that you cannot afford to raise a child.
Whatever your reasons, you have the right to make your decision about whether or not to continue with the pregnancy.
Canada’s laws around abortion are some of the most liberal in the world.
Regardless of the reason, abortion is lawful at all stages of pregnancy in Canada, and under the combined effects of the federal Canada Health Act and provincial healthcare systems, it is publicly subsidized as a medical operation.
You’ll have access to safe and legal abortion services if you decide to go this route.
While the choice is yours to make about pregnancy, birthing a baby as an international student can be a lifelong challenge.
And if you are alone (you have no relatives staying with you) in Canada, it’s can be a daunting task.
Giving birth in Canada as an international student
Having a baby is a wonderful, life-changing experience but for an international student who finds herself pregnant while in school (with no relative or a partner around), it can be an isolating experience.
Several challenges come with being a pregnant international student in Canada.
- There is the challenge of finding a place to live that is comfortable for you during the pregnancy.
- There is the challenge of managing schoolwork and motherhood at the same time.
- There is the challenge of navigating the Canadian healthcare system.
You need to make sure you have health insurance that covers prenatal and postnatal care, as well as delivery costs.
Becoming a parent is a big decision, but if you are an international student in Canada, it can be bigger.
However, some organizations such as CPNP can help you out. The Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program (CPNP) offers financial assistance to pregnant women in need and can help you with things like living expenses, health care costs, and more.
These organizations (both on-campus or off-campus) can also help you with the practical side of things, like finding a place to live or getting child care.
Cost of giving birth in Canada as a student
Giving birth is a natural and beautiful process, but it can also be quite costly. The cost of giving birth will vary depending on where you live, the type of care you received, and other factors.
However, on average, giving birth in a hospital in Canada will cost between $1,500 and $5,000.
This includes the cost of delivery, as well as any care you may need afterward.
If you choose to give birth at home or in a birth center, the cost will be lower, starting at around $1,000.
Frequently asked questions about giving birth in Canada as an international student.
Here are a few questions their answer may be helpful to you.
Can I bring my baby on a student visa to Canada?
You can bring your baby with you on your student visa to Canada. You can also bring your spouse or common-law partner, and any dependent child under the age of 18.
But you need to make sure that you have enough money (and prove the same) to support them throughout their stay in Canada.
Is giving birth in Canada free?
Giving birth in Canada is not free. While the Canadian healthcare system covers a lot of the costs associated with pregnancy and childbirth, there are still some costs that you’ll need to pay out-of-pocket.
These can include things like hospital fees, prescription costs, and other medical expenses.
While giving birth in Canada is not free, there are plenty of ways to help offset the costs.
Some employers offer pregnancy and parental leave top-ups, which can help with things like lost income.
There are also government programs like the Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program and the Universal Child Care Benefit, which can provide financial assistance.
Does Canada accept pregnant students?
Canada accepts pregnant students. There’s no need to worry if you’re pregnant and looking to study in Canada.
Pregnant students are welcome in Canadian schools, and there are plenty of resources available to help you through your pregnancy and studies.
That being said, if you’re pregnant and planning to study in Canada, you’ll need to make sure that your school is aware of your pregnancy and has the resources to support you.
You also need to ensure that you have a safe and comfortable place to live. And finally, you need to account for the added cost of childcare.
Can I give birth to a baby while studying in Canada on a student visa?
You can give birth to a baby while studying in Canada on a student visa.
However, you need to make sure that your school is aware of your pregnancy and can accommodate your needs.
You also need to have health insurance that covers pregnancy and childbirth, as well as any post-natal care.
Most provinces and territories have healthcare plans for international students.
You can apply for student health insurance through the province or territory where you are studying.
Receiving subsidized medical care requires enrollment in the provincial health insurance program.
Healthcare can be quite expensive for those who do not participate in the provincial health insurance plan.
Finally, you need to budget for the additional costs associated with having a baby, such as childcare and medical expenses.
This is important because you may not be eligible for many government assistance programs.
Can a pregnant woman apply for a student visa in Canada?
A pregnant woman can apply for a student visa in Canada except in a case of a medical emergency.
A woman’s pregnancy cannot disqualify her from applying for a Canadian student visa except if it’s dangerous.
However, you need to have a letter of acceptance from a designated learning institute.
You also need to provide additional documentation to prove that you can support yourself and your child during your studies.
You may also be required to take a medical examination or provide a medical report.
Additionally, you may be required to provide proof that you are fit to carry out your school obligations while in Canada.
For more information, you can visit the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada website.
How much does it cost for an international student to have a baby in Canada?
The average cost for an international student to give birth in Canada is $1,500, this amount can be higher depending on whether or not there are complications during and after delivery.
In addition, there may be other extra costs like diapers, formula, and clothes. In all, having a baby in Canada as an international student is a relatively affordable experience.
Can international students get maternity leave in Canada?
International students are eligible for maternity leave in Canada just like any other worker.
But your school must approve of your leave – pregnancy is a good reason to take a leave of absence AKA maternity leave if you are studying in Canada.
If you’re an international student who is expecting a baby, you need to let your school authorities know of your condition.
Is baby delivery free in Canada for international students?
Delivery is not free in Canada for international students. If you are an international student and you are pregnant, you will likely have to pay for your own delivery costs.
However, there are some ways to offset these costs. For example, if you have health insurance, your insurance provider may cover some or all of the delivery costs.
You can also talk to your school’s international student office to see if they have any resources or advice on how to reduce the cost of delivery.
Can international students get abortions?
International students can get abortions in Canada – Abortion is a legally protected right in Canada.
That means that you can get an abortion without fear of punishment, no matter what your citizenship status is.
However, you will need to find a clinic that is willing to provide abortion services to international students.
Secondly, you will also need to pay for the procedure out of your pocket, as most insurance plans will not cover abortion.
Can I study in Canada while pregnant?
You can study in Canada while pregnant but it depends on your health and the health of your unborn baby.
Most universities and colleges will require you to provide a medical certificate from your doctor confirming that you are fit to continue your studies.
You also need to know the policies of your school concerning pregnant students.
In this regard, the best thing to do is to contact the institution you wish to attend and ask about their policies.
Furthermore, you need to consider your housing and health insurance options, as well as how you will manage your finances during your pregnancy.
It is also important to be aware of the cultural differences in Canada when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth.
Overall, it is possible to study in Canada while pregnant, but it requires some planning.
If you are pregnant and want to study in Canada, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider and research your options thoroughly before making any decisions.
Can I enter Canada on a student visa if I am pregnant?
You can enter Canada on a student visa if you are pregnant but you have to prove to CBSA that you can adhere to the full-time study permit requirements.
If you are unable to prove that you are capable, you will be denied entry to Canada but if you prove that you are capable and meet other requirements, you will be granted a visa.
Is it possible to give birth in Canada as an international student?
International students can give birth in Canada. However, you need to make sure that your health insurance (if you have any) covers pregnancy and childbirth.
Some insurance plans may not cover these costs, so it’s important to check with your provider before you get pregnant.
Finally, you need to budget for the added costs of pregnancy and childbirth, which can be significant.
While it’s possible to give birth in Canada as an international student, it’s important to do your research and be prepared for the challenges that come with it.
Having a baby is a big decision for anyone, but it can be especially challenging for you as an international student in Canada.
Getting pregnant while still studying in Canada may not be a good idea, the challenges are many.
Really? If you give birth to your child in Canada, who will look after you and your child? Do you think you can care for a child and attend school (full-time) at the same time?
How are you going to cope? These are the questions you need to answer before making that decision.
It can be easy to get pregnant, but what happens after may not be easy on you as an international student, especially if the father of your baby isn’t ready to stand by you.
You need to think twice before taking this step. Ensure you can cope if you plan to get pregnant here.