5 Things Every Pregnant College Student Should Know (Updated with Link for UK students)

Reposting this with a link for UK students (near the bottom)!

As if being a college student wasn’t hard enough, being a pregnant college student is an entirely different ballgame. Many women, both traditional and nontraditional students, struggle with pregnancy while attending college. However, the truth reveals that many women who end up pregnant while working on their education end up dropping out of college either temporarily or permanently. Most women are unaware of their rights through Title IX (Education Amendments of 1972) that protect them. While colleges should be held accountable to these provisions, it is important to know your rights in order to make sure that they comply to such rules.  If you are a woman in college who is pregnant, here are 5 important things to know:


1. Your college is not allowed to discriminate against you based on marital status, or if your condition changes due to childbirth, false pregnancy, or recovery from such conditions. What does this mean? If you are single and pregnant-studentpregnant the school cannot withhold any benefits or services they would offer a woman who is married and pregnant. It also means that the school cannot change any decisions they make about your record on account of your condition. 

2. Schools are required to treat pregnant women as they treat others. Health plans, medical benefits, and related services are to be provided to pregnant students in the same manner as services are provided to students with “other temporary disabilities.” This can be a crucial part of college success because if you do not have healthcare that is accessible to you and your college denies you services, you risk illness and complications that will not only harm you but also your college career. You are also entitled to receive services like at-home tutoring if your college makes similar accommodations for those with other temporary disabilities. This may also include special seating in the classroom for when your tummy starts to grow! 

3. A pregnant student can be granted a leave of absence for as long as it is medically necessary and at the conclusion of her leave must be allowed to resume the status she held when the leave began. This, in my opinion, is one of the most important. This means that you cannot have your absences due to your pregnancy held against you even if a professor has an “attendance policy” in place. If you have a professor who is not complying with this, you need to seek the aid of academic affairs. This also means that your professor cannot adjust your grade on account of absences related to your pregnancy…however, you do need to provide documentation of your pregnancy in order to ease this process. Furthermore, if you were in “good standing” before you had to leave school on account of your condition, your status cannot be lowered during that time. 

4. Your professor and college has to allow you the opportunity to make up work you missed. Similar to the previous statement, you are protected just as those with other conditions are. Regardless if the school tries to tell you that it is up to each professor, it is federal law that the teacher allow you to make up the work. Many people do not see pregnancy as a condition, but the fact remains that each and every pregnancy is different and comes with challenges. Colleges allow individuals with other conditions to make up work, so they must allow you that same opportunity.

5. You are not alone! Don’t think that you must leave college because of your condition! There are faculty, administration, and other students who will support you during this challenging time in your life. Seek out resources on your campus and use them. Do not hesitate to inform your college of your pregnancy as you can. Your education is yours and you have the federal law on your side (Title IX link below). Not only that but you have the power to be your own advocate — continuing your education during pregnancy may not be easy, but it is possible! 

For more information please visit: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/cg/pp/titlenine.asp

And also check out: http://www.thepregnantscholar.org

If you are a student in the UK, visit this link (the first 12 pages are most important): http://www.ecu.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/external/student-pregnancy-and-maternity-implications-for-heis.pdf

If you are being discriminated against please visit here for more information: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complaintintro.html


11 thoughts on “5 Things Every Pregnant College Student Should Know (Updated with Link for UK students)

  1. The Pregnant Scholar (@PregnantScholar) says:

    Hi, I have an important correction–you say that Title IX doesn’t cover private schools–but thats just not true! Title IX covers almost every college/university in the US, public and private. The rare exceptions are some religious schools, but even the majority of religious colleges are covered. If anyone wants to learn more, there are lots of resources at http://www.thepregnantscholar.org or you can contact us there.

  2. Martha says:

    Thanks for the info. I feel so lost at my school. I had emailed my advisor and she still hasn’t got back to me. I wanted to discuss my options. I found out I was pregnant a week before school started. So my schedule is already set. And everything is back to back. I have no energy to do any work. I’m 36 years old with my 3rd child on the way and have no help. My husband works long hours. I told him I feel overwhelmed because people at my school send me different places to talk to different people and I still feel unsure about everything. No one quite knows how to help it seems or limited. First I was sent to student affairs. Then they told me to talk to financial aide, then they told me I should talk with my advisor who never responded to my email ( maybe she’s busy), So I ended up printing out the LOA document. I’m in fall semester 2016 and due 4/22/17 so I won’t be attending Spring semester. I don’t think we can swing more money for daycare for the baby and my 2 year old so I might have to stay home. My husband’s family can’t help so I’m stuck. We only have each other so I might have to wait on school for a while. I cried last night because I’m so frustrated with this situation. I love school but honestly right now I can’t enjoy it. I’m sick all the time and I’m terrified I won’t pull through this semester.

    • Dianna says:

      Hi Martha,

      I am so sorry you’ve been given the runaround! My first bit of advice is to actually visit the disabled students center on your campus. Pregnancy is considered a temporary disability and they will be the best place to help. However, if you give me some more info: your school, income level, state of residence, etc. I can help you a bit more and possibly find a direct contact for you. Please e-mail me at askdianna@collegesuccessformoms.com – I want to help!

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