Pregnant and Parenting Students: Faculty Information

Pregnant and Parenting Students:  Faculty Information

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities including academic, educational, extracurricular, athletic, and other programs or activities of schools. This resource document provides an overview of the Title IX requirements as it applies to pregnant or parenting students.

Right to Continue with Educational Program

Pregnant or parenting students have the right to continue with their educational program for as long as they determine they are able. Rules may not be established that prohibit a pregnant or parenting student from participating in research, lab work, internships, practicums, field work or any associated travel. In other words, restrictions may not be applied based solely on the individual’s status as a pregnant or parenting student.

There is no Requirement to Disclose Pregnancy

Students are under no obligation to disclose their pregnancy, however if a student tells you they are pregnant, you may ask them if accommodations are needed and refer them to the Title IX Coordinator for assistance. Faculty and instructors should not request medical documentation or details related to the student’s pregnancy or any associated medical condition from the student.

Accommodations Required by Title IX

  • Students must be allowed to take time off from school for pregnancy, childbirth, miscarriage, abortion, and recovery for as long as their doctor says is medical necessary. This rule applies regardless of any established leave policy related to a specific course or completion of an academic program.
  • Students cannot be penalized for taking medically necessary leave and must be able to return in the same status they held before taking leave.
  • Additional time to complete assignments
  • Ability to make up work without penalty
  • Attendance adjustments without penalty
  • Remote coursework
  • Additional time to complete degree requirements
  • Alternate seating arrangements (larger desk, ability to stand as needed)
  • Access to food and drink
  • Time and space to express/pump breast milk
  • Frequent breaks
  • Seating near an exit
  • Excuse absences due to pregnancy or childbirth with medical documentation

This list is not intended to be inclusive, but merely illustrative of accommodations that may be appropriate to the student’s needs.

Other Considerations

When setting timelines for make-up or missed work, leave should be treated as leave. Assignment deadlines should be adjusted to provide the student with the same amount of time as other students have had to complete the assignments. Consider that returning students typically must catch up with the material while also negotiating new family responsibilities and ongoing health concerns.

Be aware of gender stereotypes. Any student can be a parent and may need reasonable adjustments, such as excused absences and the ability to make up work without penalty, to care for their newborn or a sick child.

Intersection with the ADA

Pregnant students, or students recovering from a pregnancy related condition, dependent upon their circumstances, may also be protected by and have rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Title IX specifically requires any institution that accommodates students with temporary disabilities to offer and provide the same adjustments for students with pregnancy related temporary disabilities. Examples of covered conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Gestational Diabetes
  • Severe morning sickness (hyperemesis gravidarum)
  • Chronic migraines
  • Severe back, leg, or foot pain

Faculty should refer students to the Title IX Coordinator who has overall responsibility for ensuring Title IX accommodations are provided and implemented. The Coordinator will consult with the Center for Educational Access as needed to facilitate timely and effective provision of accommodations.