College can be an exciting time, as this may be the first time you live away from home or have your own place. But an unexpected pregnancy may have presented you with a change that you did not anticipate while you were pursuing degree options and arranging your class schedule for the year. The news may have lead you to feel as if you’ve transitioned into a very grown-up stage of your life, and it’s possible you may feel lost when it comes to handling such a mature circumstance. You may also feel like factors of your current life circumstances are influencing your pregnancy decision. While every woman’s situation is unique, it may be helpful to learn about what resources are available to you before you decide on one of your pregnancy options.
Facing an unexpected pregnancy as a college student can be a challenging experience. Avenue Women’s Center is here to support you by addressing your individual concerns during a consultation appointment. Our expert pregnancy consultants will make sure you have a complete understanding about each of your pregnancy options, such as parenting, adoption, and abortion. Our staff will also ensure that you’re aware of available resources to help you feel more confident in your decision. Contact us for free unexpected pregnancy help today!
What Resources and Accommodations Am I Entitled to on My College Campus?
Since pregnancy is often classified as a temporary disability, most colleges and universities must abide by Title IX guidelines. Title IX is a federal law that forbids educational institutions from discrimination against students because they’re pregnant. Under Title IX, your rights and protections as a pregnant student typically include:
- Medical leave for as long as your doctor deems it necessary for pregnancy, childbirth, abortion, or other conditions, including recovery.
- No penalties for medical leave regardless of your professor’s or school’s attendance policies. Title IX usually requires you be readmitted to school with the same status you had when you left.
- Special services that are granted to other students with temporary medical conditions. This may include take-home assignments, permission to snack during class, frequent bathroom trip privileges, extended exam times, or separate exam times with break allowances. Depending on your condition, as a pregnant student, you may be eligible for disability protections and services under the ADA.
- Avenues to address concerns about potential violations of Title IX. Your school may be required to have at least one person on staff who manages Title IX complaints. They may also be obligated to outline who their Title IX coordinator is, how they may be contacted, and the process for filing a complaint if you were to face discrimination as a pregnant student on campus.
Tips for Reducing Unexpected Pregnancy Stress in College
The first trimester of a pregnancy is typically when most women feel fatigued and nauseous, coupled with a heightened sense of smell, as well as frequent urination. It’s usually a good idea to practice good nutrition, sleep, and hydration habits to maintain your health during an unexpected pregnancy.
To reduce stress, you may also want to see if it’s possible to arrange your schedule to make it more manageable. While colleges and universities are typically obligated to provide you with accommodations, there are additional steps you can take to reduce your concerns. You may want to opt for taking online classes in order to spread out your schedule. This allows for more time to rest, eat a snack, and take breaks if you feel yourself becoming fatigued. If the semester has already begun, then the registrar office or your professors may be able to talk with you about shifting your schedule around in order to accommodate you.
Scheduling Your Time:
You may want to give yourself an additional 30 minutes or more to prepare for the day ahead each morning. This is because pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness may steal a bit of time away from your preparation routine of combing your hair or brushing your teeth. Don’t rush yourself to get out of bed! Try getting up slowly and eating what you can as you wait for the nausea to subside a little. It’s advisable that you communicate with your professors if you feel you’re going to be late for class to keep them updated about your condition. When it comes to assignments, try scheduling short time blocks to complete your work so you can stay focused and allow yourself necessary breaks.
This may be a very emotional time, and having a positive communicative network is important during an unexpected pregnancy. Family members, friends, school counselors, a trusted professor, or a pregnancy consultant are just a few resources you may want to reach out to. If you’re feeling confused about your unexpected pregnancy options, or just need to talk, someone lending you a compassionate ear can have a positive impact on your emotional state.
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed if you’re a college student facing an unexpected pregnancy. Avenue Women’s Center is here to provide necessary resources and nonjudgmental support during this time. With our free medical grade pregnancy tests, limited ultrasounds, and confidential consultations to discuss your options, Avenue is prepared to be with you every step of the way. Schedule your free appointment today!
- American Pregnancy Association. How to Have a Healthy Teen Pregnancy. Retrieved from: https://americanpregnancy.org/unplanned-pregnancy/healthy-teen-pregnancy/
- The Pregnant Scholar. (2016, January). Title IX Basics. Retrieved from: http://www.thepregnantscholar.org/wp-content/uploads/Faculty-Student-Title-IX-Basics-Printable.pdf