Women attend college because they have plans and dreams for their future, and it’s similar for you. You probably researched various career options, chose a career track that best suits you, and planned out your education to get you to your goal.
But then you discovered that you’re unexpectedly pregnant. Being pregnant in college was definitely not in your plans. So now, what do you do?
Read on to learn about how to process the news, how you can finish college, and resources available to help you during this time.
Your Pregnancy Test Is Positive — Now What?
It can be pretty scary to discover you’re unexpectedly pregnant while you’re still in college. The first thing to do is take one step at a time and don’t make any decisions about your pregnancy under pressure.
Next, make an appointment at a quality pregnancy care clinic that doesn’t charge for any of its services. This ensures that they have no financial stake in the decision you make, so you can feel more confident about receiving unbiased information.
If the clinic allows it, think about who you might want to bring with you to your first appointment. Your mind may feel like it’s racing right now; it can be helpful to have extra support and another set of ears with you to absorb any information you may not catch.
Choose someone you trust who will support your decision rather than someone who has a strong opinion about what you should do about your pregnancy. This person could be your best friend, family member, or partner.
At that appointment, you will receive information that will help you make an informed decision about your pregnancy. This is your opportunity to ask any questions you have. For example, many women ask how it is possible to finish college while they are pregnant or parenting. We’ll answer that question next.
Can You Finish College if You’re Pregnant or Parenting?
It may feel like it’s impossible to finish college if you’re pregnant. It also may seem insurmountable if you choose to become a parent. While it’s true that you may need to navigate some challenges, there are many systems in place for you to complete your college degree successfully, whether you are pregnant or parenting.
You are not alone. Twenty-six percent of all undergraduate students, or 4.8 million students, are raising children . That number is even higher if you factor in pregnant students as well. Part of their success is due to the support received through a law called the Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which bans sex discrimination in schools that get federal funds .
Title IX makes it illegal to exclude students who may be, are, or have been pregnant from an educational program.
Below are seven of many fundamental rights that Title IX provides you. You can learn more at the U.S. Department of Education.
1. You cannot be excluded from school, extracurricular activities, or sports because you are pregnant.
As long as you feel comfortable and your doctor approves of continuing your sport or other extracurricular interests, you don’t have to stop participating in the school activities you enjoy because you’re pregnant.
If you participate in a sport, your coach is required to modify your training as needed to accommodate your pregnancy.
2. If you have a scholarship from your university, it can’t be taken away because you’re pregnant — even if it’s a sports scholarship.
It’s common to wonder about finances, but being pregnant doesn’t require you to forfeit any scholarship granted by your university because it is protected under Title IX.
According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), you are also protected if you’re an athlete. The NCAA states, “Federal law requires us to grant you as much leave as is medically necessary and to renew your scholarship under certain circumstances. You should also know that NCAA bylaws allow a female student-athlete to apply for an additional year of eligibility if her athletic career is interrupted by pregnancy.”
3. Title IX requires that your professors grant you excused absences and allow you to make up missed assignments and exams.
If you need to miss school for any pregnancy-related reason, your teachers must allow you to make up missed assignments and exams. This means if you are having a tough day with morning sickness or even need more time off after giving birth, the days you miss must be counted as excused absences. The only item the college can ask for is a note from your doctor.
4. Your school must make reasonable adjustments to the regular program.
Adjustments might include:
- Giving you access to the elevators.
- Providing frequent bathroom breaks.
- Switching to online learning.
- Providing a larger desk as your pregnancy progresses.
5. If you live in a dorm, you can continue living there if you’re pregnant.
You don’t have to leave your campus or friends because you’re pregnant. In fact, it’s unlawful to make you move out of your dorm due to pregnancy.
Many women also have questions about ways to access financial help. You can make an appointment with a financial aid adviser at your college to get information about community resources and government grants that are available if you decide to continue your pregnancy or are a parent. You may be eligible for:
- Free medical care through Medicaid
- Tuition assistance that doesn’t have to be paid back, such as Pell grants
- Reduced or free childcare
You can continue to be successful if you’re pregnant in college when you have access to the right resources.
Pregnancy Care Clinic Is Your Resource if You’re Pregnant in College
Pregnancy Care Clinic is a place you can trust. Our compassionate healthcare professionals can answer all of your questions and help calm your fears. In addition, we offer pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, and other pregnancy services at no cost to you.
Support and knowledge are empowering; contact us today to make your confidential appointment.
 Gault, B., Reichlin Cruse, L., Reynolds, E., & Froehner, M. (2014, November 17). 4.8 million college students are raising children – IWPR. Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Retrieved from https://iwpr.org/iwpr-issues/student-parent-success-initiative/4-8-million-college-students-are-raising-children/
 Title IX. The United States Department of Justice. (2021, August 12). Retrieved from https://www.justice.gov/crt/title-ix
 U.S. Department of Education (E.D.). (2020, January 10). Pamphlet – supporting the academic success of pregnant and parenting students under title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Home. Retrieved from https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/pregnancy.html#_Toc3