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Pregnant Students and New Parents

Pregnant Students and New Parents at UW

Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational settings. This protection extends to students who are pregnant, have experienced a pregnancy-related condition, or are new parents.

Pregnancy-related conditions include

  • Pregnancy
  • Childbirth
  • False pregnancy
  • Miscarriage
  • Termination of a pregnancy
  • Conditions arising in connection with pregnancy
  • Recovery from any of the above conditions


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Because support cannot be issued retroactively, students who have a pregnancy-related condition should contact DOS as soon as possible to request support. DOS can issue an initial support letter while waiting for medical documentation from the student.

Information about your pregnancy-related condition is considered part of your educational record, is protected by FERPA, and will not be shared except with those UW personnel who need the information in order to provide academic support to you. Students with concerns about how their information will be shared within UW should schedule a meeting to discuss their questions.

A family of four, two parents and two children, sit at a dinner table reviewing school work.

Students can expect the following support:

  • Faculty may not require medical documentation as a condition of participating fully in course activities unless they require medical documentation from all students who have disclosed that they are currently under medical care. This requirement should be outlined in the syllabus.
  • Faculty may not prohibit you from participating fully in all course programs, projects, and activities solely due to your status as a pregnant student.
  • Faculty are expected to allow reasonable adjustments for you upon request, such as a larger workspace and the ability to leave class to make a trip to the restroom.
  • In partnership with DOS, faculty are expected to excuse absences related to pregnancy and childbirth, and allow you the opportunity to make up any work missed, as well as the opportunity to complete some or all of your work from home.


Pregnant students with certain pregnancy-related conditions (sometimes referred to as “complications”) may be eligible for additional support through the Disability Support Services office. The Dean of Students Office can connect students with DSS, or students can fill out a DSS application directly.

If you would like UW to be able to speak with anyone regarding your education (eg, a family member during or immediately after the birth of a child), please fill out and return a FERPA release.

DOS can provide you a letter for your medical provider, outlining the necessary information for any medical documentation for DOS.

FERPA Releases

Because academic support related to pregnancy is a protected part of your education record, you will need to a sign a FERPA release if you would like DOS to be able to communicate with anyone else (a partner, friend, and/or family member) regarding your condition and related academic support. Students can stop by the Dean of Students Office in Knight Hall room 128 at their convenience to sign a release.

Graduate Students

Graduate students can request a leave of absence from their graduate program of study for certain pregnancy-related conditions. Contact DOS for more information.

Students who are also benefitted staff

DOS can only excuse absences related to pregnancy and delivery for as long as deemed necessary by a medical provider. This means that excused absences related to recovery from delivery may end sooner than approved family leave as a UW benefitted employee. Students who are also benefitted employees on family leave should maintain contact with DOS regarding excused absences from coursework, even if you are still away from work on family leave.

New parents

Parents can request authorized absences from DOS for absences related to family obligations, including a child’s medical appointments or a child’s need for care due to illness.

New parents who are nursing can request support to facilitate nursing when the parent has resumed their studies. Parents should contact DOS for more information.

Pregnancy-related discrimination

Students who believe they have experience discrimination at UW as a result of a pregnancy-related condition should report the concern to the Equal Opportunity Report and Response Office.

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