Skip to main content

Faculty Information on Working with Pregnant Students

To: Greg Fant, Associate Vice President and Deputy Provost

Through: Laura Castille, Executive Director of Office of Institutional Equity

From: Annamarie DeLovato, office of Institutional Equity

Date: February 5, 2020

Subject: Faculty Information on working with Pregnant Students


Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 ("Title IX"), 20 U.S.C. §1681 et seq., prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, which includes discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy (miscarriage/abortion), or related conditions including recovery. 

Under Title IX:

  • Pregnant students should not be excluded from participating in any part of an educational program.
  • A student's absences due to pregnancy or childbirth, as deemed medically necessary, should be excused. 
  • A student cannot be penalized for taking leave, even if taking medically necessary leave would require an absence longer than the school's leave policy ordinarily allows. 
  • When a student returns to school, the student should be allowed to return to the same academic and extracurricular status as before medical leave. 
  • Any special services provided to student who have temporary medical conditions must also be provided to a pregnant student. 

Prohibitions: Certain programs may determine that pregnant students, at certain stages in their pregnancy, should not participate due to certain prohibitions (jeopardizing health). Any prohibition should be vetted by the Office of Institutional Equity ("OIE"). If deemed appropriate/compliant with law and policy, the course catalog/syllabus must clearly provide notice to students of the prohibition and reason. If there is a bona fide occupational qualification that prohibits participation by a pregnant student, it cannot be waived; however, all prohibitions need to be carefully considered by OIE for Title IX compliance. 

Clinical/Internship Requirements: Must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine if an accommodation can be made such as moving groups around, make-up hours or "Incompletes" with plan for completion. 

Breastfeeding/Nursing Students: NM Stat. Ann. Section 28-20-1. A mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be present. Dedicated breastfeeding spaces are located throughout NMSU and branch campuses. for locations and further information, please see If there is not a location available, please contact OIE. 

All pregnant students should be referred to OIE for consultation. additional information, including to request a student pregnancy accommodation, is available at If faculty have any questions or concerns, please contact OIE for guidance at 575-646-3635 or at


Frequently Asked Questions: 

  1. May a school require a pregnant student to obtain a doctor's permission before allowing her to attend school late in her pregnancy if the school is worried about the students's health or safety? Schools cannot require a pregnant student to produce a doctor's note in order to stay in school or participate in activities unless the same requirement to obtain a doctor's note applies to all students being treated by a doctor. Pregnant student should not be treated differently from other students being cared for by a doctor, even when a student is in the later stages of pregnancy. Never presume that a pregnant student is unable to attend school or participate in school activies. 
  2. What types of assistance must a school provide to a pregnant student at school?  A school must make adjustments that are reasonable and responsive  to the students temporary pregnancy status. Some examples are providing a larger desk, allowance of frequent trips to the bathroom, or access to elevators. other examples include transferring to on-line courses, video lectures, extended deadlines, alternative assignments in lieu of class participation credit, submission of coursework online, and allowance of make-up exams or quizzes missed. OIE will always advise the Student to remain in contact with Professors to determine a "reasonable" time period to make-up and/or submit assignments as well as to take exams and/or quizzes. If an "Incomplete" is required, all necessary approvals must be obtained by the Student. 
  3. Does a school have to excuse a student's absences due to pregnancy or childbirth?  Yes. When the student returns to school, the student must be reinstated to the status held when the leave began. 
  4. Does a school need to provide special services to a pregnant student?  Title IX requires a school to provide the same special services to a pregnant student that it provides to students with temporary medical conditions. 
  5. What about a Professor's policy about class attendance/make-up work?  Extended deadlines and make-up work are reasonable and responsive adjustments if the absence was due to pregnancy or childbirth. Alternative assignments should be offered in lieu of class attendance or participation credits. 
  6. What about male parents? The same policy applies to male parents; however, absences must be related to the medical condition of the mother (e.g., prescribed bed rest). Compliance with Title IX is to ensure that all policies are implemented equitably without regard to sex/gender. 

Grievance Procedures: NMSU provides grievance procedures for students to file complaints of sex discrimination, including discrimination related to pregnancy or parental status. See NMSU Administrative Rules and Procedures (ARP), Rule 3.25. (01.09.19) located at Complaints may be filed inperson at OIE or online at

All pregnant students should be referred to OIE. Students can request an accommodation/supportive measures by filing a request for a Student Pregnancy Accommodation available at While a routine pregnancy is not covered by NMSU policies regarding disability accommodations, impairments arising from a pregnancy might be. Such students should be referred to Student Accessibility Services. 

References: U.S. Department of Education Dear Colleague Letter, dated June 25, 2013,, Supporting the Academic Success or Pregnant and Parenting Students under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, June 2013,, Know your Rights,