Title IX

Support and Accommodations for Pregnant Individuals

Pregnant or nursing students or employees may be entitled to support, protections, and/or accommodations under Title IX and other federal and state laws.

The following frequently asked questions and answers provide general guidelines and information related to possible support and accommodations but are not intended to address or provide all relevant resources at UW. Additional resources and information sources are noted in the FAQs below.

Getting started

Are there protections or support if I’m pregnant?

Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex; this includes prohibiting discrimination based on pregnancy, marital status, or parental status. You may be entitled to modifications, adjustments, support, and/or accommodations related to attending class, participating in educational or academic activities, or performing your job responsibilities.

How do I request support or accommodations?

Students should work directly with their instructors to determine modifications and support related to their pregnancy. For assistance with parking, furniture, classroom relocation, lab support if working with chemicals, disability-related absences, and other possible complications related to pregnancy, students should contact the disability resources office on their campus.

Pregnant employees may wish to review UW’s HR Pregnancy accommodation website.  Employees should contact UW’s Disability Services Office with questions or concerns related to pregnancy.

What is the difference between support and accommodations?

An accommodation refers to a modification or adjustment to your academic or work environment that based on a medically-documented disability and is supported by paperwork provided by a health care provider. Support (and modification and adjustment, in these FAQs) refers to a change in an academic or work environment that may be made absent documentation from a health care provider. 

If I believe I’ve experienced discrimination because of my pregnancy, what should I do?

If you’ve made a request of an instructor or supervisor that has been refused, you may contact the Office of the Title IX Coordinator for further assistance with that request.

If you believe you’ve experienced discrimination related to your sex or gender, including because you are pregnant, and you wish to make a complaint, please contact the University Complaint Investigation & Resolution Office (UCIRO). An investigator will meet with you to hear your concerns and determine whether an investigation is appropriate or whether the University has another process to address your concerns.

Types of support and accommodation

What accommodations may I request if I’m pregnant?

As parking is often requested, see the “Parking” section below.

If you have medical complications related to your pregnancy, you may contact Disability Resources for Students on your campus if you’re a student or the Disability Services Office if you’re an employee.

The review and approval of an accommodation request will depend upon your individual circumstances. Some possible accommodations may include, but are not limited to: adjustable furniture, classroom or office relocation, lab support if you’re working with chemicals, disability-related absences, disability-parking permit, and Dial-A-Ride (Seattle campus).

If I don’t have medical complications, what support or help is available?

If you are pregnant but do not have any specific medical complications, you may directly contact your instructor(s), supervisor(s), or department to request support or adjustments. These adjustments may include additional or longer breaks, the ability to eat/drink where doing so may not otherwise be permitted, or adjustments to project timelines and assignment deadlines. To ask for these adjustments, you do not need to provide personal information to your instructor, supervisor, or department aside from letting them know the request is because you’re pregnant. If reasonable requests are denied, you may contact the Office of the Title IX Coordinator.

If you’re a student and need assistance with furniture, classroom relocation, lab support if you’re working with chemicals, or disability-related absences, contact your campus’s Disability Resources for Students.

If you’re an employee, including a student employee, you may have options for leave related to your employment. Information for full-time employees may be found on the University’s sick leave webpage; information for temporary or student hourly employees may be found on the University’s sick time off webpage.

Is the University able to help with childcare?

If you’re a student, the childcare assistance programs on the Bothell, Seattle, and Tacoma campuses provide information about help covering the costs of child care.

Employees and students are eligible for child care programs coordinated by UW Human Resources. Consult the child care at UW website for more information.

Does the University maintain a list of lactation stations?

Yes, the location of lactation stations can be found at the links below.

Parking

I need to park closer to the buildings where I attend class or work because of my pregnancy; is that possible?

Obtaining parking permits for specific lots may depend on availability; you also will be required to pay for the necessary parking permits. More detailed answers follow based on your status as either a student or employee and based on the campus where you work or study.

For students on the Seattle campus: You may contact Transportation Services to request a disability parking permit for up to six weeks; there is no need to explain or provide a rationale for this request, though you may need to mention it’s based on a temporary disability. If you need a disability parking permit that extends beyond six weeks, please contact Disability Resources for Students. Parking fees apply and cannot be waived.

For students on the Bothell campus: If you need a temporary parking permit, contact Disability Resources for Students. If you need a temporary permit for more than three weeks, you will need to work with your medical provider to obtain documentation for a state-issued disability parking permit and register with the Office of Planning and Administration.

For students on the Tacoma campus: You may contact Disability Resources for Students to receive help with parking; you will receive a code to purchase permit parking through the UW-T Transportation Services website. Additional information about parking permits is available there.

For all employees, regardless of campus: All pregnant employees may contact the Disability Services Office to receive further information about parking.

Information for pregnant students

How do I access accommodations if there are medical complications with my pregnancy?

If your pregnancy involves health or medical complications, you may engage Disability Resources for Students on the appropriate campus (Bothell, Seattle, or Tacoma) for academic accommodations.

As part of the process to request and receive accommodations, you will need documentation from your health care provider describing the impact and duration of the health or medical conditions accompanying the pregnancy.

How do I access support if there are NO medical complications with my pregnancy?

If there are no health or medical complications, work directly with your instructor(s) to discuss what you need and to understand what is possible and where flexibility exists. If you experience resistance or a refusal to have modifications made, you may reach out to the Office of the Title IX Coordinator, and we will work with your instructor(s) to communicate the University’s goal of ensuring all students maintain access to their education and to further assess what flexibility may be appropriate. We can also communicate the University’s obligations under specific laws.

If my expected delivery date is during finals or intersects with course-related deadlines, can I receive accommodations related to childbirth?

We encourage you to work directly with your campus’s Disability Resources for Students office early, so a plan is in place for the quarter childbirth will occur. Because putting together an accommodation or plan may take some time, contact your campus’s Disability Resources for Students office as early as possible.

The availability of accommodations depends, in part, on whether your childbirth occurs naturally, via Caesarean section, or involves known complications. The length of time for your recovery will differ based on these.

Information for pregnant employees

How do I access modifications or accommodations in my workplace?

Some modifications may be provided without medical documentation. You may directly ask your supervisor to allow short breaks, including for nursing. You may also ask for modifications such as allowing snacking while working if that is not otherwise permitted.

To request support or accommodations during pregnancy, you may contact the University of Washington’s Disability Services Office. The Disability Services Office will assess your needs and refer you, if appropriate, to the additional offices and individuals who can provide assistance based on your specific situation.

For more information, see the University’s pregnancy accommodation webpage.

If I want to discuss support or workplace accommodations, do I need to contact UW’s Disability Services Office, or can I talk directly with my supervisor?

If your needs include support that may be provided regardless of whether you have medical documentation, you may speak directly with your supervisor. Supports that may be put into place absent medical documentation include more frequent, longer, or flexible restroom breaks, modifying a no food/drink policy, and providing seating or allowing for more frequent sitting. If what you’ve requested is not something your supervisor may easily implement or if your request is denied, contact the Disability Services Office.

If you have medical documentation in connection with your needs, work directly with the Disability Services Office.

For more information, see the University’s pregnancy accommodation webpage.

For instructors and supervisors

As an instructor, what obligations do I have to provide support or accommodations for a pregnant student?

Instructors have the responsibility and authority to make a variety of reasonable adjustments or modifications without requiring a student work with Disability Resources for Students. In general, the types of adjustments or accommodations you can grant include:

  • Short breaks during class and final examinations (for pregnant or nursing parents);
  • Adjusted timelines for completing work or assignments; and/or
  • Other adjustments that are reasonable and will allow a student to continue accessing their education.

Do not ask students about their pregnancy or complications. If a student’s specific request does not seem appropriate for your course or the learning environment given other students’ needs, you may consult with the Office of the Title IX Coordinator. We will work together to determine whether there are alternative solutions or identify where flexibility may exist.

Instructors who have been contacted by Disability Resources for Students regarding implementation of accommodation(s) for specific students must do so. If you believe the specified accommodation would significantly change your classroom or course requirements, please contact DRS.

If a student offers you medical documentation, do not accept it. Instead, refer the student to Disability Resources for Students.

As a supervisor, what should I do if I’ve been asked to provide support and/or accommodations for a pregnant employee?

If the employee is requesting a reasonable modification such as the need for more frequent or longer restroom breaks, the modification of a food or drink policy, or providing seating, you should support and implement their needs. You should not ask employees about their pregnancy and/or any medical issues or complications.

If an employee makes a request that you do not believe is appropriate or reasonable, don’t decline the request but instead refer the employee to the Disability Services Office for assessment. If you’ve received a request from a pregnant employee additional information may be found through Human Resource’s pregnancy accommodation webpage.

If an employee offers you medical documentation, do not accept it. Instead, refer the employee to the Disability Services Office.

Other Resources

Student Parent Resource Center
Childcare at UW
Women’s Center