Pregnant?

For a student facing a planned or unplanned pregnancy, the physical, emotional and spiritual issues can seem overwhelming. In keeping with its mission as a Catholic university, Notre Dame is committed to life and to offering students resources that support the choice of life. Therefore, the University will make every effort to provide pregnant students with caring, non-judgmental, professional assistance and support. Assistance is also available for those affected by the pregnancy of someone close to them.

Undergraduate students at Notre Dame spend many years working hard and and planning for their post-secondary education. Being pregnant is often not part of the plan. For students in graduate level studies, pregnancy may be either unplanned or planned. For the many couples who choose to start their family during their time at Notre Dame, finding out they are pregnant is cause for joy and excitement. Nonetheless, Notre Dame understands that pregnancy and parenting present a unique set of challenges for graduate students and their families. 

Students who become pregnant may stay at Notre Dame if they wish and will receive the full support of the University community. The University will do all it can to accommodate student needs and concerns regarding coursework and housing. University Health Services provides free pregnancy tests and can assist with physician referrals. Counseling is available both during and after the pregnancy, through the University Counseling Center and/or Campus Ministry.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

I think I’m pregnant. Where can I go for a pregnancy test?

The University’s Health Center offers students free pregnancy tests 24 hours a day, seven days a week; no appointment necessary. Students may choose to have a nurse assist with the test or they may take the test kit with them and perform the test themselves. All services provided by the Health Center are confidential. For free off-campus, no-appointment-necessary pregnancy testing in South Bend, visit the Women’s Care Center.

My pregnancy test came back positive. I feel overwhelmed, anxious, and scared. Can I speak to someone immediately?

There are a number of people on campus who can support and assist you. The University Counseling Center provides a 24-hour telephone service for any Notre Dame student in crisis about her pregnancy (574-631-7336), as well as a walk-in emergency service on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. If you live on campus, someone on your hall’s staff—your rector, assistant rector, or RA—is always available and can provide a safe and confidential place to talk. The Women’s Care Center, a local non-profit pregnancy resource center, also has a confidential toll-free helpline (1-877-908-2341), available 24 hours a day.

If I’m pregnant, will I have to leave the University?

No. If you wish to stay at Notre Dame, you’ll receive the full support of the University community. Students are often concerned that they will face disciplinary action as a consequence of becoming pregnant, but this is not true. The University will do all it can to accommodate your needs and concerns regarding coursework and housing. As a Catholic university, Notre Dame is committed to life and to providing resources that support the choice of life.

Will I have to move off-campus?

It is important that any Notre Dame student feels fully welcome and part of this community. Pregnant students can remain in their residence hall provided they are physically able. Though the residence hall structure is not equipped to provide housing to students consistent with the needs of caring for a child, Student Affairs is committed to working with students to explore suitable housing options, such as University Village (on-campus family housing) or an apartment off-campus.   

Where can I go to receive medical care during my pregnancy?

The University Health Center can help arrange a referral to an off-campus physician, provide nutritional guidance, and answer your questions about what to expect during pregnancy.

Does the University have a pregnancy support advocate?

The University has identified Pregnancy Support Advocates who can provide confidential information and assistance:

Erica Kelsey, Ph.D.
Care Consultant, Division of Student Affairs
574-631-0084 or ekelsey2@nd.edu

Christine Caron Gebhardt
Director, Gender Relations Center
574-631-9340 or ccaronge@nd.edu

Who can help me sort through all of the decisions I need to make?

In addition to pregnancy support advocates, the University Counseling Center offers the services of caring, competent, and highly trained counselors to help you explore your feelings—about yourself, the father (mother) of the child, your family and friends—and help you cope with any pregnancy-related issues you may be facing: Should I marry the child’s father (mother)? Should I place my child up for adoption? What about my educational and career plans?

If the father (mother) of your child is also a Notre Dame student, the UCC is able to provide confidential counseling for him/her as well. To make an appointment at the Counseling Center, call 574-631-7336.

Also, Campus Ministry offers the services of trained pastoral ministers in a caring, supportive, non-judgmental environment to help you consider the spiritual dimensions and issues that accompany an unplanned pregnancy: Can I articulate my beliefs and values about life, parenthood, marriage? How does my faith inform my decisions here? What choices and options are consistent with my faith and values?

If you are considering marriage, Campus Ministry is able to offer a thorough, reflective, and confidential discernment process. To make an appointment with a campus minister, call 574-631-7800.


My friend is pregnant. Is support available for me?

Friends of pregnant students are welcome to contact pregnancy support advocates regarding how to support their pregnant friend.

My girlfriend is pregnant but does not attend Notre Dame. I want to know how best to help and support her as we both face big decisions. Is there someone who can help me sort through my feelings?

Yes. Counselors at UCC and/or pastoral ministers in Campus Ministry can help you process your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors regarding the pregnancy-related decisions you face. To set up an appointment at the UCC, call 574-631-7336. To reach Campus Ministry, call 574-631-7800.

I am a varsity student athlete who is pregnant or parenting. Will this impact my eligibility? 

The Athletics Compliance Office maintains a set of frequently asked questions for varsity student athletes and also serves as a resource for student athletes who have questions or concerns regarding pregnancy or parenting. To reach the Compliance Office, call 574-631-9647.  

I am a graduate student. Are these pregnancy resources available for me or my spouse?

Yes. Visit the Graduate Student Life website for information about the accommodation policy for new student parents. In addition, all of the resources mentioned on this page are available for graduate students. 

Are there places on campus designated for students to pump breast milk?

The University of Notre Dame provides three lactation areas on campus for faculty, staff, and graduate students to support women balancing their work and study commitments with their needs as mothers of young children. Each campus location offers a clean and secure environment for women who need to express breast milk during their time on campus. For more information, visit the Human Resources site

Other Campus Resources:

Ed Mack, Campus Ministry

574-631-7800 or emack1@nd.edu



Judy Madden, Alliance for Catholic Education
jmadden2@nd.edu 



Susan Steibe-Pasalich, University Counseling Center

574-631-7336 or steibe-pasalich.1@nd.edu

Sharon McMullen, University Health Services
574-631-5550 or s.mcm@nd.edu

Resources in the South Bend Community:

Women’s Care Center
WCC is a non-profit pregnancy resource center offering many services to women facing unexpected pregnancies.

574-234-0363 or www.womenscarecenter.org

Catholic Charities
Project Rachel is a post-abortion reconciliation program offered by the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. This ministry offers hope and healing for individuals of all religions who suffer from the pain of abortion and its aftermath. If you are hurting, know that your church cares and understands.
1-855-722-4354
 or 574-234-3111

Resources Beyond South Bend:

The Nurturing Network is an international charitable organization that responds to the immediate and comprehensive needs of a woman facing the crisis of an unplanned pregnancy.
1-800-TNN-4MOM or www.nurturingnetwork.org

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