Health & Wellness
Assistance for Pregnant Students
For a student facing unintended 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.
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 CampusMinistry.
Frequently Asked Questions
I think I might be pregnant. Where can I go to for a pregnancy test?
The University’s Health Center offers students free pregnancy tests twenty four hours a day, seven days a week; no appointment is necessary. The test kits used are similar to ones that can be purchased at a drug store. Students may choose either to have a nurse on duty assist with the test to ensure it is done properly, or they may take the test kit with them and perform the test themselves. All services provided by the Health Center are confidential. In terms of free pregnancy testing off-campus, the Women’s Care Center, www.womenscarecenter.org, provides free pregnancy tests at several locations in South Bend. Again, no appointment is necessary.
My pregnancy test has come back positive. I feel overwhelmed, anxious, and scared. Can I speak to someone immediately?
There are a number of people on this 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 service agency and pregnancy resource center, also has a confidential toll-free helpline, available 24 hours a day: 1-877-908-2341.
If I’m pregnant, will I have to leave the University?
No. You may stay at Notre Dame if you wish and you will 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 student in the Notre Dame community feel fully welcome and part of this community. Pregnant students can remain in their residence hall provided they are physically able to do so. 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 housing options that are suitable for the purposes of parenting - 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.
Student Affairs Case Manager
574-631-0084 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Christine Caron Gebhardt
Director, Gender Relations Center
574-631-9340 or Christine.M.CaronGebhardt.email@example.com
Who can help me sort through all of the decisions I need to make?
In addition to the pregnancy support advocates listed above, 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 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 counseling for him/her as well. All counseling is confidential. 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 and reflective discernment process. Again, all counseling is confidential. To make an appointment with a campus minister, call 574-631-7800.
I'm not pregnant, but a friend of mine is. Is support available for me?
Friends of pregnant students are welcome to seek support from 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 or/and 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 graduate student. Is there any specific infomation I should know regarding pregnancy during graduate school?
To assist graduate students who are new parents, the University offers a supplement to the six week medical separation policy. The Accommodation Policy for New Student Parents is available here. You may also be interested in the University Policy for Pregnant Students in Labs.
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.
Are there places on campus designated for students to pump breastmilk?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Judy Madden , Alliance for Catholic Education
Susan Steibe-Pasalich, University Counseling Center
574-631-7336 or email@example.com
Sharon McMullen, University Health Services
574-631-8286 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Resources in the South Bend Community:
Project Rachel is a post-abortion reconciliation program offered by the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. This ministry offers hope and healing for all those who suffer from the pain of abortion and its aftermath. If you are hurting, know that your church cares and understands. Project Rachel ministers and counsels individuals of all religions:1-855-722-4354
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 uplanned pregnancy.
1-800-TNN-4MOM or www.nurturingnetwork.org
Photos and posters included on this webpage are used with the permission of the Gender Relations Center at the University of Notre Dame, who produced these posters with the support of Notre Dame Right to Life as part of an awareness campaign.