In the United States, approximately 75% of undergraduates have been sexually active, so it comes as no surprise that unintended pregnancies are a common occurrence amongst today’s students. Over 2 million college-aged women become pregnant each year and just over a quarter of undergraduate students are parents, but even though this is a situation that many people face, it seems that there is a general lack of knowledge about the resources that are available to pregnant students.
According to surveys conducted by Students for Life of America and Feminists for Life, 58% of college students admitted that they would not know where to refer a friend who wants to keep their child and 79% stated that they had no idea whether their student health plan offered maternity coverage.
Many women struggle to find guidance on their schools’ websites and have a hard time tailoring their schedules to the effects and events surrounding a pregnancy. To say that an unplanned pregnancy is extremely difficult is a huge understatement, but college women who find themselves in this position should know that they are not alone. Below are some helpful resources that may come in handy if you or a friend find themselves in this situation.
Resources for All Pregnant College Students
Planned Parenthood provides college students (and others) with information about general healthcare, contraceptives, and pregnancy. There is a page on their website that that specifically outlines the options that a woman has when she becomes unexpectedly pregnant, as well as a list of things to consider when making the choice about how to move forward. Planned Parenthood health centers have non-judgemental professionals that will give you accurate information so that you can make an informed decision about what is best for you.
The American Pregnancy Association contains helpful facts about the process of pregnancy as a whole and has a great page specifically for unplanned pregnancies. This website provides information not only for the pregnant women but also for the other people involved in her life, including resources specifically targeted towards the father of the child and the parents of the pregnant college student. The association remains unbiased by sharing information about adoption, abortion, and parenting.
While many college students may have heard that Title IX is supposed to protect against sex-related discrimination, it is less commonly known that Title IX specifically protects pregnant and parenting college students and entitles them to certain accommodations. The Pregnant Scholar is a site that covers these rights in great depth, explaining that women who are pregnant–regardless of whether they plan to keep the baby–should be supported and not victimized. From ways that schools accommodate women with pregnancy-related conditions to information about the rights of pregnant student-athletes and students on scholarships, this site has a ton of helpful information.
All-Options offers a variety of resources no matter which route you decide to take with your pregnancy. The All-Options Talkline is a toll-free number that you can call from anywhere in the U.S. or Canada in order to talk to a peer about pregnancy-related situations, whether you are trying to figure whether to keep the pregnancy or you have already decided and need to vent about dealing with the aftermath of a birth, miscarriage or abortion. They also offer a variety of workshops and training sessions related to pregnancy.
Resources for Going Through with the Pregnancy
If you decide that you want to go through with the pregnancy, the Pregnant on Campus Initiative website is a good place to visit. There is a breakdown of resources by state, where you can click on the area you live in and even on your specific school to learn more about the help that you can receive. You can learn about housing, child care, insurance, counseling, adoption and more. The resources listed are extremely helpful, but be aware of the biases that may seep into the information on the information pages, because the Pregnant on Campus Initiative is through Students for Life, an organization that advocates against abortion.
Growing Family Benefits is a good website to turn to if you want to learn about the financial aspect of pregnancy and raising a child. There is a page specifically about financial assistance for pregnant women that contains information about how loans for pregnant moms, debt relief, individual health insurance, Medicaid, disability, college financial aid, housing assistance and more.
If you do not want to terminate your pregnancy for personal or religious reasons but do not feel fit to be a parent, adoption is a compromise that you can come to. The National Council for Adoption has a site with in-depth descriptions of the adoption process and the differences between open and closed adoptions.
Resources for Choosing Abortion
If you are starting to think that terminating your pregnancy may be in everyone’s best interests, the National Abortion Federation has a website with information that will help you make an informed choice about whether this is the right path for you. It debunks myths related to abortion and pregnancy and emphasizes the importance of education for both women and professionals.
The 1 in 3 Campaign offers plenty of support for people who have made that same choice. Their website explains the different types of abortion and provides women with a safe space to share their stories about abortion through writing or video.
Exhale‘s goal is to make sure that women have access to emotional support post-abortion. With over 150 trailed counselors, their talk line is available for women who want to discuss their experiences. The Exhale website also has a list of books and websites that may be helpful when dealing with the emotions that arise from having an abortion
If you feel as though you must terminate your pregnancy but are concerned about finances, the National Network of Abortion Funds is a great resource about how to come up with the money for a procedure.