Resources available for pregnant, nursing students


Kayla Olivieri

Features Reporter

Students who are pregnant or nursing have the added stress and pressures of juggling classes and work with pregnancy symptoms, doctors’ appointments, nursing and pumping and the unexpected medical emergencies or impending due dates.

However, pregnant and nursing students at CSU Bakersfield are offered support, accommodations and resources through Title IX.

According to CSUB’s website, “Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex — including pregnancy, parenting and all related conditions — in education and in programs and activities that receive federal funding.”

Claudia Catota is CSUB’s Title IX coordinator and chief diversity officer.

“Our office is the office of equity, inclusion and compliance and we cover Title IX compliance which includes our pregnancy accommodations, investigations around misconduct and working with students, faculty and staff on discrimination and harassment,” Catota said.

“If anybody ever feels on our campus that they have either been discriminated against, or don’t feel welcome in an environment, come and talk to us and we can work through what some of those issues may be, resources available, and we can assist with any procedures and policies that we operate under,” Catota said.

Each pregnant and nursing student has the right to stay in school and receive the support and accommodations necessary to meet their educational and career goals.

Mackenzie Boone is an English major and junior at CSUB who is 26 weeks along in her pregnancy.

“The balancing act can feel overwhelming,” Boone said.

Through Title IX, pregnant and nursing students can ensure that their pregnancy and familial responsibilities do not interfere with their education.

Boone said, “When it comes to grades and health, every expectant mother will choose health. Unfortunately, when some students do get pregnant, expected or not, it can feel like there’s no other option but to let your grades suffer or drop classes altogether.”

For students like Boone, knowing that there is help and understanding on the side of CSUB is helpful.

CSUB’s website says, “Title IX requires professors and administrators treat pregnancy, childbirth and related conditions in the same manner and under the same policies as any other temporary disability.”

As long as it is deemed necessary by a medical doctor, professors must provide and allow pregnant students a leave of absence due to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.

Jessie Tarango is a liberal studies major and sophomore at CSUB who is 33 weeks along in her pregnancy.

Tarango said, “Preparing for the babies delivery such as knowing when the child will be born and deciding to skip the semester or start a semester but then miss time in the middle is a difficult decision to make.”

Professors must provide students under Title IX a leave of absence for as long as it is deemed necessary by a medical doctor. At the end of the leave, the student must be reinstated to the status they held prior to their leave.

After returning from an excused absence, professors must allow a reasonable amount of time to make up missed assignments and tests.

If a professor provides specific “points” or other advantages to students based on class attendance, students must be given the opportunity to earn back the credit from classes missed due to pregnancy.

Students have more options than dropping out, skipping a semester, or failing classes due to pregnancy.

Under Title IX, pregnant students are entitled to the same benefits offered to students with other medical conditions, illness or injury.   

Title IX also requires CSUB to prevent and address harassment based on pregnancy, whether that be from other students, faculty, or staff.

Tarango said, “There are times where I’ll feel uncomfortable as a pregnant student. I feel like since I’m pregnant many think that we’re not capable of accomplishing the same academic goals as others.”

Catota wanted to make sure that pregnant and nursing students on campus feel welcomed and included.

Catota said, “Part of the guidance from the federal government under Title IX is how we treat our pregnant and nursing mothers in an inclusive manner. Come and talk to us! We know how difficult it is and we work with our students to see what their needs may be, and work with our faculty members and other folks on campus depending on what the needs of a student may be.”

For nursing mothers that are students, there are now three nursing rooms at CSUB at the Student Housing West in Rohan, the Walter Stiern Library on the fourth floor and at the Student Health Center.

Pregnant and/or nursing mother students on campus, can contact Claudia Catota or Chris Ballard at the Office of the President, or go online to for more information.


Artwork by Aqsa Khan, The Runner.