Help for Online Students during Pregnancy Complications

Alexandre Henry Alves,
Alexandre Henry Alves,

It’s been some time since we last checked in with Terry Watson, disability contact liaison for Penn State World Campus students. Recently, a new provision has been added to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that may impact World Campus students who are pregnant.

Half of our student population is female, and those women who are pregnant benefit from the convenience of finishing their degrees online while balancing work, studies, and a new family member. However, situations may arise during pregnancy that result in complications — and according to Terry, the newest ADA provision will allow reasonable accommodations for our pregnant students so they may continue their online studies if a complication arises.

But what exactly is considered a pregnancy complication? Pregnancy impairments include hypertension, gestational diabetes, severe nausea, and sciatica because they can substantially limit a major life activity. Below are just two examples that may help you to better understand how the ADA can impact your college career if you have a pregnancy complication.

  • Sarah was diagnosed with severe nausea in her first trimester of pregnancy by her primary care physician. Her doctor prescribed extra rest and specific actions to help aid in her care. Because Sarah was taking Penn State World Campus classes, she spoke with Terry, who helped her contact her instructors for course accommodations. Terry also offered assistance to Sarah in requesting the appropriate documentation from her physician. Sarah completed a verification form in conjunction with her primary care physician in order to explain and verify her pregnancy complication, which Terry then used to secure extra time for her class assignments.
  • Jennifer, in her second trimester, found out that she had gestational diabetes. Jennifer’s primary care physician prescribed insulin injections and a modified diet plan. Jennifer found herself struggling with the new medication and its side effects, while dealing with her home life, work, and studying for mid-term exams. She decided to contact Terry for some guidance. After helping her fill out her verification paperwork, Terry arranged for Jennifer’s instructors to provide her with an extension to complete her mid-term exams.

The scenarios presented in this blog post are examples of pregnancies with complications, but each situation will be a bit different. If you need information about how the ADA can help you finish your course work while dealing with pregnancy complications, please contact Terry.

Students with any disability can contact Terry to find available disability resources and inquire about disability support services.

Terrys Contact Information

Toll-Free: 800-252-3592



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