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Pregnancy and breastfeeding during studies

Maternity protection

Changes to the Maternity Protection Act

From 1st of January 2018 the Maternity Protection Act also applies to female students. A female student to whom the Maternity Protection Act applies is any person who is pregnant, has given birth to a child or is breastfeeding - regardless of the gender indicated in her birth registration. Pregnant women and mothers at university are entitled to a six-week protection period before the birth and a minimum eight-week protection period after the birth. Likewise, special protection applies during the breastfeeding period.

A pregnant person holds a crafted red heart on a wooden handle in front of her belly. © Pixabay

Please inform the university of your pregnancy. Notification is voluntary, but we strongly recommend it. It cannot be ruled out that there could be health risks for you or your baby in your studies. This could be the case especially with internships in the natural sciences or engineering, workshop or laboratory activities, excursions, outdoor internships, practical sports events or school contacts with children in the teaching degree program. Therefore we recommend that you inform the university of your pregnancy or breastfeeding period so that you can take advantage of the protection rights under the Maternity Protection Act. Only in the case of early notification the university can avert possible risk for you as the expectant mother and your child and arrange necessary protective measures.

There is a relative ban on examinations during the statutory maternity protection periods. This relative ban is set up from 6 weeks before the birth and 8 weeks after the birth. In the case of premature births, multiple births and births of children with a disability, the maternity protection period is extended to 12 weeks after the birth. This means that you will automatically not participate in exams or other study events, such as lectures and field trips, as well as laboratory and internship activities.

It is only permitted to take exams or  visit events, when you have expressly declared to the lecturers or examiners during your maternity leave period that you wish to take part.  This declaration can be revoked at any time.  If you quit the exam while it is already in progress, you must submit an additional soick note.

You are entitled to take time off for examinations that arise in connection with  the pregnancy, as well as take time off for breastfeeding (at least 2 times a day for 30 minutes during the first 12 months after giving birth).

If you are working as a student or scientific assistant or as a part-time employee, the regulations of the Maternity Protection Act for employees also apply. Please contact the Corporate Center Human Ressources.

The pregnancy or breastfeeding period can be reported voluntarily by the student to the university using this form - please include an appropriate proof of the expected date of birth. After notification of pregnancy or breastfeeding period , this information will be forwarded to the district government of Arnsberg. The university is obliged to do this.

Upon receipt of the notification, the student will be contacted by the Family Service. At the same time, you will be contacted by Claudia Hannappel from the Office of Occupational Safety, Environmental and Health Protection and asked to complete the questionnaire for individual risk assessment. Together with the colleague and, if necessary, other contact persons of the respective examination office/internship/laboratory, an assessment will be made. You are welcome to use the document for listing your courses and attach it to the questionnaire for support.

The further planning of the studies while your pregnancy and breastfeeding period can be discussed and clarified with the colleagues from the Department Academic Coordinator or the Central Student Advisory Service (if necessary after consultation in the Family Service).

Discussions and consultations on the subject of maternity protection and pregnancy as well as studying with child(ren) take place without an associated report to the district government, because consultations are always confidential. Please contact the Family Service or the Central Student Advisory Service.

A notification of pregnancy is made at the university when a student takes a leave of absence due to pregnancy, requests an official risk assessment or fills out the notification form.

Here you will find more details about  the regulations of the Maternity Protection Act Follow the link

This is a link to the Guide to Maternity Protection. On the webpage of the Federal Ministry you will also find more detailed information on the statutory protection periods and the details of the changes since January 2018. The Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia also provides all-encompassing information.

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