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Pregnancy in study

Maternity protection

As of January 1, 2018, the Maternity Protection Act (Mutterschutzgesetz, MuSchG) 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.

A woman with a baby bump is shown. She holds a paper heart in front of her belly. © Pixabay

The aim of maternity protection is to enable pregnant and breastfeeding students to continue their studies , without adversely affecting the health of the pregnant woman, the unborn child, the nursing mother or her child. Any disadvantages due to pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding must be avoided or compensated for as far as possible.

The Maternity Protection Act protects you and your child against health hazards and disadvantages - during pregnancy, after delivery and during the breastfeeding period.

Notification of pregnancy and breastfeeding

How do I report my pregnancy or breastfeeding?

According to § 15 MuSchG, you are not obliged to inform the university of your pregnancy and the date of delivery. This also applies if you are breastfeeding.

However, we generally recommend that you inform the university in your own interest so that you can take advantage of the protective rights under the Maternity Protection Act. This is because the university can only avert potential risks to you as an expectant mother and your child in good time and take the necessary protective measures if you notify us in good time.

To notify us, complete the maternity protection notification form and upload proof of your pregnancy (with a doctor's certificate or midwife's certificate stating the expected date of birth). Please submit the birth certificate for the notification of breastfeeding. In addition, the Maternity Protection Act requires the university to notify the responsible supervisory authority (the Arnsberg district government). You can give us your consent via the notification form.

The university will contact you as soon as possible after receiving your notification.

If you are also employed as a student or research assistant at TU Dortmund University, please also notify the Human Resources Department of your pregnancy. You can find an overview of the contact persons on the website of the Human Resources Department .

After your notification, other parties involved will be informed (Department of Occupational Safety, Environmental Protection and Health Protection and contact persons in the faculties) and consulted for you as a pregnant person. Please contact Claudia Hannappel for the risk assessment once you have submitted your notification and received the information email from Family Services. We also ask you to complete this questionnaire and, if necessary, to submit the overview of current courses. Together with you and the lecturers, Claudia Hannappel will check whether there are any risks for you and, if necessary, what special needs there are for the continuation of your studies.

If you have any questions, please contact the colleagues from:


No, according to § 15 MuSchG you are not obliged to inform the university about your pregnancy and the day of delivery. This also applies if you are breastfeeding. However, we do recommend that you notify us of your pregnancy and breastfeeding period, as this is the only way we as a university can support you in claiming your protection rights under the Maternity Protection Act.

The reform of maternity protection law implements the latest health science findings and takes account of social developments in the protection of pregnant women. This decisively counteracts discrimination against pregnant and breastfeeding persons. Thus, a continuation of your studies is guaranteed by the following points, among others.

  • During the statutory protection periods (six weeks before childbirth and eight weeks after childbirth), you will generally be exempted from all courses and examinations. However, you may continue to attend examinations or events within these protection periods if you expressly wish to do so. You communicate your wish by registering for the examination or event.
  • Existing working hours and occupational health and safety regulations will be taken into account during the entire period.
  • As a pregnant or breastfeeding person, you are entitled to compensation for disadvantages. This means that disadvantages should be avoided when you are taking courses and examinations (e.g. by substituting laboratory courses, practical courses or excursions).
  • During pregnancy or breastfeeding you have the right to be released from work, for example for examinations in connection with the pregnancy or for breastfeeding the child.

In general, maternity protection under the Maternity Protection Act applies from the time you report your pregnancy until the end of breastfeeding (at most until you reach the age of one). However, there are special protection periods six weeks before the expected date of birth and at least eight weeks after the birth. In the case of premature and multiple births, the protection period is extended to twelve weeks after the birth.

Learn more in the guidebook of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth: Leitfaden zum Mutterschutz (Guide to Maternity Protection).

There is a relative ban on employment for pregnant women and nursing mothers after 8 p.m. and on Sundays and public holidays. You can nevertheless register for these events and thereby declare that you waive the employment ban in order to be able to participate in said events. With reference to your pregnancy or breastfeeding period, you can withdraw from this participation at any time with effect for the future.

Please note that your declaration to participate in events will become invalid if the risk assessment or a medical certificate establishes a complete or partial study ban for the events etc. you have chosen. (§§ 10, 16 MuschG).

In addition, an absolute ban on employment after 10 p.m. applies to all weekdays.

Discuss your situation with your lecturers at an early stage in order to counteract possible difficulties. Legally, you must not be at a disadvantage due to your pregnancy. According to the Maternity Protection Act, you must be released for examinations during pregnancy and maternity protection as well as for breastfeeding until 12 months after the birth. You will find further protection in the protection regulations of the examination regulations of your study program.

In general, you should not suffer any disadvantages due to the reported pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding, see MuSchG. If you are unable to take part in examinations or internships or laboratory work relevant to your studies, it is possible to reorganize or adapt the study conditions in consultation with the respective chairperson of the examination committee or a deputy contact person at the faculty, see MuSchG.

  • In order to receive maternity benefits, you must be employed in a job that is subject to social insurance contributions before and during maternity leave. If you do not have any employment of this kind alongside your studies, you can receive parental allowance from the birth of the child. In this case, the parental allowance amounts to 300,- € per month.
  • For more information on financial security (BAföG, social benefits, initial equipment, etc.), please see our page" Financial benefits".

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