What Should I Do if I Had an Unplanned Pregnancy?
An unplanned pregnancy is a pregnancy that is either unwanted, as the pregnancy happened when no children or no more children were desired.
Or it is mistimed, as the pregnancy happened earlier than desired.
The concept of unplanned pregnancy helps in understanding the fertility of populations and the need for contraception, also known as birth control, and family planning.
Most unplanned pregnancies result from not using contraception or from not using it consistently or correctly.
I have an unplanned pregnancy — now what?
Knowing that you’re pregnant when you don’t expect it can be stressful,
but it’s a pretty common experience — about half of all women in the U.S. had an unplanned pregnancy at some point in their lives.
An unplanned pregnancy could be quite a shock, but there is no reason to panic. You are not alone because unplanned pregnancy is common.
In an ideal world, a woman who is surprised by an unplanned pregnancy is in good preconception health for having a baby and is prepared and able to care for a new baby.
You might not know what to do next if you had an unplanned pregnancy.
You might worry that your parents won’t welcome the news, might not be sure you can afford to have a baby,
might worry if earlier choices you have made, such as drinking, will affect your unborn child’s health,
or might be afraid that having a baby will keep you from finishing school or pursuing a career. If you had an unplanned pregnancy after being raped,
you might feel embarrassed or scared. You might wonder what choices you have. Here are some next steps for you:
What are my choices if I had an unplanned pregnancy?
Deciding about an unplanned pregnancy is personal. Correct information and support help, but only you can recognize what’s best for you.
Pregnant women have three choices:
- Parenting: giving birth and nurturing the child. It is the best choice
- Abortion: taking medicine or having a medical procedure that ends the unplanned pregnancy.
- Adoption: having a baby and placing your baby with another person or family forever.
Read Also The 17 Early Signs of Pregnancy
What can I think about to help me make my decision?
Family, relationships, work, school, life goals, money, health, and beliefs,
are things most people consider carefully before making a decision about an unplanned pregnancy.
Consider your feelings when you think about abortion, adoption, and parenting. It may help to ask yourself questions like:
How would my choice affect my future?
How would my choice affect my family or other children?
Am I ready to have a baby?
Do I have personal or religious beliefs concerning abortion, parenting, or adoption?
How to make a decision concerning an unplanned pregnancy?
For some women, making a decision about an unplanned pregnancy might be the most difficult decision they have had to make so far.
Some women find making decisions an easy process, while others feel nervous about the responsibility of decision-making.
No one should put pressure on you to make any decision about your pregnancy, no matter what. Only you know what’s right for yourself at the moment.
So getting the information you need and support from people, who will give you real facts about having a baby and will support you, is important.
Valuable tips for making a decision
- Take your time.
- Evaluate your situation and get a clear idea of your present situation.
- Get information about the choices available.
- Write a list of the questions you want to be answered.
- Consult lots of people.
- Write down your feelings or express them to someone.
- Go away to a favorite, quiet place.
- Involve in a favorite physical or creative activity, which takes you out of your ‘head’ for a while.
- Imagine a scenario of each of the options and pretend you are living it.
- Weigh up choices carefully, and have a pros and cons list.
- Read stories about what others did.
- Listen to your heart and mind, and let them have a conversation with each other.
When should I make a decision?
It’s important to take the time you need to make the best decision for you, but the timing of your decision can affect which options you have.
So, it’s a good idea to choose what you want to do as soon as you can, to get the best medical care possible.
If you are not planning on having a baby, now is the time for considering abortion or adoption.
If you’re considering abortion, about half of pregnancies aren’t planned, and in one in five pregnancies a woman chooses to have an abortion.
It can be a tough choice to make and maybe an emotional phase. Talking to people you trust and getting information and support can help.
It may be more difficult to find a doctor who will do an abortion after the 12th week of pregnancy (the first trimester).
If there’s a chance, you’ll continue your pregnancy — whether you choose to be a parent or place it for adoption — start getting prenatal care as soon as it’s possible.
And go to prenatal visits with your doctor regularly all through your pregnancy to make sure you and your pregnancy remain healthy.
If you’re considering adoption, you can decide on placing your child for adoption at any point in your pregnancy.
You may even be able to start the adoption procedures after having a baby.
Your timeline for making an adoption strategy depends on you, and your needs and situation.
Make a doctor’s visit to confirm your pregnancy and discuss your health and issues that could affect your pregnancy.
Furthermore, ask for help to quit smoking, and find out what you can do to take care of yourself and your unborn baby.
If you’re not doing so already, start taking a prenatal vitamin that has folic acid, right away. Also, if you drink alcohol, smoke, or use drugs, stop immediately.
Moreover, if you weren’t expecting to become pregnant, you might be stressed or depressed.
So, talk to a specialist, eat healthily and drink a lot of water to help retain your energy up. In addition,
stay away from things that can put your pregnancy at risk,
such as cat litter (cat feces could give you a dangerous infection), uncooked meat, unpasteurized food, and seafood, that’s high in mercury; as tuna.
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Preventing having an unplanned pregnancy
Most unplanned pregnancies result from not using contraception, or from using contraceptives incorrectly.
Accordingly, prevention includes full sexual education, accessibility to family planning services, and access to a variety of effective birth control methods.
In the U.S., it is estimated that 52% of unplanned pregnancies are caused by couples not using contraception in the month the woman got pregnant,
and 43% result from inconsistent or incorrect contraceptive usage; only 5% are because of contraceptive failure, according to the Guttmacher Institute’s report.
It is better for men and women to formulate a reproductive life plan, t
o help them in avoiding unplanned pregnancies and to improve the health of women and reduce adverse pregnancy outcomes.