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What are my options if I’m pregnant?
Making a decision about an unplanned pregnancy is personal. Accurate information and support helps, but only you can know what’s best for you.
I’m pregnant — now what?
Finding out 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. have an unplanned pregnancy at some point in their lives.
People who are pregnant have 3 options:
- Parenting — giving birth and raising the child.
- Abortion — taking medication or having a medical procedure that ends the pregnancy.
- Adoption — giving birth and placing your child with another person or family permanently.
Sometimes deciding what to do about an unplanned pregnancy is easy. Other times, it’s difficult or complicated. Your decision is very personal, and everyone’s situation is different. You’re the only person walking in your shoes, so the decision is 100% yours.
What can I think about to help me decide?
Family, relationships, school, work, money, life goals, health, safety, and personal beliefs — most people think carefully about many of these things before making a decision about an unplanned pregnancy.
Consider how you feel when you think about abortion, adoption, and parenting. What do you want for your future, and for your family or future family?
It may be helpful to ask yourself questions like:
- How would my decision affect my future?
- How would my decision affect my family or other children?
- Am I ready to go through pregnancy and childbirth?
- Am I ready to raise a child right now?
- Do I have strong personal or religious beliefs about abortion, parenting, or adoption?
- Is anyone pressuring me to make a certain choice?
- Would my decision change my life in a way I don’t want?
- Will my family, my friends, and my partner support my decision?
There are lots of factors to consider, and it’s totally normal to have many different feelings when you’re thinking about your choices. Lots of people lean on others for support and advice as they’re making their decision. It’s good to choose people who you know are understanding and won’t judge you.
Who can I talk with about my options?
Talking with your partner, someone in your family, a friend, a trusted religious advisor, or a counselor about unplanned pregnancy options can be helpful when you’re trying to figure out what to do.
Your local Planned Parenthood health center has caring professionals that can give you accurate, non-judgmental information about all your options, answer your questions, and offer support as you make a decision — no matter what you decide about your pregnancy. Planned Parenthood also offers abortion, adoption, and prenatal care services, or referrals for these services in your area.
Other family planning centers and private doctors may also talk with you about your decision. Be careful when looking for a reliable health center. There are fake clinics that say they have pregnancy services. These are called Crisis Pregnancy Centers, and they’re run by people who are anti-abortion and don’t believe in telling you the truth about all of your pregnancy options. They may use lies and manipulation to try to scare or shame people out of choosing abortion.
Crisis pregnancy centers are often located very close to Planned Parenthood health centers or other real medical centers, and have similar names — they do this to confuse people and trick them into visiting their clinic instead. Read more about Crisis Pregnancy Centers.
No one should pressure you into making any decision about your pregnancy, no matter what. Only you know what’s right for yourself at the moment. So getting the info and support you need from people who’ll give you the real facts and will support you is important.
If you’re having a hard time finding someone in your life to talk with, check out All-Options. All-Options has a free hotline that gives you a confidential space to talk about making decisions about a pregnancy. They’ll give you judgement-free support at any point in your pregnancy experience, no matter what choice you make or how you feel about it.
When do I need to make a decision?
It’s important to take the time you need to make the best decision for you. But the timing of your choice can affect which options you have. So it’s a good idea to figure out what you want to do as soon as you can so you get the best medical care possible.
If you’re considering abortion, it may be harder 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 parent the child or place it for adoption — start getting prenatal careas soon as you can. And go to prenatal visits with your doctor regularly throughout your whole pregnancy to make sure you and your pregnancy stay healthy.
If you’re thinking about adoption, you can choose to place your child for adoption at any point in your pregnancy. You may even be able to start the adoption process after the baby is born. Your timeline for making an adoption plan depends on you and your individual needs and situation.
Your local Planned Parenthood health center is here to provide you with expert information and support. Make an appointment so you can stay healthy, no matter what decision you make.