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Many women want to have children. And they want to have children when they are ready and best able to care for them. But millions of women face unplanned pregnancies every year. In fact, half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned.
If you think you may be pregnant, the first step is to take a pregnancy test. Women whose home pregnancy tests show they are pregnant often go to a health care provider to have the results confirmed.
If you are pregnant, you have three options to think about — abortion, adoption, and parenting. Reading and learning about each one will help you get the facts and may help you decide. It may also help to weigh the benefits and risks of each one. Think about which benefits and risks are most important to you.
Only you can decide what is right for you. But women often find it helpful to talk it through with someone else. You may choose to talk with your partner or a trusted family member or friend. Pick someone you think will be supportive. It's important to remember that you get to decide who is a part of your decision-making process.
Family planning clinics, like your local Planned Parenthood health center, have specially trained staff who can talk with you about all of your options. But beware of so-called "crisis pregnancy centers". These are fake clinics run by people who are anti-abortion. They often don't give women all their options. They have a history of scaring women into not having abortions. Absolutely no one should pressure you or trick you into making a decision you're not comfortable with.
It may be important to take your time and think carefully about your decision. But you may not want to wait too long. Whether you choose adoption or to become a parent, if you plan to continue your pregnancy, you should begin prenatal care as soon as possible. And if you are considering abortion, you should know that abortion is very safe, but the risks increase the longer a pregnancy goes on.
Q&A with Dr. Cullins