Many women want to have children, but they want to have them when they’re ready. If you get pregnant when you didn’t plan on it, you have options.
How do I know if I’m pregnant?
The only way to know for sure if you are pregnant is to take a pregnancy test. You can get home pregnancy tests at drugstores. They are very accurate when taken after your missed period. You can also take a pregnancy test at a health center or doctor’s office.
What are my options?
You have three options if you are pregnant.
You can continue with the pregnancy, have a baby and raise a child.
You can make an adoption plan and place the baby for adoption.
You can end the pregnancy by having an abortion.
There is no right or wrong decision and only you can decide what is right for you. If you’re confused about what to do, talk about your feelings with your partner, someone in your family or a trusted friend—someone who will support you. Planned Parenthood health centers have staff who can talk to you about your options. You can bring your partner, your parents or someone else in with you, but you don’t have to. You get to decide who will be part of the decision-making process.
When do I have to decide?
If you think you’ll want to continue pregnancy, you should begin prenatal care as soon as possible. You should have a medical exam soon to make sure that you (and the pregnancy) are healthy.
If you are thinking of having an abortion, you should make the decision as soon as possible. Abortion is only legal up until a certain point depending on what state you live in.
Being a parent is exciting, rewarding and demanding. It can help you grow, and bring more happiness to your life. Parenting requires lots of love, energy and patience. To feel good about being a parent, it must be what you want to do—for a long time. You already know what that means if you have other children. If you don’t, talk with your parents, friends with children or a counselor.
One of your options is to have the baby and let someone else raise him/her. Many women who make this choice are happy knowing that their child is loved and living in a good home. Some women find that the sense of loss is harder than they expected. Adoption comes in many forms, there are open and closed adoptions and adoptions handled by agencies, relatives and independently. Adoptions are permanent and must be approved by a judge. For more information, visit www.childwelfare.gov/adoption.
Abortion is a legal and safe procedure. Many women get abortions, and have support from people who are important to them.
You may feel that it’s hard to talk about abortion with some of your family, friends or your partner. Try to find people who are supportive. This may be your friends, husband, partner, parents, other family members, health care provider or religious leaders. There are two kinds of abortions available in the first trimester—in-clinic and medication. Abortion is safe, serious complications are rare and having an abortion should not affect your ability to have children in the future. Abortions are available at many Planned Parenthood health centers, clinics and the offices of private health care providers.
Want more information?
Schedule an appointment at Planned Parenthood to talk with someone in person about your options or visit us online at Planned.org.