An unexpected pregnancy can bring up a lot of questions you never thought you would have. How did this happen? What should I do?
Plus your emotions are all over the place - happiness mixed with anxiety and anger mixed with confusion. It’s normal to feel all these emotions when facing an unplanned pregnancy.
At our PRC Clinics, we have all the support, assistance and helpful resources you need. We can help you sort through it all and come up with a plan which protects you. We commit to be with you each step of the way and bring out the best of a crisis situation.
So let's take it one step at a time here. Let’s talk about some of the most common questions you may have when facing an unintended pregnancy:
What is an unplanned pregnancy?
An unplanned pregnancy is a pregnancy that occurs without the parents trying for one. These pregnancies aren't necessarily unwanted, but they're not intended.
Most people who find themselves facing an unintended pregnancy go through a variety of emotions, including surprise, disbelief, panic, embarrassment, and excitement. It's normal to feel all of these emotions when you learn about an unplanned pregnancy.
How many pregnancies are unplanned?
About 45 percent of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. This is about 2.8 million pregnancies each year. There are about 45 unplanned pregnancies for every 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44. By age 45, over half of all women in the U.S. will have faced an unplanned pregnancy.
How does an unplanned pregnancy happen?
Unplanned pregnancies sometimes happen because neither partner uses any form of contraception.
However, many unexpected pregnancies occur even when birth control is involved.
Abstinence is the only form of birth control that is completely effective every single time. Although there are plenty of forms of contraception that work very effectively, there can be errors.
Condoms can break, and birth control pills sometimes fail. The pill is 99.7 percent effective when used perfectly every time, but it's easy to forget to take it or to take it a little early or a little late.
Other forms of contraception, like the shot, the patch, and the implant, are all very effective when used perfectly, too. However, if you forget to have one of these methods renewed in time, it can result in an unplanned pregnancy.
Even when any of these methods are used completely perfectly, there will be a few cases where they still fail.
What are the options for an unplanned pregnancy?
Every pregnant woman faces three options:
- Have someone else parent your child (adoption)
Within each option come different circumstances which bring different challenges. However, it is important to remember that an unplanned pregnancy isn't necessarily an unwanted pregnancy. Something unplanned can mark a detour along the way and often detours take us to beautiful places which we may have missed. And it is important to remember that often out of challenges come great opportunities to grow and show the world what we are made of!
Let's look at each option and some of the challenges you may be facing:
Parenting is one of the responses to an unplanned pregnancy. Challenges may be finances or readiness to parent. Your relationship with your partner may not be ready for a baby. He may even be telling you he won't stick around with a baby. Research tells us that often, even after termination, he won't stay because of guilt and regrets.
What you need is the information and support to make an educated decision. Chances are that you are a lot stronger than you think and capable of parenting on your own with the right support and community around you.
You may think you can not afford a baby. This is normal for most couples getting ready to have a baby - even those who are planning a baby.
An unplanned pregnancy increases those feelings. Here at our clinics we provide you with educational support like parenting classes and prenatal education while also providing rent assistance, life skill training and job preparation for free and up to 16 months to those who qualify. Financial scholarships and support are also available also for those who qualify.
Come in and let us develop a care plan specifically suited for you. Our Advocates and nurses will help you along the way and our network of agencies and resources can provide the assistance you need.
Today there are many different types of adoptions. You can be as involved or uninvolved as you would like in the choosing of the adoptive parents. You are in control at all times, selecting how involved you want to be even after the baby is born.
We work with several agencies that will listen to your fears and thoughts regarding this. And we stay with you throughout your pregnancy and even after to be sure you never feel pressured or that your voice is not heard.
Often the first steps in considering this is scary. We understand. But you have plenty of time to decide if this is the option for you.
One common consequence of an unplanned pregnancy is abortion, which can result in other health and emotional concerns. Our education section on this website has lots of information for you. Follow this link to different abortion types and procedures.
If abortion is an option you are considering, please come in for a free consultation and STI test. Most abortion providers do not offer STI testing. If you have a sexually transmitted infection you could be at risk later in life. Our Nurses can talk to you about STD treatments we offer for free.
What are the first steps to take during an unplanned pregnancy?
Once you take a free pregnancy test which confirms your pregnancy, the very first thing you should do is make an appointment with your primary care doctor or your OB-GYN or with our PRC Clinics.
Our PRC Clinics will help you figure out how far along you are and whether you have any health conditions that could be risky for your pregnancy. You'll also have an ultrasound and receive plenty of other pregnancy information.
There are also some important lifestyle changes to make when you find out you're pregnant. If you use drugs, drink, or smoke, quit right away to prevent harm to the baby. Start taking a prenatal vitamin, too.
The vitamin should contain 400 mcg of folic acid, which reduces the risk of birth defects and is very important in the first few weeks that you're pregnant. Avoid things that are harmful during pregnancy, like cat litter, raw meat, and seafood with a high mercury content.
How should I deal with an unplanned pregnancy
It's essential that you take care of yourself physically and mentally during a pregnancy.
An unplanned pregnancy can be scary and stressful, and it may be helpful to come in and talk with us. We have referrals to local counselors who can help you. This can aid with managing your stress to keep you as healthy as possible.
It can be very easy to focus on everything that stresses you out, including financial or relationship worries. However, try to surround yourself with supportive people and distance yourself from anyone who judges or criticizes you.
Almost half of pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned, so it's likely that you know someone who has been in a similar situation. You can also join a support group to connect with people who can relate to you and provide you with pregnancy information, or you can simply come talk to us.
We have lots of resources available for young mothers, single mothers, and families facing financial hardships. Utilize these resources to help with housing costs, food costs, medical bills, and other assistance.
But whatever happens in your relationship, it's important to remember that you can do this - even on your own.
As you build a new life and support system, you are not alone. Your courage and strength is amazing and your life will look different but amazingly different! Concentrate on your strength in those unexpected times - you can certainly rise to the challenge and we can help you!
What should I do about unplanned pregnancy
and my relationship?
If you're in a relationship when you discover your unintended pregnancy, it might be difficult to guess how the pregnancy can affect your partner.
Pregnancy is stressful, and it might create some tension between the two of you. However, even with all of the challenges, it can also make your relationship stronger.
While facing those challenges, remember that you do have help, support and friends who believe in you and your choice to continue. Often out of the challenges come great opportunities to grow and show the world what you are made of.
Pregnancy and parenting can be exhausting, and both partners may need support and communication. But always remember - no matter what happens, you CAN do this alone. You have enough strength and courage and you have us here at PRC Clinics to help you!