The thought of being unexpectedly pregnant can be really scary. You never thought you would be in this position, but your period is late, or maybe you’ve had a positive pregnancy test, and panic is setting in.

Even though you aren’t sure where to turn for help or what to do next, you don’t need to panic. The first thing to do is take a deep breath, know that caring help is available to you, and trust that you will get through this step by step.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, so you aren’t alone[1]. In this article, we’ll show you how to take one step at a time and become educated so you can make the best decision for you about your unwanted pregnancy.

Unwanted Pregnancy: What Next?

Step 1: Get the Support You Deserve

At this time, you need compassionate and skilled support from licensed healthcare professionals and advocates who are trained to empower you to navigate your unwanted pregnancy. An excellent way to find that support is to do an internet search for your local pregnancy center and make an appointment.

A quality pregnancy center is staffed with professionals and usually doesn’t charge you for their services. They also won’t judge or pressure you in any way. Their goal is to give you the facts you need to make a confident decision about your unwanted pregnancy.

Step 2: Verify Your Pregnancy With a Pregnancy Test

Your next step is to have your pregnancy verified with a urine pregnancy test at a pregnancy clinic or doctor’s office. A pregnancy test tells you that you have the hCG pregnancy hormone in your urine, but you will also need an ultrasound to determine how far along you are and if your pregnancy is viable.

Step 3: Confirm Your Pregnancy Is Viable by Ultrasound

If your pregnancy test is positive, your next step is to confirm that your pregnancy is viable with an ultrasound. A viable pregnancy is one with a reasonable expectation to carry to term and result in a healthy birth [2]. A nonviable pregnancy is one with no chance of survival.

According to Cleveland Clinic, up to twenty-five percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage; eighty percent of those are within the first twelve weeks [3]. If you’re considering abortion, you’ll need to know if your pregnancy is viable or not, so you don’t risk having an abortion on a nonviable pregnancy.

An ultrasound will also inform you about how far along you are, which allows you to know which pregnancy options are available to you.

Step 4: Learn About Your Pregnancy Options

Once you know you have a viable pregnancy, it’s critical to receive information about all of your options from an experienced healthcare professional. Talk with someone who is not only trained in options counseling but who also has nothing to gain or lose by the decision you make about your unwanted pregnancy. Opinions of trusted friends and family can be valuable but may still be biased.

The decision you’re facing is difficult, and even if you already feel like you know what you want to do about your pregnancy, take the time to learn about each of your options and the resources available to you. Your three pregnancy options include parenting, abortion, and adoption.

  • Parenting

One choice you have is to continue your pregnancy and parent your child. An advocate or social worker can provide you with community resources for the support you need to become a parent. Parenting is both challenging and rewarding.

  • Abortion

You also have the choice to end your pregnancy. An advocate will give you information about the different types of abortion, so you feel educated about procedures and risks.

  • Adoption

Another option you have is to continue your pregnancy and place your baby for adoption. It can be helpful to talk with someone who has chosen adoption to answer questions you might have about the experience.

The critical thing to remember is the way you choose to move forward is your decision. Don’t take advice from anyone trying to pressure you to decide about your pregnancy in a way you aren’t comfortable with, not even your partner or parents.

Step 5: Get Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Testing

Another step you may want to take is to get STI testing when you discover you’re pregnant regardless of your next steps. Since most STIs present without noticeable symptoms, the only way to know if you have an STI is to get tested.

Anyone sexually active can contract an STI. The CDC reports that approximately twenty million new STI cases occur every year, and half of those are among people aged fifteen to twenty-four [4].

If you continue your pregnancy and have an undiagnosed STI, it can result in complications for you, your pregnancy, and your child [5].

If you decide to end your pregnancy and have an abortion with an untreated STI, it can lead to serious health complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID is a serious infection that can jeopardize your future fertility.

Step 6: Take Care of Yourself

Coping with an unwanted pregnancy is stressful. Take care of yourself by getting plenty of rest, fluids, and healthy foods. Be sure you’re getting the emotional support you need and keep encouraging people around you who will affirm that you can do what is right for you.

Pregnancy Care Clinic Is Here for You

At Pregnancy Care Clinic, we understand the anxiety that accompanies an unwanted pregnancy, and we’re here for you. We are a real medical clinic with licensed healthcare professionals who care for you with skill and care. We will compassionately walk you through each step as you figure out what you will decide to do about your unplanned pregnancy.

We provide confidential pregnancy services to you at no cost. We offer pregnancy testing, limited pregnancy ultrasounds, education, STI testing, resources, and more. We believe in your ability to navigate this challenging season of life successfully.

Contact us today and get the support you deserve.