Pregnancy Options

Your Pregnancy Test Is Positive…

 

Unplanned pregnancy is experienced by many women in many different situations. It can happen to any sexually active woman during her child-bearing years, and even to women who are using contraception.  It is important to take time to learn about your options so that you can make an informed decision about what to do next.

You are the only one who can decide, regardless of the pressure you may feel from your family and friends, from your partner, from people at school, from co-workers, or in social circumstances. There are several options for you to consider. This handout will help you better understand your options and provide you with referral information.

Whatever decision you make, there are strong emotions involved in the decision-making process.  Some women and/or their partners may find it helpful to discuss these emotions with a counselor in our Counseling Center.  You can schedule an appointment with a counselor by calling 919-515-2423.

THE DECISION IS YOURS:

No matter what your decision will be, think about how it is going to impact your life now and in the future:

  • How do you feel about becoming a parent? Are you ready to raise a child? How will you provide for yourself and a baby?
  • How do you feel about abortion?
  • How do you feel about adoption?
  • Consider the relationships you have with the people involved: your partner, your parents, and your closest friends. Will you have the support and help you need?
  • Stick to your own beliefs and personal feelings.

To help with your decision, visit the online Pregnancy Options Workbook. Another resource is

Planned Parenthood (800.230.PLAN) which offers information on all options.

YOUR OPTIONS:

The following pages will discuss your options one at a time:

  • Continuing the pregnancy and raising a child.
  • Ending the pregnancy with an abortion.
  • Continuing the pregnancy and making an adoption plan.

While you are in the process of making your decision, please take care of yourself.

THE DECISION PERIOD:

While you are in the “waiting period”, deciding whether you will:

  • continue the pregnancy and raise a child
  • continue the pregnancy and make an adoption plan
  • end the pregnancy by having an abortion

There are some important things you need to know about pregnancy. You need to take care of yourself and the pregnancy NOW, regardless of your decision.

First, make sure you are taking a women’s multi-vitamin or prenatal vitamin, with at least 400 mcg of folic acid. Either is available without a prescription at drug stores, grocery stores, etc.

There are certain things you should AVOID, including:

  • Alcohol, drugs, tobacco products (including second-hand smoke)
  • Caffeine
  • Saccharine (Sweet N’ Low, Nutrasweet)
  • Douching
  • Hot tubs/saunas for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy
  • Perming and hair coloring for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy
  • Raw or under-cooked animal foods
  • Sushi, raw oysters, under-cooked eggs
  • Feta, brie, blue cheeses (cheeses labeled as made with pasteurized milk are okay)
  • Shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish
  • LIMIT tuna fish to one serving per week
  • If you have a cat, do NOT change the cat litter. Ask for help!

Be sure to check with your doctor about any prescription drugs you are taking (such as medication for allergies, asthma, or other medical conditions).

Remember to:

  • Eat healthy
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink plenty of fluids, including water
  • Avoid activity that may be prone to injury, such as horseback riding and kick boxing, but you may otherwise continue to follow your normal exercise routine.

RAISING A CHILD – QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

  • Am I ready to have and raise a child? How will a child change my life? Am I mature enough to help a child grow up healthy and strong?
  • How will I finish school? How does this affect my future plans?
  • Do I have enough money to raise a child? Can I go to school or will I need a job to support the baby and myself?
  • What will I do for child care while I work or go to school?
  • Who will help me raise the baby?
  • Where will we live?
  • Will the father live with us? If not, how do I feel about being a single parent?

If you decide to continue the pregnancy and become a mother, you have decided that doing your best for your baby is the most important job in your life. A healthy and safe child is your first priority from now on.

You will need to schedule an appointment for prenatal care, which is the first step in having a healthy baby. It includes a series of doctor appointments, exams, blood tests and ultrasounds to make sure that you stay in good health throughout the pregnancy, and that your baby can be healthy too. Take the time you need to learn everything you can about pregnancy, labor, birth and parenting. There are many obstetricians and nurse midwives in the Triangle area; Women’s Health at Student Health Services can provide contact information for obstetrical services.

Here are some numbers you can call:

Crisis pregnancy centers often offer free pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, and information. Some may even provide clothing and other baby items. These centers are usually not supportive of abortion but may have information on parenting and adoption. If you are definitely not considering abortion, they might able to meet some of your needs.

ADOPTION – QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

  • Could I carry this pregnancy to the end and then place the baby for adoption?
  • How will I feel during the pregnancy and adoption process?
  • What will I do for school and/or work while I am pregnant? How does the father of the baby feel about this?
  • Where will I live while I’m pregnant?
  • How do I feel about someone else raising the child? Could another family give this child emotional support and opportunities that I cannot? Would I want to meet the parents?
  • Which kind of adoption would be best for me?

Considering adoption can often be a difficult decision for many women. Only you can decide if you are able to carry a pregnancy and then give the baby to a family who wants to adopt a child. A supportive relative or friend, or an adoption counselor or attorney, may be able to help you while you are making your adoption plan.

Adoption choices:

Closed adoption means that there is no contact at all between the birthmother and the adoptive parents, and no identifying information is exchanged. Agencies handling these adoptions may pass correspondence between the two parties before or after the adoption, but they will not give out any contact information to either party.

Open adoption offers a wide variety of contact choices, but the basic understanding is that there is open communication between the birth mother and the adoptive parents, both before and after the birth. Open adoption can include the exchange of letters and photos; face-to-face, first-names-only meetings; sharing full-identifying information; and having access on an ongoing basis. The type of communication or contact and the frequency of their communications are worked out between the birth mother and the adoptive parents.

Semi-open adoptions are conducted by social service adoption agencies, which may allow adoptive parents and birth mothers to meet one time prior to the adoption; however, there may be rules denying the exchange of identifying information or any direct communication after the adoption.

To learn more about adoption and your choices, here are some organizations to contact:

Don’t forget to take your prenatal vitamins and eat well; avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and other drugs; and get plenty of sleep, exercise, and early prenatal care.

ABORTION – QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

  • Am I ready to have and raise a child? How will a child change my life? Am I mature enough to help a child grow up healthy and strong?
  • What are my beliefs about abortion? Is abortion the right choice for me?
  • What are my feelings likely to be in 1 year? 5 years?
  • Are there people who will support me and my decision?
  • Which type of abortion would be best for me?

The earlier you decide about abortion, the safer and easier it is for you. You have a right to a safe and legal abortion as an alternative to pregnancy. Always go to an accredited physician and clinic. NEVER use an Internet kit, as they are dangerous.

You can get pregnant after having an abortion. Even if you don’t expect to be sexually active, choose a form of contraception to use after the procedure. Women’s Health at Student Health Services is happy to provide contraception counseling.

Procedures:

First Trimester (up through week 13 of pregnancy)

These are the easiest and safest to perform. Patients may choose a surgical or medical option. The surgical method consists of medicine to soften the cervix and a gentle suction, which extracts the pregnancy. Medical abortion uses pills to remove the pregnancy tissue from the uterus. This method is similar to a miscarriage. Patients then go home and take more pills 24-72 hours later that help the uterus naturally push the uterine contents out.

Second and Third Trimester (after week 13 of pregnancy)

These procedures are also used in the remaining trimesters along with labor induction. The further along a pregnancy is, the more difficult the abortion procedures become. So, making a decision earlier is better.

Financial Considerations:

Fees vary with all clinics but generally range from $350 for an abortion during the first trimester to $2000 or more for pregnancies after thirteen weeks. Some clinics have financial aid, reduced prices for students and other groups, as well as payment planning options. When calling a clinic, ask about these options and schedule an initial visit as soon as possible. Remember to ask about insurance coverage for the procedure.

For information about abortion:

Local Providers of Abortion Services:

  • A Preferred Women’s Health Center (Raleigh) 919-854-7888
  • A Woman’s Choice of Raleigh 919-781-6811
  • Planned Parenthood (Chapel Hill) 919-942-7762
  • UNC Women’s Options Clinic (Chapel Hill) 919-843-5633
  • Eastowne OB/GYN (Chapel Hill) 919-493-8466

This document was originally published by Wake Teen Services. It has been modified with updated information.