Life can come with many surprises, including an unexpected pregnancy. This can be shocking and cause a flood of emotions, but there’s no reason to panic. Unexpected pregnancies are more common than you’d think. So, if having a baby wasn’t in your plan, just know that you are not alone. We here at Pickles & Ice Cream Georgia® are here to help you figure out your next steps, find resources, and empower you to make the best decision.
Unexpected Pregnancy is Not Uncommon
Unexpected or unintended pregnancies are common. In fact, almost half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned.
You may feel anxious or scared because you don’t know how to be a parent, or joyful because this is something you have always dreamed about — and all these feelings are okay. We encourage you to take a moment to pause, breathe, and gather your thoughts.
Find Prenatal Care
While weighing all your pregnancy choices, it is crucial to continue taking care of yourself. Some healthy habits to adopt include:
- Avoid alcohol
- Stop smoking cigarettes
- Staying away from drugs
- Take a multivitamin or prenatal vitamin with 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid every day
- Eat healthy
- Get plenty of rest
It is essential to schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider, who will confirm the pregnancy and offer prenatal care. This appointment will also allow you to ask questions and get resources. Your local family planning centers have counselors that can guide you through emotional, financial, and daily challenges.
Understand Your Options
Once your pregnancy is confirmed, carefully consider your choices:
Continuing with your pregnancy and raising your child: Parenting can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life, but it can be challenging and may require you to adjust your goals. Being informed and having support can help a lot! Lean on trusted friends or family for encouragement and support. If you feel prepared to take on this new journey, you can find much more information about pregnancy and postpartum here on our Pickles & Ice Cream Georgia® website.
Continuing with your pregnancy followed by adoption or alternative care: Many pregnant people choose adoption or alternative care (like having your family raise your baby or placing your baby into foster care) when faced with an unexpected pregnancy. About 2.1 million children in the United States are adopted. Some pregnant people are not ready to parent, while others can’t afford to raise a child. Consider talking to a family member willing to adopt your baby. You can also speak with an adoption professional like a social worker, lawyer, or an adoption agency to find the best family for your baby.
Terminating your pregnancy: Currently, abortion is legal in Georgia. However, it is restricted by a law passed in 2019, which bans abortion around 6 weeks of pregnancy. How far along you are in your pregnancy can be determined by a healthcare professional. The law does not criminalize miscarriages or stillbirths.
Other exceptions to the 6-week law exist. This includes;
- Ectopic pregnancies
- To save the pregnant person’s life
- To prevent serious risk to the pregnant person’s physical health
- If the fetus is not expected to survive the pregnancy
- If the pregnancy is the result of rape and/or incest
*Be sure to talk to your provider about the latest information on abortion because there continues to be changes and updates.*
Your partner’s role
An unexpected pregnancy can be stressful, and having an unsupportive partner can be even more stressful. Just remember that no one should pressure you into making any decision, no matter what. You are the only person who can refuse or consent to an abortion-your body, your choice. If you are considering adoption, you and your partner must consent. Consider attending counseling together to help with communication, support, and guidance.
Making the decision
With any decision, there are many things to consider, but taking the time you need is essential. Explore all your options and be kind to yourself; it is okay to change your mind. Talk to someone you trust, like a doctor or counselor, to help you find the resources to support your decision. Finally, take care of your mental, physical, and emotional health during this stressful time.
Best decision for you
Making a choice about your unexpected pregnancy might be one of the most challenging things you will ever do. By asking questions, exploring your pregnancy options, and gathering information, you will make the best decision for your future.
Blog Writer: Janelle King, MPH, BSN, RN
Blog Reviewer: Leslie Catalano, MSN, LEC
- American Academy of Pediatrics, Let’s Talk About Abortion, 2020
- American Academy of Pediatrics, Pediatrician Guidance in Supporting Families of Children Who Are Adopted, Fostered, or in Kinship Care, 2020
- American Family Physicians, Options for women with Unintended Pregnancy, 2015
- Living Infant Fairness & Equality (LIFE) Act, 2019
- National Library of Medicine, Abortion- Medical, 2020
- Office of Women’s Health, Prenatal Care, 2021
- Planned Parenthood, Pregnancy Options, 2022The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist, Abortion Care, 2022