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How to Handle a Pregnancy You Were Not Expecting

Updated on May 15, 2015

Exploring Your Options

No matter what your situation is: Young, old, poor, married, single, the first step of finding out your pregnant is deciding what to do. Be sure those double lines one the pregnancy test were accurate. Keep in mind missed periods can happen for reasons other than pregnancy; stress/major life changes, changes in health and diet, and certain medications. Once you're positive that it was positive, chances are that you will be faced with flooding emotions and thoughts, especially if it wasn't planned or unexpected. The first thing you should realize is this is your decision to make. This is your body, and a life you are choosing to give life to. Factors such as religion and how your family will react is going to try to plague and alter your mind and decision. But this is a life changing decision, and while certain options do have a time frame, don't jump to a rash decision without at least knowing your options first. Any decision you make is going to effect you for a very long time, so make sure you are informed and know what you really want, and at the end of the decision, make sure it's something you wanted can accept. The three options you know have are giving birth/raising the child, adoption, or abortion. Each has it's pros and cons and facts that are important to know that go along each of them. If it is super early on in your pregancy and you expect you may be pregnant, you can look into the day after pill, which will prevent the egg from being fertilized and is NOT an abortion pill, it is usually only effective up to 72 hours though.

Below is a chart showing your options along with facts and things to think about to help you choose what option is best for you.

Positive test result.
Positive test result. | Source

All About Your Options

Keeping The Baby
Age: Consider you're age. Are you at least 17? Are you mature enough to raise a child or are you still a child yourself?
Open Adoption: You can keep in touch with the baby, receive pictures, phone calls, possibly even visits. But would it be harder for you to be there for your child but only sometimes?
Religion: Most religions do NOT support abortions of any kind for any reason.
Virtues: Having a baby requires massive amounts of patience, confidence, willingness to sacrifice, and most importantly love.
Closed adoption: You have to be prepared to give your child away without any rights. Some moms find it easier. But can not be changed if you regret it down the road.
Cost: Most are not covered by health insurance, select few may be partially covered by donations. The cost of a first trimester abortion is $400 on average. It moves up to $1,000 or more for a later term abortion.
Habbits: You have to be willing to change your habits. Drinking and medications/drugs are a thing of the past.
Choosing a couple: Make sure you choose somebody that can give your baby everything you want it to have, that you are unable to provide for it.
Pain: Abortion is a surgery and like most surgeries it's accompanied by pain, bleeding, and recovery time.
Lifestlye: How you live in general will be different. Expect a healthier life stlye with plenty of Zzz's and more nutritious foods.
Give them a chance: Every human being deserves a chance in this world. It may be hard, but choosing life is easier than death for most.
Emotional struggle: Are you strong enough to handle an abortion and what it means? Getting rid of a life means you can never get it back. If you get it early enough, the fetus is not a developed human and will not feel or know what's going on. But you will, and may feel guilt or depression in the following weeks, months, even years.
Cost: On average it costs $300,000 to raise a baby.
It's a gift: You could give something beautiful to a woman that can't get pregnant on her own.
Time frame: Try to make a decision as early as possible, the sooner they are preformed the more smoothly they go.
Support: Do you have a husband or boyfriend? Good friends? Supportive family? Is this something you could do alone if not?
Support: Can you handle judgement from others that comes with giving your baby away?
At Home abortion methods: DO NOT attempt to try at home abortion methods. Most are very unsafe and can do long term damage to your body and may not even work. Hurting yourself should not be an option here.
It's not all bad: Being a mom teaches you a lot about yourself and allows you to relive the parts of your childhood that you miss.
Counseling: There are people out there to talk to and help you through adoption if it's what you choose. Try reading real life adoption stories online.

You want to keep the baby, but now what?

Choosing to keep a baby that wasn't planned takes a brave woman. You might still feel scared, and that's okay. Being a first time mom is scary even when you ARE completely ready to have one. A a first time mom, you might not know what to do first, but that's why the process is a learning experience. As the baby grows, you will too as a new mother to be.

In The first Few Months

  • Break the news. Once you get to the "safe" point, you're going to want to tell your friends and family sooner than later, you can't hide the news forever. If you have a boyfriend or husband, sit down in a quiet and appropriate atmosphere to talk to him about it. Don't text or use phone calls unless it's aunt that lives in a different state. It may be scary, but you are not alone. There are always going to be people out there that support you, and you may even be surprised at the love and support your family shows!
  • Go to your doctor. No time is too early to schedule an appointment with your family doctor. Even at the earliest stages they will be able to offer advice and tips on to what you should be doing or not doing. You may have to go off of certain medications, or start taking pre-natal vitamins. You'll want to let your doctor know all or any pre-existing health problems, or concerns. You can get answers to questions early and ease your concerns. The doctor is important to make sure you and your baby stay healthy and strong.
  • Do your research and get advice. Knowing what to do and not do during pregnancy will help you make the best decisions. Research anything you're not sure of such as how often to exercise, what symptoms are normal and how often to expect them, what life style changes you should be making, and anything else that crosses your mind. No question is stupid when dealing with a new life. Don't be scared to seek advice from your own parents, because they were once in your shoes. Talking to other moms will take some weight off your shoulders.

An example of a pregnancy journal. Every moment is precious.
An example of a pregnancy journal. Every moment is precious.

At The Half-Way Mark

  • Find out the gender and plan accordingly. Around 4 months, you're going to be surprised at how fast the baby is growing and how much your life has changed. Between 16-20 weeks, a sonogram can usually reveal the gender of your baby. Of course, you can always keep it a surprise, but planning in yellow and green can be a hassle. Once you know the gender you can start thinking of names, buying baby clothes and toys, preparing the nursery, and creating the perfect environment for your soon to be bundle of joy.
  • Mark the Moments. It's a fact of life we can't turn back time, so we have to make the best of it. You can never take too many pictures or videos. You can make blogs or videos about the pregnancy to share with the world, and keep for future memories. Consider making a baby journal and write down everything- from those weird cravings to the first time you felt the baby kick. Keep track of the baby bump, keep any papers you get from the doctors, and make it a special and memorable experience.
  • Financial Help. Do not panic if you don't have the best paying job or how you'll pay for their college 20 years down the road. Focus on one thing at a time. Money doesn't always make you a good mom, but you'll still want to make sure your baby is taken care of. There are many financial help programs for moms: Try signing up for welfare and cash assistance if you're low income, even if it's just for a while to give you a temporary boost. Buy baby supplies early on so the cost is more spread out. Buy a thing of diapers or bottles here and there and stock up, so when the time comes you don't suddenly have to make a $500 shopping trip. Make sure to plan a baby shower! It's so important because the extra help and gifts will really make a difference. Make a baby registry for all the things you need so you're not stuck buying them all yourself. Apply for WIC. WIC will pay for dairy products and baby food. You can apply as soon as you have proof of pregnancy and they don't deny very many people. Remember to keep your eyes and ears open a well; cheap yard sales, craigslist listings, and people getting rid of baby stuff they no longer need can become your treasure.

A Quick "Must Have" Checklist

Do you have or plan to get the following?
Fridge stocked with healthy foods
Baby Stroller
Baby Car seat
Plenty of diapers
Maternity clothing including breastfeeding bras
Baby Tub and bath supplies
Baby outfits including hats, mittens, socks, and onesies
A cradle or crib
Changing Station
Pregnancy Books
Dirty diaper bin
Ointment/ rash cream
Sun Hat
Baby hangers or extra dresser
Digital thermometer
Lullaby CDs
Baby Bouncer
Cotton Blankets
Mild laundry detergent

In The Final Months and Post Birth

  • Decide on the type of birth you want. Woman are no longer made to stay in the typical position of back on the bed with legs in the air. There are more practical and comfortable positions if you prefer. One option to think about is an at home water birth. It's natural, calming, you'll be surrounded by people that believe in you, the warm bathwater will help tension of muscles and pain, and it will be a more special experience. A mid wife will stand by to make sure the birth goes according to plan. Recommended if you had no prior problems, the baby is in the correct positioning, and the doctor gives you the okay to do it. Hospitals are better equipped to deal with complications and premature births. Decide whatever is best for you. Choose the two people you want to be in the room with you while you are having the baby. Some places allow more, but 2 is an ideal number to prevent overcrowding. At this point you should also have a definite name picked out along with what information to put on the birth certificate and the godparents picked out.
  • Prepare to Bond with your baby. Starting at the 6 month mark, there are ways to make you feel closer to your baby. Read or sing to them so they become familiar with your voice. Rubbing your tummy and doing some light stretches and exercise will help ease the actual childbirth. Playing soft music will help develop their sense of hearing. After your baby is born, the bonding experience never really stops. Bath time, massaging your baby, rocking them to sleep, and breastfeeding also act as bond between mother and child. Connecting to your baby from the start is important so you can maintain a close relationship with them while they grow, even into adulthood.
  • Creating a happy home. First of all, is your home now baby friendly? Before the baby comes back from the hospital you should make sure you have a safe, secure car seat for any travel time. Make sure your home has been thoroughly cleaned, rugs scrubbed, appliances dusted, and the baby's room has everything it needs. Make sure if you have pets that they are baby friendly. Cats sometimes get a little too friendly, just be cautious of cats laying on the baby or dogs trying to knock things down in the nursery. You can now do all the things you've been waiting for. You can take family pictures, capture your babies first moments of everything, have the endless visits with family and friends wanting to hold and touch him/her, take them for walks, whatever you want to do. This is your new life. Listen to your instincts and do what you think is best for your child. Be sure to feed them properly, make them feel loved and safe, and teach them right for wrong. Make a good example with everything you do, because they will learn based on what you teach them. Create a happy home and enjoy every day of the next 18 years (and even after that) even the tantrums. You don't have to be a perfect mom, just try your best everyday.

Amazing at Home Water Birth

How a Baby Develops

Pregnancy Poll

If you found out you were pregnant right now, what would you be most likely to choose?

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    • Deborah Demander profile image

      Deborah Demander 

      3 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      Thanks for writing this comprehensive and informative article.



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