It’s no surprise that an unplanned pregnancy happens when you least expect it. If you’re sexually active, it can happen to you.
Unintended pregnancy is one you didn’t plan. A pregnancy can feel like it happened at the wrong time because you have other goals you want to achieve first, or it can feel entirely unwanted because you thought you were done having children or didn’t plan to have children.
An unintended pregnancy can cause quite a bit of anxiety if you don’t feel ready to be a parent.
You may also respond to an unplanned pregnancy with shock yet embrace the unexpected news.
There is no correct way to react to an unintended pregnancy.
But what is most important is that you decide what to do about an unintended pregnancy when you’re well-informed and calm rather than when you feel at the height of fearful emotions.
Becoming educated about pregnancy, options, and available resources will lead you to make a confident decision rather than one you might regret later.
Unplanned Pregnancy: Could It Happen to You?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 45% of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended. So, it happens frequently and can happen to you too.
An unintended pregnancy can occur anytime sperm has a chance to fertilize an egg. It happens if you have sex during ovulation without an adequate birth control method.
The most common cause for an unintended pregnancy is the failure of whatever type of contraception you’re using. Inadequate birth control includes things like:
- Not using any birth control.
- Using birth control incorrectly.
- Birth control failure (such as condom breaking).
It’s important to know that you can become pregnant the first time you ever have sex, and you can also become pregnant if you have only had sex one time. But you can reduce your chances of having an unintended pregnancy.
How You Can Prevent an Unintended Pregnancy
There are several ways you can prevent an unintended pregnancy. The most obvious is to refrain from having sex. But if you are sexually active, you can take steps to prevent a pregnancy you aren’t ready for.
Learn about your reproductive system
The more you know about your body’s reproductive system and how it works, the better. Several period-tracking apps, such as Clue, help predict when you’re ovulating and prevent an unplanned pregnancy.
Use birth control as directed by your health care provider
You can still be surprised by an unintended pregnancy, even if you use a birth control method exactly as directed. But, you will reduce the chances if it’s used correctly every time you have sex.
What Can You Do If You Think You’re Unexpectedly Pregnant?
If you think you might be unexpectedly pregnant, you may feel like panicking, and that’s understandable. Fortunately, compassionate support is available to help you successfully navigate each step of an unintended pregnancy.
Seek professional support
If you have loving friends or family who will support your pregnancy decision, that can be very helpful. Choose trustworthy people to confide in who will not pressure you for a particular decision.
Be sure also to seek professional support from healthcare professionals who are experienced in helping women who are unexpectedly pregnant. Their goal should be to empower you with accurate information that assists you in making an informed decision about your pregnancy.
One way to determine if you have found a medical clinic that will not subtly guide your decision is to find out if it financially benefits from your pregnancy decision in any way. Look for a no-cost clinic whose revenue is not impacted at all by the decision you make.
Your long-term health is vital to protect. Research reveals that women who feel pressured into their abortions are at higher risk of post-abortion stress syndrome (PASS). There are additional factors that also increase the chances of women struggling with difficult emotions after abortion.
To prevent PASS, a licensed healthcare professional will help you examine answers to the following critical questions as you decide what to do about an unintended:
- Do you have underlying psychological or emotional concerns?
- Do you feel pressured, coerced, or forced to have an abortion?
- Do you have religious beliefs that disagree with abortion?
- Do you have moral or ethical beliefs that disagree with abortion?
- Are you past your first trimester of pregnancy?
- Do you lack support from a partner, family, or friends?
Determine if your pregnancy is viable
Most women consider abortion when their pregnancies are unexpected. If you’re considering abortion, make a pre-abortion screening appointment at a no-cost medical clinic. At that appointment, they will:
- Give you a lab-grade pregnancy test to confirm your pregnancy.
- Give you a pre-abortion ultrasound to determine if your pregnancy is viable, how far along you are, and if you have a multiple pregnancy (twins), and if the pregnancy is located in the proper spot in the uterus.
- Provide pre-abortion sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing to protect your reproductive health.
- Provide education about each of your options so you can make an informed decision.
You have options, and an unbiased pregnancy clinic provides a safe place to explore them. They also understand how challenging it is to wrestle with such a difficult decision.
Your pregnancy options depend on your unique situation (such as how far along you are), and an options counselor will help you understand the details of each of them.
- Abortion: You will have an opportunity to learn about medical and surgical abortions and if abortion is an option you want to consider.
- Adoption: You may be surprised to learn about the various types of adoption. They include open, semi-open, and closed adoptions.
- Parenting: You will learn about available resources to assist you if you choose to parent.
Support Is Available From Trusted Professionals
If you have any questions or are considering abortion for an unexpected pregnancy, Willowbrook Women’s Center is here for you. We offer compassionate medical care exclusively for women who are experiencing an unintended pregnancy.
What does that mean for you? First, it means you will receive high-quality care from trusted professionals who are committed to helping you determine your best next steps after discovering an unplanned pregnancy.