Unplanned pregnancy – considering your options

Many women who are faced with an unplanned pregnancy find it hard to make a decision about what to do. This information is not intended to encourage you to make any particular decision. Instead it offers ideas that have been helpful to other women in making the decision that was right for them.

Every woman with an unplanned pregnancy faces her own particular circumstances. However, each woman also has some things in common with other women who are facing the same decision. We hope these ideas may help you become clearer about your own thoughts and feelings.

unplanned pregnancy

How do you feel about being pregnant? An unintended pregnancy can arouse many different feelings. In fact, most women find they have mixed or conflicting feelings. For example, you might feel: Worried about being able to cope with a baby. Afraid you’ll have to give up other things that are important to you. Concerned about how other people may react. At the same time you might feel:

  • Happy to learn that you can get pregnant
  • Pleased to have the opportunity to have a baby
  • Excited by a new and unique event in your life

Write down a list of the different feelings you have at the moment about being pregnant. (When you can’t think of any more, go on to the next section. Later, if you think of other feelings, you can add them to your list.)

Here are some useful questions to ask yourself about your life at the moment and your future.
  • What are your plans and hopes for the future?
  • What are two or three things that matter most to me in your life at the moment?
  • What are two or three things that you hope to have or achieve in the next five or ten years?
In order to have or achieve those things:
  • How would having a baby help?
  • How would adoption help?
  • How would abortion help?
What would I lose or give up at the moment?
  • If I have the baby?
  • If I put the baby up for adoption?
  • If I have an abortion?
What would I lose or give up in the next five or ten years?
  • If I have the baby?
  • If I put the baby up for adoption?
  • If I have an abortion?
How would other people who matter to me, (such as my partner, parents, friends) react:
  • If I have the baby?
  • If I put the baby up for adoption?
  • If I have an abortion?

What are your values and what do you believe? Up to this point, you’ve been looking at the possible effects of different decisions on your plans for the future. Now look at your thoughts, values, and beliefs about your situation and the different choices.

Here are some statements people often make. Write down the ones that fit for you, and any other thoughts you have.


Choice 2: Having a baby and putting it up for Adoption

  • “I could continue the pregnancy and give birth, without having to bring up the child.”
  • “I could help the child have parents who want it and can care for it.”
  • “I could postpone being a parent myself until later in my life when I feel ready.”
  • “I like the idea of giving someone else the baby they can’t create themselves.”
  • “I don’t think I could give up the baby after nine months of pregnancy and giving birth.”
  • “I would not like living with the idea that someone else has my baby.”
  • “I would worry about whether the baby was being well treated.”
  • “My family would rather have the baby stay in the family than go to strangers.

Choice 3: Having an Abortion

  • “I really don’t want to be pregnant”
  • “I would like to postpone being a parent until my situation. is better (Older, finished university, more financially secure, in a stable relationship).”
  • “I don’t want to be a single parent.”
  • “My partner doesn’t want a baby, and I want to consider his feelings.”
  • “An abortion is a safe and sensible way to deal with an unplanned pregnancy.”
  • “My religious beliefs are against abortion.”
  • “I am afraid I might not be able to get pregnant again.”
  • “My family (or someone else that is important to me) opposes abortion.”

Summing up your feelings

If you have mixed feelings about being pregnant and about each of the choices open to you, making a decision can be difficult and frightening. In making your decision, it is helpful to be clear about your feelings by listing them and then exploring them. To show how you are feeling at the moment, try to finish each of these sentences.

  • “The idea of having a baby makes me feel ……because…..
  • “The idea of placing a baby for adoption makes me feel……because…..
  • “The idea of having an abortion makes me feel…..because….

Now that you have explored your choices, and clarified your feelings and values about the choices, you may be ready to make a decision.

Because you probably have conflicting feelings about each choice, you may find that whatever decision you make won’t feel like the “perfect” decision. It is natural to continue to have some mixed feelings. Ask yourself, “Can I live with those feelings?” If your answer is “Yes,” you are ready to act on your decision.

If you cannot decide, you may need to get more information about your choices or talk with someone you trust – not to decide for YOU, but to help you decide what you think will be best for you. That person could be a parent or other family member, a close friend or partner who cares about you. The questions here might help you and that person discuss your choices.

Try not to put off making your decision. If you decide to continue the pregnancy, it is important to begin antenatal care early so you and your baby are healthy. If you decide on abortion, the earlier you obtain it, the easier and safer it will be.

No one can predict the future. No one can be certain what all of the consequences of any choice may be. But what you can do is carefully consider your plans, your values, and your feelings, and then make the best decision for you at the time.


Do you need more information?

The University Medical Centre has information about abortion, adoption, antenatal care, childbirth, and parenting.