The First Steps to Handle an Unexpected Pregnancy

What is more overwhelming than looking at an unexpected positive pregnancy test? Not much. One look at a little word or line, and your world seems to have changed in a matter of minutes. It feels like a million questions are invading your mind from wondering how it happened to what you should do next. It can feel paralyzing. So, where do you start?

You start by staying calm and taking one step at a time.

Take the First Step: Get the Support You Need

It is normal to feel anxious and emotional right now; these are unchartered waters for you. It’s overwhelming to imagine scenarios down the road that may never happen, so be gentle with yourself and start with only the first step, Take a deep breath and focus on what you need to do, which is to make an appointment to get the support you need.

The key is to be sure to make your appointment where you can get accurate information and unbiased support that will empower you to make the best decision for you — without judgment.

Verify Your Pregnancy

It’s essential to verify your pregnancy. At your appointment, your pregnancy will be verified with another pregnancy test. Home pregnancy tests claim to be 99% accurate; however, false-negative results and false-positive results do occur [1].

False-negative results (a negative pregnancy test when you really are pregnant) are the most common. You can get a false negative result if you test too early or if your urine is diluted from drinking fluids. Less common are false-positive results. Those may happen when there are hormone problems, an ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy outside of the uterus), or a biochemical pregnancy (a miscarriage shortly after implantation in the uterus).

Once your pregnancy is verified, the next step is to have an ultrasound to determine viability and date your pregnancy (depending on how far along you are).

Find Out if Your Pregnancy Is Viable

As many as 20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage, so it’s essential to know if your pregnancy is indeed viable. A viable pregnancy is one that is expected to carry to term. In contrast, a nonviable pregnancy has no chance of survival [2].  A pregnancy test simply tells you that the pregnancy hormone, hCG, is present in your urine, but an ultrasound will tell you if the pregnancy is viable.

An ultrasound will also tell you if the pregnancy is in the uterus. If it is in the fallopian tubes rather than the uterus (ectopic pregnancy) [3], it can be life-threatening and needs emergency treatment.

Know Your Pregnancy Dates

An ultrasound also lets you know how far along your pregnancy is. This is crucial information because it will influence your options. If you are considering abortion, different procedures are available during various stages of pregnancy. An ultrasound is an accurate way to measure pregnancy dates.

After your pregnancy is confirmed as viable by ultrasound, the next step is to examine your unexpected pregnancy options.

Examine Your Unexpected Pregnancy Options

Deciding what do to with an unexpected pregnancy might be the most gut-wrenching decision you’ve ever made. It’s crucial that you receive accurate and unbiased information about all your options so you can make an informed decision.

It’s helpful to get support from loved ones, but keep in mind that despite their love for you, their advice can be influenced because they are so close to you.

You have three pregnancy options to weigh carefully, which include abortion, adoption, and parenting.

  • Abortion: Induced abortion is the process of ending the pregnancy. There are medical abortions and surgical abortions.

Medical abortions involve taking medication to induce an abortion that happens at home. People often refer to this process as “the abortion pill,” but it actually consists of taking two different medications and five pills. A woman can usually have a medical abortion up to ten weeks (70 days) since her last menstrual cycle.

A surgical abortion is performed after ten weeks. There are two types of surgical abortions: aspiration, and dilation and evacuation (D&E). A clinic physician decides which one is best, depending on your pregnancy dates.

  • Adoption: If you aren’t ready to be a parent, but abortion isn’t an option you’re comfortable choosing, adoption can be a perfect choice. There are thousands of loving families who are in a position to provide the care you aren’t ready to give at this time in your life.

You, as the birth parent, can choose the adoptive family as well as how open or closed you want the adoption to be. This can range from you being an integral part of your child’s life to no contact at all as well as every scenario you can imagine in-between.

  • Parenting: Your third option is to continue your pregnancy and become a parent. There are many local and government programs to help women with their unexpected pregnancies such as, continuing their education, job placement, and parenting.

You’re facing a big decision, and trained advocates can help you sort through the aspects of each option in a safe and judgment-free environment. Approximately half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, so you aren’t alone. You can do it!

After you have had your pregnancy confirmed to be viable by ultrasound and examined your options, your next step is to get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Get STI Testing

Whether you’ve decided to continue your pregnancy or not, STI testing is critical. The most common STIs are often symptomless, and if you have an abortion with an untreated STI, you can suffer pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and long-term consequences, including pain and infertility.

STI testing uses various methods of obtaining specimins. Blood draw, finger stick, urine, and swab are used depending on requirement for the various STI’s. Medications for each type of STI vary but most are curable or managed with the proper treatment. [4]

We Can Help You Each Step of the Way

At Pregnancy Care Clinic, we understand all the intricate facets of the difficult choices you’re facing, and our caring, licensed team of professionals are here to help you walk through each step of your unexpected pregnancy. If you’re ready to take the first step, contact us today!

We are open to serve you during the COVID-19 crisis.

 

[1] Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Home pregnancy tests: Can you trust the results? Retrieved July 19, 2019 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/home-pregnancy-tests/art-20047940

[2] Danielsson, Krissi. (2020, April 20). How a Viable or Nonviable Pregnancy Is Diagnosed. Retrieved on May 17, 2020 from https://www.verywellfamily.com/viable-pregnancy-viability-2371666

[3] WebMD. (n.d.). What to know about ectopic pregnancy. Retrieved July 19, 2019 from https://www.webmd.com/baby/pregnancy-ectopic-pregnancy#1

[4] Family Doctor. (2019, April 25) Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) Retrieved May 27, 2020 from https://familydoctor.org/condition/sexually-transmitted-infections-stis/