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Making decisions about unplanned pregnancies

3-minute read

A number of things might affect the decision you make about an unplanned pregnancy. If you are unsure of what to do, you are not alone. While some women know what they want from the outset, others can find the decision-making process difficult.

An unplanned pregnancy can raise different and sometimes confusing feelings and thoughts. This is very normal and most women experience this.

Your feelings can seem confusing as they often conflict with each other. For example, you may feel:

  • anxious as you consider having a baby (or another baby)
  • scared because you don’t know how to be a parent
  • concerned if your current relationship is not stable
  • joy because this is something you have always dreamed about
  • excited as this may be a new opportunity for you

Even though these feelings seem to be in conflict with each other, they are all important to work through.

First steps in making this decision

As well as your feelings, there are many things to consider when making a decision and this can often add to this stressful time. Some things that might help you are:

  • Don’t rush your decision (but remember that some options are influenced by how many weeks pregnant you are).
  • Give yourself permission to explore and think about all your options.
  • Be kind to yourself — you will feel differently about your options and decision day to day.
  • Find as much information about what you need to support your decision (such as what support networks are available to you).
  • Ensure you look after yourself physically and emotionally.

It is important that you take the time you need to make the best decision for you at this point in your life.

What options do you need to think about?

There are three options to consider with an unplanned pregnancy:

  1. Continuing with the pregnancy and raising the child.
  2. Continuing with the pregnancy, adoption or alternative care.
  3. Terminating the pregnancy, otherwise known as an abortion.

At this stage it can be helpful to talk to someone you know and trust. Many people find it is useful to speak to a professional. If you feel you need someone else to talk to, counsellors can help you work through the emotional, financial and practical issues involved with all of the options available to you.

Information for men

It is up to you how you will involve the father in the decision-making process and this will be affected by the current circumstances of the relationship.

You may want to attend counselling together or he may want to talk to someone to discuss his own feelings about the pregnancy. The counsellors at Pregnancy, Birth and Baby are available for all members of your family to talk to.

Other decision-making tools

Other support services available

Where to get help

The Pregnancy, Birth and Baby maternal child health nurses are there to support and guide you. The service is available 7 days a week.

If you would like to talk to our nurses about your pregnancy or find out more about your pregnancy options, call 1800 882 436.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: November 2019

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Need more information?

Yarning About Pregnancy Options | Family Planning NSW

This resource was designed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who have an unplanned pregnancy and are unsure of what to do. This culturally safe booklet uses a friendly conversational style and includes information about the options available, issues to consider, where to go for support and tools to assist decision-making.

Read more on Family Planning NSW website

Counselling before and after an abortion

Counselling before and after an abortion can help you to feel supported and empowered to make the right decision for you.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Information for Parents and Carers RFFADA

Information for Parents and Carers Drug and alcohol referral Sometimes drug and alcohol issues for people with FASD can not only take on a life of their own but can also create many other issues

Read more on rffada – Russell Family Fetal Alcohol Disorders Association website

Call us and speak to a Maternal Child Health Nurse for personal advice and guidance.

Need further advice or guidance from our maternal child health nurses?

This information is for your general information and use only and is not intended to be used as medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes.

The information is not a substitute for independent professional advice and should not be used as an alternative to professional health care. If you have a particular medical problem, please consult a healthcare professional.

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