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Unplanned Pregnancy

Last updated on Thursday, September 5, 2013

Overview

Many women would eventually like to settle down with families of their own and the prospect of raising children, but as young adults who lead increasingly busy and aspiring lives, we often cannot imagine getting pregnant. This applies not just to college students but also to women of all ages who are not yet fully ready to have and care for children. However, almost half of all pregnancies (gestations) in the United States are unplanned, which can admittedly be an extremely overwhelming experience. Nevertheless, there are many options and resources available to guide one in choosing the best option during such a difficult time.

If you believe that you may be pregnant, you can first confirm the pregnancy by taking a pregnancy test, ideally from a health care provider to ensure accuracy. There are three options to consider for an unplanned pregnancy: abortion, adoption, or parenting. Be sure to thoroughly learn about all the choices and weigh the pros and cons to make the right decision for you. It is important to consult your partner, a family member, or a friend who can support you through the process. Family planning clinics like Planned Parenthood can also help you explore your options.

Abortion

Abortion is frequently considered an option for women who are not yet ready to become a mother due to issues such as money, school, work, age, health problems, or being a victim of rape. Ask yourself if you are prepared to become a parent and if you can afford a child, and examine your view on abortion before deciding. There are two common abortion methods: abortion pills or in-clinic abortion (which is the only option after the first trimester).

Many are familiar with the levonorgestrel emergency contraceptives Next Choice and Plan B, which are used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or birth control failure. They must be taken within 72 hours of exposure. Timing is vital, so be sure to follow labeled directions or a physician's instructions. They are not effective for pregnancies that have already begun.

Abortion pills have a 97% success rate of terminating pregnancies up to the first seven to nine weeks. Mifepristone, methotrexate, and misoprostol are commonly used for this purpose. In-clinic abortions are necessary for pregnancies past the first nine weeks; the means include suction/vacuum aspiration, dilation and curettage, dilation and evacuation, or induction abortion.

Adoption and Parenting

Adoption is an option for those who prefer not to receive an abortion but still do not wish to become parents themselves. In such a case, they can give birth and have someone else raise the child in a permanent, legal agreement. There are two types of adoption: an open adoption, in which the birth parent and adoptive family remain in contact, allowing the biological mother to choose the family for her child with rights to visit; or a closed adoption, where the birth mother and adoptive family have no relations. Consult an adoption counselor or lawyer for more details.

The third option is parenting, one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences in life. Be aware that you have to be ready to make sacrifices and plan out your life around the child. Issues such as financial stability, having a partner, and living arrangements must be considered in detail. However, you can learn to guide, support, and provide for another human being as he or she grows up in your care. The love and bond shared between a parent and his or her child may help both of you develop a better understanding of each other and yourselves.

Tags: abortionadoptionchildrenfamily planningparentingpregnancy

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