If you were planning to get pregnant – congratulations! Head over to our section on pregnancy where you can find detailed information about what to expect.
For many people, though, pregnancy can come as a surprise. It’s easy to forget about the condom in the heat of the moment. Even if you use contraception perfectly, sometimes it just doesn’t work.
Either way, if you unintentionally get pregnant, you need to decide on what to do.
There are three options:
- You could keep the baby.
- You could deliver the baby and give it up for adoption, or to a family member.
- You could have the pregnancy terminated (an abortion).
Whatever you decide, you need to think carefully about the next steps. Talk to someone you trust. Someone who can give you advice and support; preferably an adult such as your mother, an aunt, a friend, your partner, or your doctor. Someone who won’t judge you for the choices you ultimately make. In the end, you’re the one who has to make the decision.
It’s always best to talk your decision through with someone you trust. The surer you are of your decision, the better you will feel afterwards. Make sure you are the one who makes the final decision and do not settle for anything less. Don’t let anyone pressure you into a decision you don’t feel comfortable with.
Keep the baby
You could decide to keep the baby. This means thinking about the future:
what will you have to put into place to ensure you can take care of a dependent?
- Do you have a plan and a social support system for instance from the baby’s father, or from family?
- What are the short-, mid-, and long-term implications for your life and plans?
- What about your education and career?
- Will you have enough support – from the baby’s father, or your family?
- Will you have enough resources to live on?
- If you have a partner, what do they think?
- Do they want to keep the child?
- How many children do you have already?
- Is it safe to have another?
- Is the foetus healthy?
- Are you healthy?
- And the most important question: do you want this child?
Give the baby up for adoption
You could also have the baby adopted. Again, you need to think carefully, considering all your options. If you decide to take this option, how will you find someone to adopt your child?
You could contact an official adoption agency and have your child safely and legally adopted through the state. They will then take you through the process and explain what happens in adoption cases. They will ask you to sign a consent form and arrange a suitable plan for how you can get the baby to them once it is born. In most cases, adoption centres can make arrangements for you to leave the baby at the hospital, where they will collect it.
If you’re still very young and you live with your family, it helps if you can be honest with your parents. As a minor, you may be limited in some of the options you can consider. They may want to help raise the child or, if not, perhaps they can help you decide what to do. If it’s difficult to tell them, perhaps another family member or family friend could help you break the news.
Under no circumstances should you just abandon a child. Doing this is illegal and it is always better to leave a child with a hospital, adoption agency, or church, so the child can be taken care of.
End the pregnancy
The third option is to have an abortion. Like the others, this is not an easy decision to make, and you may need some time to think it over. But don’t let anyone choose for you. This is about you, your body, and your choices, so in the end, you have to decide for yourself. Read more about the different types of abortions.
There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. You should decide what feels right for you. If you’re really struggling, try talking through your options with someone you trust.