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Dealing with Unplanned Pregnancy: Coping, Next Steps and Pregnancy Options

We find comfort in routine. People like having plans, and they like when those plans work out. From the earliest stages of our development, it has been observed that unexpected transitions can create extreme tension, confusion and anxiety. And there may be no more unexpected, surprising and challenging change in life than an unplanned pregnancy.

This was not in the plans. No matter where you find yourself in life, dealing with unplanned pregnancy can be a serious challenge. If you’re trying to figure out how to cope with unplanned pregnancy right now, you probably feel overwhelmed. You probably have so many questions and emotions — how in the world can you respond to all of this?

Take a deep breath. We’re not here to tell you that coming to grips with unplanned pregnancy will be easy. But, it is possible, and this guide can help.

From the practical steps you need to take, to the emotional processing that will be required, to the unplanned pregnancy options that can bring a sense of control back into your life, this guide will go through the most important information to help you figure out the best way to deal with an unwanted pregnancy.

Before we get started, you should know that reaching out for professional guidance can be an incredibly positive step in the right direction. You can contact us at any time to be connected with a knowledgeable adoption professional.

Now, let’s talk about dealing with unplanned pregnancy.

The First Steps for Dealing with News of Unplanned Pregnancy

We’ll say it again: Take a deep breath. Dealing with news of an unplanned pregnancy can be emotionally shocking. Collect yourself before moving immediately into problem-solving mode.

Then, take care of yourself physically. Coping with unplanned pregnancy takes many forms, and it will take some time. Right from the start, it’s important to do what’s necessary to protect your health. That means scheduling a doctor’s appointment to confirm the pregnancy and discussing next steps with a medical professional as you determine what the best unplanned pregnancy option will be for you.

Once you know you have done what’s necessary to protect your body, you can move into emotionally dealing with an unwanted pregnancy.

How to Cope with Unplanned Pregnancy

This can be an emotionally turbulent experience, and the way you deal with unplanned pregnancy will be different from anyone else. Millions of women experience unplanned pregnancies each year, and each brings their own unique circumstances to the pregnancy. The range of possible emotions runs from joy to terror, and everything in between.

We wish we could give you the specific answers for how you can deal with your situation and cope with unplanned pregnancy. But with all of the nuances involved, we can’t do that. What we can do is outline several steps that many women have found helpful. Then, we can look at your unplanned pregnancy options.

First, let’s look at three concrete steps you can take to handle unplanned pregnancy.

Step 1: Accept Your Emotions and Your Situation

We want to be clear upfront that “accept” does not mean, “be happy about.” There will be stages of coping with unexpected pregnancy that could involve intense sadness, anxiety or fear. When we say, “accept,” we mean give yourself the space to work through all of the things you are feeling, rather than deny the feelings.

Similarly, raging against the reality of the pregnancy may be a natural response to an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy. But, now that the pregnancy is here, it’s not especially helpful.

There’s no “right” way of dealing with unexpected pregnancy. However you respond, accept that it is okay to feel whatever you are feeling. Shame or guilt about your emotions — which then heaps on top of the emotions themselves to create additional problems — will only make things more difficult.

Step 2: Find Support

Do you have trusted family, friends, neighbors or other figures in your community, like pastors or teachers? “Getting over” an unplanned pregnancy can be easier when you have someone to talk to.

Before going to just anyone, decide what your boundaries are. Who do you really trust, and how much would you like to share with them? Are you interested in advice about your unplanned pregnancy options, or simply support and encouragement?

Try to be clear with the people you go to about what you need. For example, you could say, “I’m not interested in advice, but I just need someone to listen.” The people who love you will respect and understand your boundaries.

Step 3: Reach Out to Professionals

Personal support goes a long way, and so does professional guidance. Coping with unwanted pregnancy is something most of us aren’t equipped to handle alone. You can turn to people who have made it their life’s work to help women in a situation like yours.

Counselors and therapists can be an important resource for emotional and mental health. Doctors will make sure you are physically cared for, while adoption specialists and abortion providers can give guidance on what comes next.

The bottom line: You don’t have to do this alone. Dealing with unplanned pregnancy isn’t quite as hard when you find the support you need.

How to Handle Unwanted Pregnancy: Your Options

Coming to grips with unplanned pregnancy is one thing; figuring out how to deal with unwanted pregnancy is another. While working through the process of sorting out your feelings and finding support, you may also want to begin planning next steps. This means learning more about your unplanned pregnancy options and choosing the one that will be best for you.

To get started, let’s look at the ways a woman can react to unplanned pregnancy. These are specifically options for unwanted pregnancy. If you decide that parenting is a possible response to your unplanned pregnancy, then that’s amazing!

However, many women know that parenting won’t work for dealing with unwanted pregnancy. If that’s you, then let’s go over what could be possible. We’ll explain a bit about each and how to learn more.


Many women find that the best way to deal with unwanted pregnancy in their life is abortion. This medical procedure brings an end to pregnancy through removal of pregnancy tissue or, if further along, removal of the fetus.

Could abortion be your reaction to unplanned pregnancy? That depends on a variety of factors. The emotional aspects of abortion shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s important to be sure this is right for you. Additionally, how far along you are in your pregnancy and your state’s abortion laws will be deciding factors. Some states have restricted access to abortion services, making it more difficult to choose this way of dealing with unwanted pregnancy.

Look up your state’s abortion laws to find out if this procedure could be possible for you, and contact your state’s Planned Parenthood office to speak with an abortion service provider.


Adoption can be a beautiful journey, making the most of unplanned pregnancy by creating a better future for yourself, your child and an adoptive family. This way of dealing with unwanted pregnancy has its challenges, but it can also be very rewarding.

To create an adoption plan, you’ll need to work with an adoption agency. Agencies’ services are always free of charge to prospective birth mothers. In addition, most prospective birth mothers will receive adoption financial assistance during the process.

The modern adoption process puts prospective birth mothers in charge. During a time when so much seems out of control, this makes adoption an appealing way for many of effectively dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. When creating an adoption plan, you’ll choose the adoptive parents you want for your baby and the level of openness you would like after placement.

This openness is another important aspect of adoption. When this is the way you deal with unwanted pregnancy, you can maintain a long, lasting connection with your child.

Interested in learning more about adoption? We have plenty of guides to each aspect of the topic. When you’re ready to speak with an adoption specialist, you can contact us at any time.

Finding Joy in an Unplanned Pregnancy

Regardless of which unplanned pregnancy option is best for you, you are about to embark on a life-changing journey. It may not be easy. In fact, it probably won’t. But you can still experience joy along the way.

You may be wondering how finding joy in an unplanned pregnancy could be possible if you know that parenting isn’t an option. But joy isn’t the absence of pain; it’s the presence of hope.

Things may be hard — harder than they’ve ever been before. There could be anxiety and fear unlike what you’ve known before. But, there’s also possibility. There’s the chance to create a bright future — to overcome this unplanned pregnancy and find life after unexpected pregnancy that is unexpectedly good.

You can find ways of how to come out of unwanted pregnancy determined to create the life you want. Through the support of friends and professionals, and access to unplanned pregnancy options, this can be the beginning of a new story.

Contact a Professional

Oftentimes, the first step toward realizing the hope that could define your future and embracing an unplanned pregnancy is contacting a professional. None of us are equipped to go through something like this alone.

Would you like to speak with a helpful adoption specialist? Contact us online at any time. We’d be happy to put you in touch with a professional who can answer your questions.