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Unplanned Pregnancy Options: The Complete Guide

An unplanned pregnancy is one of the most shocking and life-altering experiences life can throw at you. Millions of women experience unexpected pregnancies in the U.S. each year. For some, it’s a welcome surprise. Others are put in a terribly difficult situation, because the timing just couldn’t be worse.

After the dust settles from the initial surprise, it’s time to start looking at your pregnancy options. This can be a tough decision to make, and we’re here to help.

Are you wondering, “What are my options if I’m pregnant?”

You’ve come to the right place. This complete guide to unplanned pregnancy options is intended to provide helpful information and resources to any woman experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, from any walk of life. Your unique circumstances are unlike any other, and we’re going to present all of your options, without bias, so that you can make the best choice for your life.

If you’d like to speak with a knowledgeable professional, you can contact us at any time.

Now, let’s go through your pregnancy options — examining the pros and cons, the most important logistical information and the resource available to you.

3 Options for Unplanned Pregnancy

The possibilities for your future are endlessly unique. The specific details of your unplanned pregnancy are unlike anyone else’s situation. However, there are, essentially, three legal options a woman has when pregnant: parenting, abortion and adoption.

Which of these options for pregnant women is best for you? It depends on a variety of personal factors and is, ultimately, a personal choice that you’ll have to make. Let’s look at all three options for unplanned pregnancy in detail. Our hope is that this will give you a better sense of how you can proceed.


Most women asking, “What are my options if I’m pregnant?” will end up choosing to parent their baby. This doesn’t mean that parenting is right for everyone or is an easy choice. But, it is the most common of the options when you get pregnant.

Of these three unplanned pregnancy options, could parenting be right for you? Let’s take a deeper look to find out.

Things to Know about Parenting

Parenthood is one of life’s great joys and challenges. Truthfully, very few people actually feel “ready” to become a parent when they do. You learn on the fly — which is part of what makes the journey both exciting and a little bit terrifying.

Choosing to become a parent as your unplanned pregnancy option can be the start of an amazing journey. It’s completely normal to feel unsure about this and wonder if you’re really up to the challenge. Those feelings are worth exploring — as you may find that parenting isn’t possible for you at this point in your life.

Let’s be clear about one thing: Just because parenting is the most common response to an unplanned pregnancy doesn’t mean it is the best response for you. Each of these three unplanned pregnancy options is equally valid. It all depends on your situation.

Signs Parenting Might Be Right for You

With that in mind, let’s explore some things that could signal that parenting is your best pregnancy option. Making this decision requires brutal honesty. Don’t stretch yourself beyond what is possible, or lie to yourself in order to choose the option that others have told you is “right” or “best.”

To examine parenting as one of the three unplanned pregnancy options, consider the following statements:

  • I want to be a parent.
  • I am prepared for the responsibilities of parenthood.
  • I’m ready to make parenting my primary responsibility, even if that means setting aside other goals.
  • Now is a good time to add a child to my family.
  • I am aware of the emotional journey that parenthood can take you on.
  • I feel confident that I can handle the logistical aspects of parenting — such as the cost associated with raising a child.
  • I am confident in my ability to carry a pregnancy to term and navigate the medical requirements of pregnancy.
  • I have a support system — friends, family and/or a partner — that will walk alongside me as a parent.
  • I am both excited and frightened by the idea of parenthood — but prepared to welcome both the good and bad with open arms.

As you read those statements, were you identifying with them? Was, “Yes,” a recurrent thought? Or, perhaps your thoughts were, “No, no, no, absolutely not.”

It can take a long time to make the right decision when it comes to unplanned pregnancy options. This is only a start. However, if you did lean heavily toward “yes” or “no,” that might be a clue.

Resources for Parenting

Being a parent can be challenging, emotionally, financially and practically. From handling new bills, to dealing with strong and unexpected feelings, to the logistics of daycare and more, there’s a lot more on your plate when you become a parent. Luckily, you don’t have to do it all on your own.

If parenting is the unplanned pregnancy option for you, then you may want to look into some of these helpful resources:


Parenting isn’t possible for many women experiencing an unexpected pregnancy, and alternative pregnancy options are required. Abortion is often next on the list of options when pregnant.

Could abortion be the best of your pregnancy options? This is a decision only you can make. To help, let’s take a look at what is required in order to get an abortion, and if this option will be possible for you.

Things to Know about Abortion

Abortion, in medical terms, “Is the removal of pregnancy tissue, products of conception or the fetus and placenta (afterbirth) from the uterus.” This procedure is the most common of the options for unexpected pregnancy after parenting, although the rate of abortion in the U.S. continues to decline year-over-year.

When researching abortion, you may come across two terms: elective and therapeutic. An “elective” abortion refers to a procedure that has been chosen by the pregnant woman to end an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy. A “therapeutic” abortion refers to a procedure that has been recommended due to the health risks the pregnancy presents to the woman.

If considering abortion as one of your accidental pregnancy options, one of the first things to find out is whether or not this procedure will be possible for you. There are a few important factors to this.

The first is the abortion laws in your state. Some states are more restrictive than others. Where you live may determine whether or not this is one of the legal options a woman has if she is pregnant. Take a look at the abortion laws in your state to get a sense of if this procedure could be possible in your situation.

Next, you’ll need to know if there is an abortion service provider nearby. Many states have only one or two clinics that provide these services, and restricted access could influence your pregnancy options.

Finally, you should speak to several professionals and conduct your own research to understand the emotional implications of abortion. Any other options for pregnancy will carry some sort of emotional challenge. Sometimes, abortion can be presented as an “easy way” out. It’s important to understand that, just like parenting and adoption, there are emotional consequences to this procedure.

This is not to dissuade you from choosing abortion. Many women find it to be the best of the available options if you are pregnant. However, it is important to research all aspects of this choice when you are exploring options for pregnancy.

Signs Abortion Could Be Right for You

Medical definitions, laws, and clinics — these are all important things to understand. But what you’re probably really wondering is, “Of the options for unexpected pregnancy, how do I know if abortion is right for me?”

Similarly to choosing to parent, deciding on an elective abortion is ultimately up to you. To help get you started, consider the following statements, and pay attention to how you feel as you read:

  • I am not able to become a parent right now.
  • I already love the parent I am, and I know that another child would change that.
  • I want to be a parent, but not right now.
  • I do not want to carry a pregnancy to term.
  • I know that carrying a pregnancy to term could bring me harm, either physically, emotionally or socially.
  • I cannot have another child, and I want to keep my family just how it is.
  • I don’t feel confident in my partner’s commitment to parenting, and that makes me uneasy.
  • I have so many goals to achieve in life, and I can’t do that while also being a parent.
  • I will be at a high risk for a miscarriage or otherwise medically fragile pregnancy.
  • I cannot afford the costs associated with pregnancy and parenting.

Women from many different circumstances consider abortion as the best of the three pregnancy options. Whether you are already a mother who does not want another child or a woman in a situation that makes carrying this pregnancy impossible, pay attention to how you resonate with these statements. You internal “yes” or “no” can point you toward the right options if you don’t want to be pregnant.

Resources for Abortion

Understanding your state’s laws, finding access to a clinic, figuring out which medical professionals to trust and coping with the emotions of an abortion can make this whole procedure challenging. There are resources available to anyone exploring options for pregnancy that can help make the process more understandable and accessible.

Consider looking into the following:


You know that parenting won’t work. For whatever reason — your family is perfect as is, your career is just getting started, you’re too young and parenting will throw a wrench in your whole future — you just know that now is not the time.

But, you also have a deep sense of love for this baby. You want to do something that creates the best future for yourself and the child. These thoughts lead many women to this final of the three options for unplanned pregnancy: Adoption.

Things to Know About Adoption

Adoption is the process of placing your child with adoptive parents shortly after birth. When you’re a pregnant woman exploring options for pregnancy, you can work with a private adoption agency to create an adoption plan. Agencies and other professionals make the adoption process possible, providing guidance and support to women along the way.

When you do choose adoption, you will get to choose the adoptive parent you think will be best for you baby. This gives a sense of peace and confidence to many considering adoption as one of their pregnancy options. While your connection to your child won’t be the same, you will still play a big role in their life by choosing a great family for them.

A woman choosing adoption as her option for pregnancy will also be able to maintain a lasting connection with her child through open adoption, which is the norm in the modern process. Part of the adoption plan is deciding on a level of openness that you would like after placement.

The adoption process is set up to put the prospective birth mother in charge. It is always free to her, and she usually receives some sort of adoption financial assistance for pregnancy-related and cost-of-living expenses.

Signs Adoption Could Be Right for You

What options are there for pregnancy? Adoption could be the path forward for you. But, how can you know?

Take a look at the following statements. Do they align with how you feel? If you find yourself saying, “Yes,” to each, then adoption could the best of your pregnancy options.

  • I love my baby, but I can’t be a parent.
  • I want my child to have an amazing life.
  • I want to do what’s best for my future.
  • I know that adoption financial assistance would make it possible to carry a pregnancy to term.
  • I feel confident and safe in carrying a pregnancy to term.
  • I look forward to choosing adoptive parents for my baby.
  • I want to maintain a lasting connection and relationship with my child.
  • I think that the challenges of pregnancy and the adoption process will be worth it.
  • I would feel empowered by fulfilling the adoptive parents’ dreams of becoming parents.
  • I would be doing something brave by giving my child the opportunity to live with a great family.

If these statements give language to what you are feeling internally, then adoption could be a great option for you. Don’t get us wrong — there are real challenges to this process. None of these legal options for a pregnant woman will be easy from start to finish. But, you may find that the challenges are worth it if they create a better future for yourself and your child.

Resources for Adoption

Adoption may not be easy, but there is help along the way. From agencies, to attorneys, to more sources of online information, here are a few places to look when you are exploring options for pregnancy:

Contact Us Today

“What are my options if I’m pregnant, and which one is best for me?”

It’s one of the hardest questions to ask. If you’re struggling to identify which one of your pregnancy options will be best, you might find it helpful to speak with a professional. Contact us today if you’d like to be connected with a knowledgeable adoption specialist.