Not every pregnancy is welcome. In spite of the publicity regarding measures of birth control, unplanned pregnancies do occur. Such an event may trigger anxiety in you for a variety of reason ranging from the vision of single parenthood to financial considerations. In general, there are three options. You can either have the baby, giver her up for adoption or you can terminate the pregnancy. No matter which option you choose, there are pros and cons to all of them and you must understand all the three options thoroughly in order to make an informed decision.

Research has revealed that there is no birth control method except abstinence which is 100% guaranteed to be successful. In addition, many women are just not aware of the birth control methods. The result is that about 87 million women throughout the world become pregnant every year without planning to. According to WHO, even if all users followed all the instructions regarding birth control correctly, there would still be 6 million unplanned pregnancies every year. Many women are improperly informed so that they discontinue using the birth control methods for fear of side effects.

What to expect if you face an unplanned pregnancy?

Women who face unplanned pregnancy are liable to have the following reactions:

  • One of the most common reactions is that the timing is all wrong. You may just have moved or you are in a crucial point of your career or you may feel that you are not emotionally ready for childbearing.
  • Close upon the heels of this feeling comes the question of financial burden. A child costs money and you may feel that you are not ready to take up this financial commitment. This feeling is much more intense if you are facing single parenthood.
  • Sometimes, when a woman already has children, she may feel that her chapter of late night feedings, diaper changes and cranky babies are over and she just feels too tired to start all over again.
  • One of the biggest anxieties which women with unplanned pregnancies face is the reaction of the spouse. The negative reaction of the father generally stems from financial worries and you need to understand that. At the same time, you should not let him play the blame game because it still takes two to make a baby and he is equally responsible.
  • All these feelings are compounded by worries of social stigma if you are facing the question of single parenthood. This of course varies in different cultures, but it is definitely a difficult choice regardless of who you are or where you live.

The three options for unplanned pregnancy

Once you discover the unwelcome news that you are pregnant, you have three options.

  1. Have the baby, enjoy parenthood and count your blessings.

    If you were planning to have a baby in the future, then this is probably the best option. It will probably take a bit of getting used to. Here are some tips to help you adjust with an unplanned pregnancy and enjoy your baby:

    • Think positive. After all, there are thousands of couples who desperately want a child but cannot have one. Have a look at the waiting lines at the adoption agency registries to get an idea how many people are craving a baby. So, adjust your thoughts and try to project positive feelings and emotions.
    • Share your worries with someone close to you. While your spouse is the ideal choice, he too is coping with the surprise. So, you can try to talk to a close friend or your sister about your feelings.
    • Enjoy the special hype associated with motherhood. This is the time to pamper yourself. Browse the maternity magazine; plan the nursery, buy a few outfits for your baby. Soak up all the positive information that you can find.
    • Be honest to yourself. It is ok to have ambivalent feelings. Do not force cheeriness. Rather, accept that things will move at their own pace.
    • If you begin to feel overwhelmed with the problem, take a break. Do some activity you enjoy. Go out and buy something for you or the baby. Call up a friend to share your troubles.
    • Just because you did not plan it does not mean that you should ignore your body and your baby. Make sure to eat healthy diet and go for your medical checkups regularly.
    • Above all, you need to have open discussions with your spouse to face the situation together.
  2. Have the baby and give her up for adoption.

    Many women ultimately decide to give the baby up for adoption. This is especially true if you are facing single parenthood or are in a very tight position financially. There are both pros and cons of giving up your baby for adoption. Here are some things which you must consider before you decide on adoption:

    • Consult an expert. You should not feel that you have to give up your child. A number of different programs are there to help you. Only after gathering all the information should you decide whether you really want to give up your child.
    • Learn about the official process of adoption. Find out if you can arrange for private adoption or whether you will need to arrange for adoption with a registered adoption agency.
    • When you contact an adoption agency, you may be asked to specify what type of parents you would like for your child. Often the adoption agency presents a list of applicants with a short bio so that you can decide whom to give your baby to. You can arrange to meet the parents beforehand. All these assure your mind that your baby is going to a loving and caring family.
    • One of the major reasons why many women opt for adoption is that you can assure yourself that your baby will be getting a standard of life which you are unable to give to her. At the same time, consider the effects on your own finances if you no longer have a child to support.
    • One of the toughest problems that you have to cope with after adoption is the sense of emotional loss. It is not easy to carry your baby for 40 weeks and then give her up, especially as your body is biologically ready with the nursing instinct. Be prepared to fight a tough battle with your emotions even if you know that you are doing the right thing by giving up the baby. Moreover, adopted children often develop sense of bitterness towards their birth parents from the feeling of abandonment and this is a risk that you cannot avoid.

    The following table clearly shows how prevalent adoption is:

    Type of adoption Number of adoption Percentage
    Private domestic adoption 677000 38
    Foster care adoption 661000 37
    International adoption 444000 25

    Source: Adoption USA: National Survey of Adoptive Parents, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; April, 2013

  3. Opt for induced abortion.

    Abortion is the voluntary termination of pregnancy. This can be done by medical or surgical procedures. It is safe to abort a baby within up to 9 weeks of pregnancy. After this term is over, it is no longer safe to abort a baby.

    Number of induced abortion in 2008 1.21 million
    Number of unplanned pregnancies that end in abortion 4 out of 10
    Annual percentage of women aged 15 to 44 who have an abortion 2%
    Number of abortions per 1000 women aged 15 to 44 in 2008 16
    Number of abortions per 1000 women aged 15 to 44 in 2005 19.4
    Number of abortions per 1000 women aged 15 to 44 in 2001 21.1

    Source: CBR, Guttmacher Institute, CDC. Data with reference to USA; collected on July 2013

    Abortion can be done by following processes:

    • Medical abortion can be performed by taking an abortion pill. It can be taken within 9 weeks of pregnancy. Mifepristone is the most commonly used pill. Other options are Misoprostol and methotrexate. This method does not involve any hospitalization and is less expensive.
    • Surgical abortions are performed in medical clinics during the first trimester. Aspiration is the most common process that is done up to 16 weeks of conception. Another procedure is dilatation and evacuation which is performed after 16 weeks.
    • You should be thoroughly informed and explore all your choices before deciding to opt for abortion. Always have the abortion at certified clinic and follow the instructions for recuperation. In general there is very little risks associated with abortion and you can easily conceive later even if you have an abortion.