Unexpected Pregnancy: 5 Things to Do Before Making a Decision

You’re pregnant. You are in the bathroom, hiding from your parents or boyfriend. It’s the third test and that stick is showing a positive sign, two parallel red lines or two crossing lines. Whichever, you feel it in your stomach, that weight that is like a stone, mixed with panic and nausea. What are you going to do?

Here are the first 5 things you should do:

1.) TAKE YOUR TIME

Breathe. A positive pregnancy test can be overwhelming, especially when you are not expecting it. You thought you had been careful, you thought using protection or being on birth control would prevent this situation. Or maybe there was that one night with too many drinks and a reckless abandonment. Either way, the consequences are facing you now. It can be easy to panic. Don’t. Take a deep breath and realize that you have time. Do not rush into making any quick decisions that you may regret later. Remember, what you do with this pregnancy will have an impact on your future. Take your time to consider your unplanned pregnancy and what it could mean for you. Take a few days or a week (heck, two!) just to consider your options and what steps would be best for YOU to take. Remember, time allows you to make an informed decision. This is also an ideal time to recognize the pressures in your life, whether it be a significant other, disapproving parents, a church, your friends, a college scholarship, a new career, etc. You do NOT have to conform to the expectations of those around you. This is that time to really decide for yourself and your pregnancy what your next step is. Make it your decision because it is yours to make. No one else’s. (Read 5 Rights Every Woman Seeking Abortion Needs to Know)

2.) GET INFORMED/RECEIVE CONFIRMATION

One in 5 pregnancies end in miscarriage in the first 7 weeks. There is also the chance that you received a false positive on your pregnancy test, even if you took more than one. First, it is important that you receive confirmation of your pregnancy. Many pregnancy and women’s clinics offer pregnancy tests for free (Schedule an appointment with White Oak Women’s Center to receive your free pregnancy test). Second, finding out how far along you are is critical to what options and choices you have. If you are considering terminating your pregnancy, most states allow up an abortion procedure up to 20 weeks. In most cases, a woman discovers she is pregnant at 5-8 weeks, following a missed period and symptoms. Third, discover as much as you can about your current reproductive health. Do you have an STD? This may impact a termination or a pregnancy. STD’s should be treated before a woman continues in her pregnancy or chooses to terminate.

3.) SHARE THE NEWS

You have confirmed the pregnancy. Now what? Perhaps you are still undecided about your pregnancy. That’s okay. However, during this time, having the support from friends and family closest to you will help you not feel alone. Family and friends may react in different ways, some ecstatic and supportive, others negative, maybe even judgmental. Remember, you are still in control of your decision. Breaking the news to a significant other or your parents or your friends is about freeing yourself from dealing with this revelation alone. Furthermore, other people who have gone through the same thing can often provide valuable support and advice. You may be facing the biggest obstacle in your life – you shouldn’t have to do it alone.

4.) PREPARE YOURSELF FOR REACTIONS

Understand that people may not respond to the news the way you had expected. Some may pressure you into making a decision about abortion, adoption or parenting. If they try to pressure you, remember that it is your decision to make and remind them that you would like their support in this time. People may come off as judgmental or close-minded, using condemning words or mean actions. Distance yourself from that negativity and allow yourself to rely on the people that show you love and support, providing you the resources, encouragement, information and time that you need to make an informed decision. This is also the time to examine yourself and evaluate your own expectations. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who in my life cares about me?
  • How do I really feel about each of my options -abortion, adoption, parenting?
  • How did I feel about each of my options before I found out I was pregnant?
  • How will my choice affect my health? My body? My future?
  • How will I feel about my decision one year from now? Ten years from now?1

Find a piece of scrap paper and jot down the first thoughts that come in your mind with these questions. Be honest with yourself. And then, find someone with whom you are comfortable to share your thoughts, such as your significant other, a parent, a friend, a nurse or a patient advocate. Let them help you work through your thoughts, give advice and support you in this decision.

5.) SEEK RESOURCES

Whether you choose to abort, adopt or parent, you should seek the appropriate resources. Consult a women’s clinic, like White Oak Women’s Center, or a medical facility, like a your local hospital or gynecologist. Your most important resource is information. Go to the experts on pregnancy (click here for a list of clinics). Abortion is expensive and you will need financial support. It does have an impact and so you should be in constant contact with a medical professional before and after the procedure, whether medical or surgical. If adoption, learn about your options, whether you want an open adoption or a closed adoption. Many pregnancy clinics offer programs and referrals to organizations that can walk you through the process of adoption. And finally, if your decision is to parent, we can assist you with information and resources about parenting as well.

If you think you may be pregnant and want more information on your options, call (815)408-0793 to schedule your free and confidential appointment. Our staff is trained to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information that is relevant to you so that you can find out your options for your future.

Find out what to expect from your first appointment at White Oak Women’s Center.

References

  1. This information was excerpted from the booklet, “I’m Pregnant. Now What?” by Holly M. Duncan, M.Ed., LPC.

What you need to know about the big “O”: Ovulation

Have you ever wondered how your cycle works? What’s going on in your body from one period to the next? Most of us may have learned a little bit about this in our junior high sex ed class but let’s review.

 

Mr. Monthly Visitor. Aunt Flo. Your period.

A typical menstrual cycle lasts from 21 to 35 days with the average being anywhere from 28 to 31 days. 1 The day your period starts is counted as Day 1; in a doctor’s office this day is also known as your LMP (last monthly period). Normal menstruation can last anywhere from one to eight days with an average of three to five days. 2 There are several factors that affect the length of a period – weight, activity level, and oral contraceptive use are some of the more common.

 

The big “O”: Ovulation

Ovulation is the release of the egg from the ovary. The day a woman ovulates can vary woman to woman and month to month – anywhere from 13 to 20 days after your LMP.1

A few lucky women know exactly when they ovulate by experiencing a feeling called “mittelschmerz”, a twinge, pinch, or cramp felt in the lower abdomen or back on the side that the ovary releasing the egg is on.4 Other signs and symptoms of ovulation may include headaches, stomach pains, or sluggishness; increased sexual feelings; mid-cycle spotting; bloating and/or water retention; increased energy; a greater sense of vision, smell, and taste; and breast sensitivity.4,6 One of the most easily noticed signs is increased cervical mucus discharge.

Ovulation is huge since it is the time that a woman can become pregnant. This is where it gets somewhat confusing. Most women are fertile (can become pregnant) only a few days in their cycle but there are other factors at play. The egg only lives about 24 hours (anywhere from 6 – 24 hours); but if two or more eggs are released, the chance of becoming pregnant is increased. Also, and perhaps the one we don’t usually think of, is that sperm can live up to 5 days (3 days in non-fertile quality cervical fluid, up to 5 days in fertile quality cervical fluid) inside a woman. So… all this to say that a couple’s combined fertile period is about a week.6

After ovulation, if fertilization/conception does not occur, your period will typically start within 14 – 16 days. Some women have PMS symptoms to give them a heads-up, others do not. If fertilization/conception does occur, the game changes; you may still experience signs and symptoms associated with ovulation and/or PMS, including mild cramping, bloating, spotting, breast tenderness, or others.

 

If you have any questions or think you might be pregnant, contact us at 815-408-0793 to schedule an appointment with the White Oak Women’s Center patient care team or request an appointment online.

References

  1. www.womenshealth.gov, accessed January 24, 2015
  2. www.pms.about.com, accessed January 24, 2015
  3. www.womenshealth.gov, accessed January 24, 2015
  4. “Our Bodies, Ourselves: The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective” Simon and Schuster New York October 2011
  5. “Our Bodies, Ourselves: The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective” Simon and Schuster New York October 2011
  6. Weschler, Toni “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” Harper Collins 2006
  7. Weschler, Toni “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” Harper Collins 2006

4 Steps to Take Before Abortion

Before You Decide about Your Pregnancy4 Steps to Take Before Abortion

You think you might be pregnant and you’re not sure what to do. At this point, even though emotions may be running high, it is important to get the information you need. Especially if you are considering an abortion, there are certain steps your medical provider should take in order to prepare you to make the best decision for your future.

1. Assess Your Health– You’ll need an STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) test to make sure you don’t have chlamydia or gonorrhea, both of which can have negative consequences if they are not treated before getting an abortion or giving birth. At White Oak Women’s Center we can provide this for free.

2. Perform a Pregnancy Test– Although home pregnancy tests can be very accurate, only a medical professional can provide you with a verification of pregnancy which can be used by Medicaid and your insurance company.  Our medical staff can provide both a high quality, early pregnancy test and give you a verification of pregnancy.

3. Determine Viability and Gestational Age– A positive pregnancy test does not necessarily mean that your pregnancy is viable, or will continue. One in five pregnancies end on their own before seven weeks due to natural processes, such as miscarriage. It is also very important to find out how far along you are in your pregnancy as this will determine which abortion procedures you would be eligible for. White Oak Women’s Center can provide a free ultrasound so that you can have the information you need.

4. Provide Information on all Pregnancy Options– At White Oak Women’s Center we will give you information on all the options available to you. We will also give you a personalized plan so you know what to do with your next step.

No matter what you are planning to do with your pregnancy (or even if you have no idea) you need to have accurate information so you can make an educated decision. White Oak Women’s Center wants to provide those answers. To set up a free, confidential appointment, call 815-408-0793.