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. Are there other concerns about your pregnancy that could pose a risk to your health or the child’s? A gynecological examination can help you discover the state of your reproductive health… in other words, make sure everything is working as it should before making a decision about an unintended pregnancy.

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. Abortion also carries the high possibility of emotional and physical stress on the body. It is an intrusive procedure that impacts your normal reproductive processes. 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. Learn about the families that are seeking to adopt and what it will mean for you to carry-to term. 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, you will need material resources for your child and income as you approach your expected due date. Pregnancy clinics often offer parenting classes for free or offer “earn while you learn” programs, where material goods are provided in exchange for time in parenting class.

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 to Expect from Your First Appointment

Like most women, going to a clinic specializing in reproductive services can be nerve-wrecking, to say the least. The stress can be even greater if at a clinic with men. At White Oak Women’s Center, the licensed professional team is made up entirely of women, so there’s an immediate level of comfort and familiarity, even if an appointment may seem like a daunting task. There is a relaxing waiting room with a sofa and chairs. There is even a Keurig, so you can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while you wait.

What goes on during the first appointment?free pregnancy help sterling il | information on abortion il

There are two segments to your first appointment: the meeting with your advocate and the meeting with your nurse.

When you meet with your advocate, she will perform a brief situation assessment, review your options, including the abortion procedure and its risks and side effects. She will then review with you your Personalized Solutions Assessment Plan. This will be a very informative meeting that aims to give you confidence in whatever decision you make concerning your unplanned pregnancy. At White Oak Women’s Center, we believe that if you know your options, you know your future.

Next, you will meet with your nurse. She will answer any medical questions you may have concerning your pregnancy. She will perform a pregnancy test. If a positive pregnancy, an ultrasound exam may be offered to confirm pregnancy and determine how far along you are. Your nurse will also provide you with STD testing information and, should you or the nurse suspect an STD, an STD test will be performed and the result ready by your second appointment (usually one week later).

Can I bring anyone to my appointment?

Yes! White Oak Women’s Center encourages the support of friends and family during your appointment. Please note that, in an effort to comply with HIPAA Privacy Standards and provide the highest quality of care, your initial assessment must be performed without any guests. However, at your request, guests are welcome to join you during your ultrasound exam.

The most important thing to remember is that your advocate and nurse are in support of getting you the most accurate and relevant information possible so that you can make your informed choice with confidence.

If you have further questions about your appointment or would like to schedule one, please call us at (815) 408-0793.

5 Rights Every Woman Seeking Abortion Needs to Know

To be called pro-choice is to be in favor of a woman having the choice to terminate her pregnancy. Merriam-Webster defines it as “believing that pregnant women should have the right to choose to have an abortion.” The first law of making any decision, especially decisions that affect a woman’s health, is to be fully informed.

Every woman seeking an abortion has these rights:

 

1. She has the right – to insist that her abortion can only be performed by a licensed physician.

For most routine non-invasive procedures, knowing a physician’s history of medical malpractice may come off as excessive, possibly unnecessary. However, an abortion is an invasive procedure. If done incorrectly, an abortion can lead to hemorrhaging, infection and even death. Of the almost 42 million abortions performed performed worldwide, nearly half are performed by unskilled individuals.1 A woman should know she has the right to see proof of her physician’s license. In fact, she should insist upon it.

 

2. She has the right – to know the medical malpractice history of the physician and to know whether his or her license to practice medicine has ever been suspended or revoked.

In 2011, Dr. Kermit Barron Gosnell, who ran the Women’s Medical Society abortion clinic in Philadelphia, PA, was charged with 8 counts of murder, 24 felony counts  of performing illegal abortions beyond the state of Pennsylvania’s 24 week time limit, and 227 misdemeanor counts of violating the 24-hour informed consent law. After an adult patient, Karnamaya Mongar, died following an abortion procedure, an investigation was sparked into the practice of a clinic that had not one licensed physician on staff.  It is a woman’s right to know whether her physician is licensed to perform abortions – her life depends upon it.

 

3. She has the right – to know if this doctor has an insurance policy that will protect she and her family in case she is injured or killed during the procedure.

Most abortion clinics are independent from hospitals, running as small operations offering women a specialized service. No clinic is automatically insured… requesting to know that the clinic is currently insured during and following your abortion is every woman’s right.  Do not sign anything that says you or your family will waive the right to sue the clinic should you be injured or killed during the abortion.

 

4. She has the right – to insist that if she is injured during her abortion, she is to be immediately transferred by ambulance to the nearest emergency hospital or trauma center.

46,000 women die each year from unsafe abortions. According to the Guttmacher Institute, complications from unsafe abortions in the developing world contribute to 47,000 preventable deaths each year.2 The World Health Organization reports that deaths due to unsafe abortion remain close to 13% of all maternal deaths. 3

 

5. She has the right – not to have an abortion.

The Patient Bill of rights continues “Regardless of your age, marital status or any other factor, no one has the legal right to make you have an abortion.” Making an informed decision about abortion means you need to know more than just your right to choose to have an abortion; it means you need to know your right to choose not to have an abortion.

References

  1. Guttmacher Institute. (n.d.). Facts and Consequences: Legality, Incidence and Safety of Abortion Worldwide. Retrieved from https://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/gpr/12/4/gpr120402.html
  2. Guttmacher Institute. (n.d.). Facts on Induced Abortion Worldwide. Retrieved from http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_IAW.html
  3. WHO | Preventing unsafe abortion. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/unsafe_abortion/magnitude/en/

Can I find out the exact day I got pregnant?

When I Got PregnantCan I find out the exact day I got pregnant?

The short answer to the question, “Can I find out the exact day I got pregnant?” is, probably not. Determining the exact date of conception is difficult for several reasons.

First of all, you need to know that pregnancy occurs when an ovulated female egg and and male sperm meet and fertilization occurs. This usually takes place in a fallopian tube.

The time of ovulation, when an egg is released from the ovaries and into the fallopian tube, determines a woman’s fertility window and varies from woman to woman. Most women ovulate 14 days after the first day of their last menstrual cycle but some women release an egg anywhere from 11 to 21 days after the first day of their last period. An egg is viable, able to be fertilized, up to 24 hours after it has been released from the ovary.

Also, sperm can live in a woman’s body and fertilize an egg for up to seven days. This means there is a window of a week or so in which a woman can conceive after a sexual encounter.

Because the date of conception can be so hard to determine it has become standard practice to place a woman’s due date at 40 weeks after the first day of the woman’s last menstrual cycle. For women who don’t have regular periods, this can be a problem.

An ultrasound can more accurately determine the date of conception and the gestational age of the baby. In an ultrasound measurements are taken of the gestational sack and the crown to rump length of the fetus. These measurements are used to estimate the gestational age of the baby. The baby can begin to be measured between 5 and 6 weeks after the first day of a woman’s last period, but measurements are more accurate between 8 and 18 weeks after a woman’s last period.

Even with an ultrasound exam the exact date of conception can be hard to pin down because the baby might be unusually large or unusually small.

The only way a woman can be fairly certain of the exact day she became pregnant is if she only had one sexual encounter during her fertility window, anywhere from 11-21 days after the first day of her last period, and she knows the exact day that encounter took place.

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.

Signs that you might be pregnant

Signs Symptoms that you may be Pregnant - If you think you are or have self tested positive Call The White Oak Women's Center for help (815) 408-0793Are you wondering if you might be pregnant? Here are some early signs of pregnancy to look for.

The most obvious sign of pregnancy is a missed period. However, there may be many reasons why your cycle is late: stress, exercising harder than usual, unusual weight loss or weight gain, etc. If you have missed a period, ask yourself if you’re experiencing any of these other common pregnancy symptoms.

Early Signs of Pregnancy

  • Tender or swollen breasts
  • Feeling unusually tired
  • Feeling light headed or dizzy
  • Unusual food cravings or aversions to certain foods
  • Nausea in the morning or all day long
  • Frequent urination
  • Spotting or cramping
  • White or milky vaginal discharge
  • Constipation
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches and back pain

Because every woman is different, every woman has unique pregnancy symptoms. Some women notice all these pregnancy symptoms and some experience very few. It’s also common for women to have a different experience from one pregnancy to the next.

You should also know that all these symptoms can be caused by something other than pregnancy. Many of these symptoms are also experienced before and during a menstrual cycle and can also be signs of the flu or other sickness. So, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re pregnant.

The best way to confirm a pregnancy at home is with an over-the-counter pregnancy test. It’s important to keep in mind that these tests aren’t always accurate and often won’t detect a pregnancy before 4 weeks. It’s also possible to have a positive pregnancy test and not have a viable pregnancy, meaning the pregnancy is not likely to carry to term. The only way to confirm a viable pregnancy is with an ultrasound exam.

If you have missed a period or have any other pregnancy symptoms, please call our helpline at 815-408-0793 to set up an appointment for a free pregnancy test and more information. If the test results are positive and you are at least 5 weeks and 1 day along (according the first day of your last period) we will most likely offer you a free ultrasound to confirm viability.