By Planned Parenthood Federation of America

If you think you are pregnant the only way to know for sure is if you take a pregnancy test. For tests to be most accurate, it’s best to wait until you’ve missed a period or 2-3 weeks after sex. You can easily get tests at grocery stores, dollar stores, pharmacies, or you can get tested at any Planned Parenthood health center. No matter where you get the test (or the cost) pregnancy tests are very accurate.

Finding out you’re pregnant when you don’t expect it can be stressful, but it’s a pretty common experience – about half of all women in the U.S. have an unplanned pregnancy at some point in their lives.

When someone is pregnant, they have three options:

  • Parenting: giving birth and raising the child
    • Prenatal care should begin as soon as possible
  • Abortion: taking medication of having a medical procedure that ends the pregnancy
    • Most accessible if within the first trimester (12 weeks), but is available until 20 weeks per Arizona law
  • Adoption: giving birth and placing the child with another person or family permanently.
    • Prenatal care should begin as soon as possible, there is no timeline for this decision

Sometimes deciding what to do about an unplanned pregnancy is easy. Other times, it’s difficult and complicated. Your decision is very personal, and everyone’s situation is different. You’re the only person walking in your shoes, so the decision is 100% yours.

What can I think about to help me decide?

Family, relationships, school, work, money, life goals, health, safety, and personal beliefs — most people think carefully about many of these things before making a decision about an unplanned pregnancy.

Consider how you feel when you think about abortion, adoption, and parenting. What do you want for your future, and for your family or future family?

It may be helpful to ask yourself questions like:

  • How would my decision affect my future?
  • Am I ready to go through pregnancy and childbirth?
  • Am I ready to raise a child right now?
  • Do I have strong personal or religious beliefs about abortion, adoption, or parenting?
  • Is anyone pressuring me to make a certain choice?
  • Would my decision change my life in a way I DO NOT want?
  • Will my family, my friends, and my partner support my decision?

Who can you talk to about your options?

Talking with your partner, a family member, friend, and trusted religious advisor, or a counselor about unplanned pregnancy options can be helpful when you’re trying to figure out what to do. If you prefer an online, anonymous conversation with a Planned Parenthood Sex Educator, you can.

Your local Planned Parenthood health Center has caring professionals that can give you accurate, non-judgmental information about all your options, answer your questions, and offer support as you make a decision — no matter what you decide about your pregnancy. Planned Parenthood also offers abortion, adoption, and prenatal care services, or referrals for these services in your area.

If you prefer to discuss your options with someone you do not know, while remaining anonymous, Planned Parenthood offers a free, online chat that connects you to their sex educators. 

*CAUTION*: As you look for resources to help you through this process, be careful of crisis pregnancy centers. These centers often look like full-service health clinics that will help you through all pregnancy options, but they are anti-abortion and do not provide medical services. Rather, they provide inaccurate medical information regarding abortions and sexual health, and use manipulative tactics often with religious and ideological propaganda against abortion, birth control, condoms, and/or sexual activity.

So how can you tell if a clinic is a Crisis Pregnancy Center? Try calling and asking which services they provide. If they do not provide abortion, birth control, STD testing, or condoms, OR if they won’t refer you to places that do provide these options, it’s probably because they are a crisis pregnancy center.

Thankfully, there are plenty of clinics and people who will support your values and dreams, both for the present and future, to guide you through your unplanned pregnancy.