With no contraceptive method 100% effective, unplanned pregnancy is a reality in women’s lives. If you are faced with an unplanned pregnancy you need to choose the option that best suits YOU and your circumstances. There is no easy solution to an unplanned pregnancy. Other people may try and influence you to choose a certain option but only you know what is best for you.
If you are pregnant, there are three options available to you:
- Keeping the baby
- Having the baby adopted
- Having an abortion
Keeping the Baby
Deciding to become a parent requires commitment and responsibility. Make sure that you are 100% ready before going ahead with the pregnancy and talk to your GP about how to stay healthy while pregnant. Help and support is available. See your doctor, hospital anti-natal clinic or women’s health service for care and support during your pregnancy. There are also local community groups for new mothers that can provide you with all the support you need after giving birth.
Having the Baby Adopted
If you decide to continue the pregnancy and give the baby up for adoption, contact your state or territory adoption agency. A counsellor will work with you to arrange preparation for adoption before you baby is born, however nothing will be definite until after the birth so you will be completely free to change your mind at any point. In these sessions, the counsellor will discuss with you the type of family you want your baby to grow up in, as well as the possibility of remaining in contact with the family. Adoption means legally giving up responsibility for your child.
Another option is fostering, in which another set of parents will temporarily look after your baby. You will remain the legal guardian and hopefully be in a position to care for your baby in the future.
For more help and advice on adoption click here
Having an Abortion
If you decide to end the pregnancy, you should talk to your doctor or family planning clinic for information about the type of abortion available to you. They will also ensure you meet the requirements of your state or territory’s abortion law. You are encouraged to talk to your doctor or counsellor about any feelings you are going through about having an abortion. The doctor will only go ahead if they believe you understand what’s involved.
Types of abortion:
The type of abortion available to you depends on how many weeks pregnant you are and whether or not you want a general anaesthetic (this means you will be asleep during the procedure). The earlier you go for help, the more options are available to you so make sure you seek help as soon as you can.
After the abortion:
You will probably feel cramps much like period pain, and experience some bleeding which can last up to 14 days. The nurse will tell you what to expect and how to look after yourself. You will need to discuss having sex again to make sure you are aware of how long to wait after your abortion and what types of contraception you can use.
Finally, there are many places and sources you can access that offer post-abortion counseling. Although you might think you will be fine, it is good to talk about your experience with people who know what you might be going through.
For more help and advice on adoption contact:
ACT – Department of Education, Youth and Family Services
NT – Department of Health and Community Services
NSW – Department of Community Services
QLD – Department of Child Safety
SA – Adoption and Family Information Service of SA
TAS – Department of Health and Human Services
VIC – Department of Human Services
WA – Department for Community Development