What to Do with an Unplanned Pregnancy [Preparing for Next Steps]

An unplanned pregnancy is a life-changing event. It would be an understatement to say that you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed and anxious about what the future holds. If you’re asking yourself, “What can I do with an unwanted pregnancy?” know that you’re not alone.

An unplanned pregnancy is more common than you might think. It might come as a surprise, but about half of all unplanned pregnancies in the United States are unplanned. And, just like every woman before you, you still have options about what to do next.

Learn more about what those are below, along with the first steps you should take if you just found out about your unplanned and unwanted pregnancy.

What can I do with an unwanted pregnancy?

If you’re facing an unplanned pregnancy, you have three options: adoption, abortion and parenting. Learn more about them below.


Adoption is an amazing, selfless decision. Although many people think that adoption is “giving up,” in reality, women who choose this unwanted pregnancy path do so because they only want the best for their babies.

If you choose this unplanned and unwanted pregnancy option, know that you are in charge of every important decision. You get to choose which family  you want for your baby, what you want your hospital stay to look like, how much contact you’d like to have with your child after the adoption, and more.

Additionally, adoption has been and always will be free. You never have to worry about saving up to make an adoption plan, and you can even receive financial assistance.


Abortion is your earliest unexpected pregnancy option. Women choose abortion for a variety of reasons; they may not be ready to parent, they may be raising other children, or they may simply don’t want to be pregnant.

Depending on your age and the state you live in, there may be limitations on when and if you can obtain an abortion. You can learn more about these laws on Planned Parenthood’s website. If you’re considering this path, we strongly recommend reaching out to your doctor before you run into any obstacles.


Even if they have an unplanned pregnancy, many women decide that they’re ready to become a parent. This can be a rewarding and fulfilling path, but there’s a lot to consider for this unintended pregnancy option.

Parenting is not an easy or inexpensive feat. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average cost of raising a child to 18 is at least $245,000. You should also take a look at your support system; do you have reliable loved ones that can help you raise the baby?

Most importantly, you should ask yourself if you’re ready to be a mom right now. Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs out there, and there’s nothing wrong with looking at your other options first for this unplanned or undesired pregnancy.

What to Do for an Unwanted Pregnancy: Taking the First Steps

Right now, you’re probably asking, “What should I do for an unplanned pregnancy?”

Below, take a look at the suggested steps for what to do if your unwanted pregnancy test is positive.

Step 1: Confirm your pregnancy.

The first thing you should after taking an at-home pregnancy is make an appointment with your doctor. They can determine how far along you are and provide information on what options are available to you, depending on the stage of your pregnancy.

They’ll be able to answer any questions about what you should be doing at each stage, as well as about your options if you’re considering terminating your undesired pregnancy instead of choosing adoption or parenting.

Step 2: Accept your feelings.

The news of an unplanned pregnancy will come as a huge shock. Right now, you’re probably feelings overwhelmed, afraid and uncertain. These feelings are normal, and it will take a lot of energy to cope with this big change and what it means for your future.

Remember that you don’t have to do any decision making about your unplanned pregnancy immediately. It’s OK to take some time for yourself as you try to process your current situation.

If your feelings become too difficult to bear, know that you can always reach out to an unplanned pregnancy counselor for support and advice about what to do next. No matter which option you’re considering, you’re entitled to receive free, unbiased information about each of your choices for an unplanned pregnancy.

Step 3: Research your options.

Every unplanned pregnancy option comes with advantages and disadvantages. It’s up to you to decide which option is right. While it’s extremely helpful to reach out to your support system, at the end of the day, this is your life. You are the only one who can decide what to do when you have an unexpected pregnancy.

Although we’ve given a brief introduction to your three unplanned pregnancy options in this article, there’s still so much to learn about each one. If you need any help looking for resources, please fill out our free information form to be connected to an adoption professional.

Step 4:. Build a support system.

Even though you might feel alone right now, know that there are people ready to support you. Who you decide to tell about your unplanned pregnancy is completely up to you, but you might start with your friends and family who you trust. If you and the baby’s father have a strong relationship, and you believe he will have a positive reaction about your unintended pregnancy, it’s a good idea to tell him, as well.

It will be scary to tell your loved ones the news, especially if you think that they’ll be unsupportive. But even so, building a support system will make facing an unplanned pregnancy so much easier.

If you’re not sure about what their reactions will be, it never hurts to look for outside support. Consider reaching out to an unplanned pregnancy support group, either online or in-person. A few options that you might consider are:

Step 5: Reach out to a professional.

No matter which unplanned pregnancy option you choose, you should reach out to a professional to learn more. Make sure that they’re offering free, trustworthy and unbiased information.

A few reputable resources are an adoption counselor, a doctor, a health care center or an unplanned pregnancy counselor.

How to Decide What to Do with an Unplanned Pregnancy

When you just find out about an unplanned pregnancy, you might feel like you have to make a plan. But, you still have some time to think about your unplanned pregnancy decisions.

If you have any questions about your unplanned pregnancy options, please fill out our form to be connected with an adoption professional.

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