Facing an unplanned pregnancy can be tough. Here is a list of the basic things expectant parents need to know when facing one.

Unplanned Pregnancy Basics

Waiting for the pregnancy test to tell you your fate can be extremely nerve-wracking. Perhaps you’re wondering about what the future has in store. An unplanned pregnancy can be devastating and you may feel like your future has been shattered. It’s normal to have these emotions, but it’s imperative to realize that having a baby doesn’t necessarily disrupt your future; instead, a baby will help your future blossom. Your life will change dramatically when you have a baby. However, it doesn’t have to be looked at negatively. If you’re wondering what your options are and what you should do, here are some unplanned pregnancy basics.

Find Your Tribe

It’s so important to have a support system to lean on during your pregnancy. This can be anyone from your parents, your partner, members of your church, friends, teachers, your counselor, and the list goes on and on. This may seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re a teenager or young adult going through school or work. However, these members of your life may be more supportive than you’re assuming. Obviously, anyone will be shocked to hear of your news. Those that react with love and support are the ones that you need in your tribe. Anyone that passes judgment or shame on you shouldn’t be in your life or at least should be kept at a distance.

Not only is it important to make your mental health a priority during your unplanned pregnancy, but you also can’t go through this alone. You may proudly refer to yourself as “strong and independent” and that’s absolutely wonderful. That being said, even the most strong and independent women need to have people in their corner rooting for them to succeed. Don’t let your pride get in the way of telling those in your life about your unplanned pregnancy and let them help you.

Unfortunately, there are many women out there who don’t have access to a great support system. This could be anything from having strained relationships with parents, not having the birth father be an active part of their lives, not being plugged into a community such as a church or other groups, or being far away from your friends and family. If you don’t have a good group of people that you can turn to, don’t lose hope. There are many loving and compassionate people who want to help you. So where exactly can you go?

Advice, Help, Support

There are many resources and people who want to give advice, help, and support. They may or may not be Christian. 

It wouldn’t hurt to do some research in your area to see which of these places are available for you to turn to:

Crisis Pregnancy Centers or Pregnancy Resource Centers. One of the best things about these places is that most, if not all, of their resources are completely free for the community to use. You have access to pregnancy tests, sexually transmitted infection tests, ultrasounds, parenting classes, baby clothes, post-abortion support, counseling, and referrals to maternity homes or adoption agencies. Since most CPCs or PRCs are non-profit, they’re able to make sure that anyone they come in contact with will get the resources they need without any cost to them. If cost is an issue, then I really recommend finding one near you.

Look for a church. Again, this may seem daunting, especially if you’re pregnant outside of marriage. As a Christian myself, my heart hurts for you, whether you’ve been “burned” by another church or you’re seeking to find people who want to love you. I will admit that some churches don’t do a great job of helping families who are going through an unplanned pregnancy.

However, most churches that help their local CPCs or PRCs will welcome you with open arms. These congregations are more than willing to help you regardless if you decide to keep the baby or place him or her with an adoptive family. If you feel looked down on or judged, then go find another church. Odds are, there are a plethora of different churches in your area. You just need to find the right one where you feel respected and loved as well as families that will keep you accountable to ensure your success.

The adoption community. If you’re just weighing your options or are seriously considering adoption, everyone involved in this amazing community is here for you and wants to ensure you’re being seen and heard. You have access to those who work in adoption agencies, the adoptive families you’ll come across, and other birth families. The Gladney Center of Adoption has many resources for men and women who are thinking about adoption.

You have the opportunity to talk to birth mothers about your struggles and get their perspective, especially since they’ve walked a mile in your shoes. This can be through a one-on-one conversation or a birth mother support group. Also, you have access to counseling 24/7 to ask questions and receive answers. Even if you don’t decide to do adoption, talking to an options counselor is still a good idea to have someone else assist you with your other options. There are a few different ways to contact Gladney – text, email, or phone call. Get in touch with someone as soon as possible.

Take Care of Yourself

This is also extremely important – you need to take care of yourself. Not just for yourself, but for the little one growing inside of you. You’re already muddling through the hormones and emotions that come with pregnancy, so it may be a lot easier said than done.

However, there are many things you can do that are extremely simple:

Go to a medical professional. Whether it’s a midwife or an OB/GYN, you need to get medical assistance to make sure that everything is progressing smoothly. Don’t let the fear of finances let that control you from getting check-ups. Most states allow you to sign up for Medicaid if you’re pregnant and don’t have insurance. In addition to this, some adoption agencies (if you choose adoption) will help you with the medical costs.

Take prenatal vitamins. It’s imperative to make sure that you’re getting all the nutrients you need, especially now that you’re growing a human. This ensures that you and your baby have everything you both need while taking a pill once a day. My recommendation is getting the prenatal gummy vitamins. They’re not as hard on your stomach and they taste like candy. 

Try to eat healthily and be active. Trust me, this is much easier said than done. Sometimes you have the weirdest pregnancy cravings or your morning sickness is so bad that you can only keep down a few types of food. If your pregnancy is looking good and you don’t have gestational diabetes, then your doctor will usually not put restrictions on your diet. In early pregnancy, they just want to make sure you’re eating and getting something in your body. Morning sickness can be rough at times.

Not only that, growing a human is hard work! You’ll be amazed at how exhausted you feel rolling out of bed in the morning. Doing simple exercises like housework or going on a walk is a good way to keep moving without putting stress on your body. However, if you’re already pretty active, it’s safe to keep exercising as you were before you became pregnant. That being said, always talk to a medical professional to make sure it’s okay to proceed.

Protect your mental health. Unfortunately, pregnancy brings a lot of raging hormones and emotions. You may be feeling happy one minute and then crying over a commercial on TV the next minute. While this is completely normal and usually harmless, you need to be in tune with how you’re doing. If you’re feeling extremely depressed or anxious, then you need to talk to a doctor or counselor. It’s possible that you may need to try methods to curb those emotions, such as therapy, more frequent check-ups, or even medication. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking medications during pregnancy, as long as they’re safe and have been approved by your doctor. Of course, I’m not saying that you can get all your problems solved by taking a pill every day. 

You can try these methods to help your anxiety or depression:

  • Deep breathing
  • Journaling
  • Talking to other people
  • Finding a hobby
  • Grounding techniques

Consider Your Options

Now it comes down to your future. Again, unplanned pregnancy and the baby that comes with it don’t disrupt your future but enhance it. If you’re thinking about keeping your baby, then that’s great. There are many resources out there for you and people equipped with tools to help you. Check out the PRCs or CPCs in your area since they’ll usually have programs tailored towards moms and dads who decide to keep their baby. Other programs will either go through the state like WIC, which helps families provide food for themselves and their children. Do some research in your area to see what other non-profits help out families in their communities. Another example is Love INC, a Christian organization that helps struggling people with anything from food, diapers, furniture, etc.

Another option you have is adoption. I mentioned before that the adoption community is very welcoming and warm. Try to find an adoption agency that meets your needs. Most of them have financial assistance if distance or cost is an issue for you. Once you choose your adoption agency, you will have a caseworker assigned to you that will help you make the adoption plan. Your adoption plan consists of details like what you want in a family, what kind of relationship you want with your baby, and what the day you go into labor and give birth will look like.

You’ll be able to see parent profiles on the agency’s website or your caseworker will have a folder full of profiles to flip through. After you’ve chosen a family, you can start your relationship with them and can, if you so choose, maintain that throughout your life and your baby’s life. 

It really just depends on how comfortable you are and how much you want to be involved. Do you want to talk to your baby and the adoptive family frequently and visit as often as you can? Then open adoption would be right for you. Are you wanting to be somewhat involved at a distance with getting updates and pictures here and there? Semi-open adoption might be a better option for you. Or perhaps you just want privacy and think that not having a relationship is an easier way for you to heal and move on. You can choose a closed adoption in that case. Just know that your choices will be respected and you need to go with your gut. What happens if you change your mind about anything? That’s okay, too. Everyone is here to help you make the best decisions for you and your baby.

There are a lot of unplanned pregnancy basics to follow, but it’s all for a good purpose: the health of you and your child. Every aspect of your health is important, whether it’s mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual. Find a community of people who want to love you and support you if you don’t have that already. There are support groups, other birth parents, churches, and pregnancy centers full of great individuals and families.

Get in touch with a doctor to ensure your pregnancy is moving along nicely and in the event of complications, you will be prepared. Find resources out there to help you whether you choose to keep the baby or find a forever family. Please remember to take care of yourself and that you’re really not alone. It may be daunting to ask for help, but people want to look out for you. Take a deep breath and find someone to lean on during and after your unplanned pregnancy. 

Emily Perez

Emily Perez is a stay-at-home mama to two sweet boys and wife to a handsome electrician living the small-town life in Idaho. She has a BS in Elementary Education from Eastern Oregon University and loved teaching 2nd grade. When she was younger, her parents did foster care and adopted 5 kiddos from all walks of life to be her siblings. She hopes to do foster care and adoption in the future. Along with adoption, her other passions include advocating for mental health and special needs. Emily enjoys being with family and friends, snuggling her babies, playing the piano, singing, reading, and writing. Coffee is her go-to drink for fuel and she loves anything chocolate!