Unexpected or unplanned pregnancy can shake you to your core – especially if you feel alone, unsupported, or pressured into aborting your baby. You are likely feeling all sorts of emotions; fear, confusion, anxiety, and more. There is help, hope and support out there – no matter your situation.

Below are five steps recommended for women just finding out they are pregnant and not sure what to do next.

1. Don’t Panic

Though you may be shocked to have a positive pregnancy test, don’t allow yourself to go into panic mode.  No good decisions come out of desperation.  When you feel panic coming on, use breathing techniques such as deep belly breathing to overcome those initial feelings.  Whatever you are imagining, it is likely far worse than reality.

2. Get a Doctor’s Appointment Scheduled

Begin to look for medical resources nearby.  For some, a crisis pregnancy center may be a good option.  For others, finding an OBGYN will be your next step.   It is important for you to begin to receive healthcare.  They will confirm the pregnancy, test for any sexually transmitted diseases, determine a due date, provide vitamins, measure your belly, listen for a fetal heartbeat, and provide necessary information for you regarding pregnancy.

If you are without insurance, you likely will become eligible for Medicaid once you have a positive pregnancy test confirmed.  That means your pregnancy-related medical costs will likely be covered.

3. Don’t Rush into any Decisions

In determining what to do about pregnancy, the worst trap to fall into is making a decision without thinking all your options through.  A quick decision is usually based in emotion rather than logic.  Rather than rush to a conclusion, consider yourself a researcher of information.

Most people know there are basically three options; abortion, adoption or parenting. But, most people do not know the various details of each option.

Often times, abortion can seem like an option that will take all your worries away, but there are serious facts to consider about the consequences that choice will have for you now and for you long term.  Seek advice on both sides of the issue.  Your research might well include speaking to a woman who had an abortion and regrets it.  Find out why.

Perhaps you think you could never consider adoption. Encourage yourself to dig deeper into that issue.  Why could you not consider it? Is that decision based on you and your feelings or on what is best for your child?  Press yourself to get all the facts about this option and then decide what is best.

4. Get Trusted Advice

Trusted advice can take many forms, but for many young women, their normal source of information may feel “off limits” because she is afraid to tell her parents of her pregnancy.  If you have a safe relationship with your parents and they have always been trustworthy to you in the past, likely they will also be helpful to you at this time.  Overcoming your fear of revealing your pregnancy and talking to your parents may be an option for you; and if it is, we would recommend it.

Unfortunately, not everyone has a safe parental relationship.  Another trusted source of information is a pregnancy counselor.  Pregnancy Counselors, like those at Lutheran Family Service, can help guide you through decision making by providing facts and helping to “unpack” your specific situation with you.  Pregnancy Counseling is free at Lutheran Family Service and we work all over Iowa, Eastern Nebraska, and in the Northern and Central regions of Illinois.  We are simply a text or phone call away. Text “PregnancyHelp” to the number 56525 or call us at 1-877-510-2229.

5. Take a Moment to be Amazed at the Miracle

For many, finding out you’re pregnant is wonderful and anticipated news.  For them, their entire network of friends and family are rejoicing with her and sending their well wishes.

For those not expecting a pregnancy, or the pregnancy has come at an inconvenient time, there is not rejoicing, smiles, and well wishes.  Instead, you can feel isolated and alone.

The truth is you are not alone.  There is a tiny baby with you and he or she should be welcomed and revered, for this baby is a miracle just like you and every other person on earth.  Take a few minutes to learn about your baby’s stage of development, listen to their heartbeat, see her or him on an ultrasound.  Take a minute to consider this tiny person who shares your DNA, and for a time, your body.  It is truly a miracle and no matter what your current circumstances are, take a few minutes to consider this unique person who has newly been created.

Kim Laube – Life Ministries Director

Are you experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and would like to talk to a counselor to learn your options? Reach out using our Contact Us form, texting “PregnancyHelp” to 56525, or calling 1-877-510-2229.

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