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What to Do When You're 13 and Pregnant [You Can Always Choose Adoption]

Your Unplanned Pregnancy Options

As a 13-year-old experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, you might be worried about your options, your future and how your parents will react. Here's what you need to know if you're pregnant at 13:

  • By choosing adoption, we can create a plan that ensures your adoption journey is safe, smooth and based on your needs. Call 1-800-ADOPTION now for basic information.
  • You are in control of your adoption, including choosing an adoptive family that you feel is best suited to raise your child. 
  • Free 24/7 counselingfinancial assistance, medical care and legal representation are just a few of the many services we provide.  

“Now that I’m 13 and pregnant, what do I do?” 

Being pregnant is an overwhelming situation to be in for any woman. But if you are pregnant at age 13, you will be dealing with circumstances you probably have never even considered at this time in your life. 

In many ways, when you are pregnant at 13, you are still a child yourself. You may have just entered puberty a few years ago, and you are probably completely dependent upon your parents for care, support and shelter. How can you expect to give birth to and raise a child yourself? 

We know that you’re scared and not sure where to turn — it’s completely normal. Know this: You are not the first pregnant 13-year-old, and you won’t be the last.  

Many of our adoption specialists are adoptees, adoptive parents, or birth mothers, so we know what you’re feeling and experiencing. It’s our goal to make sure your adoption experience is safe, smooth and as life-changing as ours have been. We are on your team and want to help guide you through your pregnancy, the adoption process and help you find the perfect adoptive family for your baby. 

You are not alone in this journey and we are here to provide the support you need. If you’re 13 years old and pregnant, please reach out to our counselors at 1-800-ADOPTION. They are trained to help young women in your situation, and they will be here to answer your questions and offer advice for moving forward. You can visit us online to get more information. Adoptive families can fill out our online information form to get more information on how to adopt. 

Here are the steps for your unplanned teenage pregnancy

Step 1: Talking to Your Parents or Another Trusted Adult. 

If you’re pregnant at 13, you may be avoiding telling your parents about your news. You’re probably scared about how they will react to you saying, “I’m 13 and pregnant.”

Your parents will likely be initially shocked and upset at your pregnancy — but remember that they are and will always be your parents. They will always love you, no matter what you do, and they will be there to help you get through this situation. 

Telling your parents is the first thing that you should do when you find out that you are pregnant. Whichever unplanned pregnancy option you choose, you will need their help to follow through with your plan.  

If you’re worried about how to explain your pregnancy to your parents, take the time to write down a plan for this conversation. Tell them what you want them to know, and be clear about what kind of support you want from them.  

If you are not ready to tell your parents, please tell another trusted parental figure in your life — perhaps an aunt or a grandma. They can help you prepare for the conversation with your parents, and it may help you to have another adult there when you break this news about being 13 years old and pregnant. 

Step 2: Schedule a Doctor Appointment. 

The second thing you’ll need to do if you are pregnant at 13 is to visit a family planning clinic or another medical clinic.

Every pregnant woman should receive prenatal care as soon as possible, especially if she is planning to continue her pregnancy. When you are a pregnant 13-year-old, there are some added risks of pregnancy; your body may not be fully developed enough to carry a child to term and have a safe delivery. A doctor can answer all of your questions and make sure you receive the care you need to keep you safe and healthy. 

Your doctor can also talk to you about your medical options for pregnancy. They can answer your questions about abortion and pregnancy to help you decide which unplanned pregnancy path is best for you

Having your parents’ support during this time can be crucial, as they may understand the medical terms better than you and can help give your doctor the medical information he or she may need. 

Step 3: Receive Unplanned Pregnancy Counseling. 

If you are 13 years old and pregnant, your pregnancy likely has not been planned — which is why you’ll need informative, objective unplanned pregnancy counseling before making your decision.

As a 13-year-old, you have no idea what is involved with all of your unplanned pregnancy options. A counselor can talk to you about your situation and help you understand what your choice may mean for the rest of your life. 

Here are some things that you’ll learn about these options when you receive counseling: 


Abortion is a relatively safe unplanned pregnancy option but, because you are so young, you may need parental permission to obtain this procedure. Abortion can also cost hundreds to thousands of dollars.

However, this procedure does not impact your ability to carry a future pregnancy and will prevent your body from having to go through the challenges of pregnancy when it is still developing. 


It is practically impossible for a young woman of your age to be a mother without support from loved ones.

At 13, you are legally unable to work, which means you cannot provide the financial support your child needs as he or she grows up. You probably still rely on your parents to support you, so they will have to be ready to support their grandchild if you choose to parent. 

Think hard about these realities before you decide to keep your baby. 


If you want to give your child the best life possible, you may consider placing them for adoption with a family who is prepared for the challenges of being a parent.

Even though you are 13, you will be in charge of your whole adoption process.

You can choose the family you wish your child to be raised by, as well as what kind of relationship you want to have with them and your baby for years to come. Your adoption specialist will work with you to make sure you receive the support you need.  

To learn more about your unplanned pregnancy options right now, please call 1-800-ADOPTION. 

Step 4: Make an Adoption Plan for Your Unexpected Teenage Pregnancy. 

An adoption plan is essentially a playbook for your entire experience. It serves as a guide -- based on your needs and what’s best for you -- to help you navigate each step of the adoption process when pregnant at 13 years old. 

Included in your adoption plan: 

  • Deciding what you envision for an adoptive family and using those specifications to find available family profiles to view. 
  • Picking an adoptive family for your child. 
  • In an open adoption and with the help of your adoption professional, meeting the adoptive family via email, phone call, video chat or an in-person visit. 
  • Creating an adoption hospital plan that lays out exactly what you want during your time at the hospital. Who will be at the hospital with you? Will your mom and dad be in the delivery room? How much time do you want to spend with the baby? Questions such as these are all part of the decision-making process you are in full control of for your stay at the hospital. 
  • The amount of communication and openness you want with the adoptive family as well as with your child post-placement. Open and “semi-open” adoption is a way to keep you connected during and after the official completion of your adoption. You can continue to be a part of your child’s life and share a life-long relationship and bond with the adoptive family.  

If you have decided on adoption as your unplanned pregnancy option, you can start creating a plan for moving forward.

Your adoption specialist will take you through each step and provide you with the necessary information to help you make informed decisions about what you want in an adoption plan. You are in complete control of your adoption and we will make sure your experience meets your every need. 

Get More Information on Placing Your Child for Adoption at 13   

Michelle, a birth parent specialist and a birth parent herself, is ready to answer any questions you have about putting a baby up for adoption.          

“I am available to answer any questions that arise, particularly from birth moms, as I have been in your shoes and know how you are feeling,” Michelle said. “It was most helpful to me when I had someone to talk to who would just listen to me without making any judgments or conclusions about who I was as a person.”         

You can ask Michelle questions about the adoption process online. You can also call us at 1-800-ADOPTION, or get free information with our online contact form for prospective birth mothers considering adoption here. Adoptive families wanting more information on adopting a child can click here to get more information.  

If your pregnancy is a result of rape, incest or statutory rape, please contact your local authorities immediately or tell a trusted adult, such as a guidance counselor or friend’s parent. 

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is American Adoptions the right adoption agency choice for many birth mothers?

American Adoptions is one of the largest licensed adoption agencies in the United States. Each year, we work with thousands of women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy and offer assistance to these women. Our large, caring staff is able to assist you seven days a week and provide you with one-on-one counseling about your pregnancy and available options.

You should choose an adoption agency where you feel completely comfortable with their services and staff. With American Adoptions, you will work with an Adoption Specialist who is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Adoption Specialist will be your advocate and will provide support and guidance as you create an adoption plan that is right for you.

How will the family tell my child about me and the adoption when my child is older?

Each family has their own style of introducing adoption to the child. When you are matched with an adoptive family, you can ask them this question. If you would like your Adoption Specialist to discuss it for you, just let her know. He or she can share your wishes or provide good ideas from other adoptive families.

You will also be able to share what you want your baby to know about you. You can complete a keepsake booklet to share hobbies, stories, photos of you and your family and a letter to your baby. The adoptive family can provide this to your child as he or she grows older. Be as creative as you like! Some birth mothers have even knitted a special blanket as a gift to their baby or given a similar symbol of their love.

The father of your baby can fill out the birth father's keepsake booklet or write a letter too. You may have other family members who would also like to share photos or a letter to the baby. This is your opportunity to pass on your and your family's love and to share your personality, history and reasons for choosing adoption. The adoptive family will treasure whatever information you provide and will share it with the baby at an appropriate age. In most adoptive homes, the word adoption is in the child's vocabulary early on, and adoption is celebrated in their lives.

Additional Resources

Teen Pregnancy - Information for Young Women

While not every woman who chooses adoption is a young mother, many are. Through adoption, many young women have found an ability to give their babies the best life possible, while finding the opportunity to realize their own dreams, as well. Call American Adoptions today at 1-800-ADOPTION.

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Adoption Glossary

Do adoption terms and phrases leave you feeling confused? Learn the meaning to key adoption words and phrases with our comprehensive adoption glossary.

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