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Facing an Unplanned Pregnancy? Start Here.

Unplanned Pregnancy Help, Your Options and More

If your life has come to a halt because of an unplanned pregnancy, American Adoptions is here to help you move forward with the unwanted pregnancy option that’s right for you. Call 1-800-ADOPTION at any time to get free, unbiased support.

There are resources available to you, and American Adoptions is one of those resources.

The first thing we’d like to make clear is that, in general, there are three options for every unintended pregnancy in the United States:

  • Parenting

  • Abortion

  • Adoption

As an adoption agency, we want you to understand all of the benefits adoption could have in your life, but this article is not intended to sway you toward any one unexpected pregnancy choice. We know that every woman’s situation is different, and you are the only person who can decide what is best for your unplanned pregnancy. To get free unexpected pregnancy advice and information about all of your options — not just adoption — call 1-800-ADOPTION today.

In the meantime, whether you are considering parenting, abortion or adoption for your child, there are some things you should know about how to move forward with your surprise pregnancy.

What is Unplanned Pregnancy?

Sometimes it can be helpful to define unplanned pregnancy. There are a few important things to know:

  • An unplanned, accidental or unintended pregnancy is not necessarily synonymous with an unwanted pregnancy

  • The unintended pregnancy definition simply refers to the accidental conception of a child

  • Accidental pregnancies are common and can happen to people from all different backgrounds

  • Nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned

For some women, an unplanned pregnancy can come as a pleasant surprise. For others, an unintentional pregnancy is an undesired pregnancy; there are many reasons why a woman might not want to be pregnant, and that’s OK. Either way, nobody should make assumptions about what you intend to do with your unplanned pregnancy, just as it is important to make sure you have access to pregnancy help, should you require it.

While the unplanned pregnancy definition sometimes carries negative stigmas or connotations, it’s important to remember that if you are pregnant by accident, you are far from alone. You have options for moving forward, and you can take control of your situation to make the best decision for your future.

What to Know About Unplanned Pregnancies

Getting pregnant by accident can come as a shock, but it’s important to know that unintended pregnancies are more common than you might think. You are not the first woman to become accidentally pregnant, and you won’t be the last. In fact:

  • Approximately 45 percent of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended pregnancies.

  • 27 percent of pregnancies are deemed “mistimed,” which means that a woman did want to become pregnant at some point in the future, but not right now

  • Approximately 18 percent of pregnancies are considered unwanted, which means that the woman did not wish to become pregnant then or at any point in the future

Whether your unintended pregnancy is unwanted or just mistimed, know that you always have options.

If You Are Considering Parenting:

Even if you initially got pregnant accidentally, you may decide that you are ready and excited to raise this child. If you want to parent your baby, no one should ever attempt to convince you to do anything else.

You and you alone are qualified to make this decision about your unintended pregnancy, and there are many resources available to you should you need help parenting. However, if you’re on the fence, you may want to consider the following factors:

  • Can you afford to raise a baby right now? The average cost to parent a child until the age of 18 was estimated at just over $245,000 in 2013 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This is a number that will only continue to rise and can be even more overwhelming if you accidentally got pregnant and haven’t been financially preparing for a child.

  • Will the father of your child be present to help you raise him or her? Of course, being a successful single mother is absolutely possible, but it may be difficult to raise your baby if you don’t have a reliable support system.

  • Can you provide the kind of life you envision for your child right now? Think about the type of home environment and opportunities you want for your baby. Will your current situation allow you to provide that? If not, are there changes you can start making now to prepare for a child?

  • Do you wish to become a mother at this point — or ever? Maybe now is not the right time for you to become a parent; if you are currently pursuing career or educational goals, an unexpected baby could alter your plans. Or, maybe you don’t ever see yourself becoming a parent, and that’s completely okay.

If you are unexpectedly pregnant and decide you are ready and excited to parent your baby, that may be all you need to make your decision. But, if not, there is absolutely no shame in not wishing or feeling ready to parent your baby when faced with an unintentional pregnancy.

If You Are Considering Abortion:

Abortion is another option if you have become pregnant accidentally within the United States. This is a touchy and sensationalized subject, so we’d like you to keep two things in mind if you are considering abortion. First, know that the laws regarding abortion vary in every state, so it’s important to research those based on where you live. Second, because abortion is such a controversial subject, it’s vital that you stick to reliable sources such as the Guttmacher Institute for unwanted pregnancy advice.

If You Are Considering Adoption:

If you are experiencing an unexpected pregnancy and considering adoption, you’ve come to the right place. We believe that the first step in thinking about adoption for your baby is to learn more about it, and we’ve gathered the following articles in an attempt to help you do so. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 1-800-ADOPTION with any questions.

The following articles can help you consider different aspects of this unplanned pregnancy option:

  • Things to Consider About an Unplanned Pregnancy: If you’ve just found yourself facing a surprise pregnancy, there are some things you’ll want to do first. Confirm with your doctor, accept any feelings of anger or depression you may have and decide who to tell or not tell that you are unexpectedly pregnant. It's okay to feel stressed and overwhelmed when you learn of an unplanned pregnancy, but it’s also important that you begin working through your emotions and options. This article is a great place to start if you are looking for unplanned pregnancy help.

  • Unplanned Pregnancy CounselingBecoming accidentally pregnant can evoke a range of emotions that are hard to process. At American Adoptions, we offer 24/7 counseling to women experiencing unintentional pregnancies — whether you ultimately pursue adoption or not. We can provide the same free, unbiased pregnancy help for you when you call us at 1-800-ADOPTION.

  • Thinking About Adoption and Your Unplanned Pregnancy: When experiencing an unexpected pregnancy, there are four main areas where you will need help organizing your thoughts and making decisions: your unplanned pregnancy options, how your friends and family will be included, how your child will be affected, and how you will be affected. This article gives some unplanned pregnancy advice in each of these areas if you are considering adoption for your baby.

  • How to Cope with an Unwanted PregnancyAccepting an unplanned pregnancy may not be easy, but it’s important that you do so before making a decision about how to proceed. If you are struggling to process this news or feeling overwhelmed by your circumstances, start here for the unexpected pregnancy help you need to move forward.

  • Unwanted Second/Third Pregnancy:  If this is your second or third pregnancy, your emotions and plan of action may be different, and that’s okay. First-time moms aren’t the only ones who may need help when pregnant unexpectedly; this article offers unplanned or unwanted pregnancy help and information for women who are pregnant a second, third, fourth time or more.

“I knew that she would have everything I knew she deserved. She would have amazing opportunities for education, she would have a loving and devoted family and be able to travel and see this amazing world we live in…Ten years later, and I am now going to school to begin my career as a Medical Practice Manager, and I honestly don’t think I would be in this place if it wasn’t for the support I received from American Adoptions,” said Brittnee about her adoption story.

If you choose American Adoptions to place your child for adoption, you will have support every step of the way. Even if you’re not sure, our adoption specialists will help walk you through all the potential unplanned pregnancy paths you could take.

With our founder being an adoptee, and many of our staff members have gone through the adoption process as adoptive parents and birth parents, we have ample adoption experience to offer you firsthand perspective and informed support. We understand that you just want to do what is best for you and your baby and will do all we can to make sure you feel educated about all of your options.

Help — I’m Pregnant and Don’t Know What to Do

Getting pregnant by accident can be scary and overwhelming — but you do not have to sort these feelings on your own. As you research your options, we hope you remember that American Adoptions is always available to offer unplanned pregnancy counseling and information.

We’re dedicated to providing help for pregnancy and assisting you in making the right choice for you, whether or not that choice ends up being adoption. An unplanned or undesired pregnancy, while surprising, is not the end of the world, and there are plenty of help and resources out there.

To get more information about adoption or your other unplanned pregnancy options, contact us at 1-800-ADOPTION. 

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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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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