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Unplanned Second Pregnancy, Third or Fourth Pregnancy [How to Explore Your Options]

If you’re facing an unplanned pregnancy when you already have a child (or children) and you’re not sure you are equipped to raise another, you have options, including parenting, adoption, and abortion.

You know the realities of pregnancy and parenting, and now you’re asking yourself: What do I do?

American Adoptions can help. You can call 1-800-ADOPTION at any time to get free, unbiased support and information on all of your options — not just adoption.

It’s important to remember that an unexpected second or third pregnancy doesn’t mean you have to parent your child. You have the same unplanned pregnancy options as every other pregnant woman, whether this is:

  • An unwanted second pregnancy

  • An unplanned third pregnancy

  • Or even an unintended fourth, fifth or sixth pregnancy. 

Here's what you need to know.

What are my options if I’m experiencing an unexpected second pregnancy or third pregnancy?

If you are facing an unplanned second pregnancy or don’t want to be pregnant a third time, you can choose any of the following three unplanned pregnancy options, just like any other woman:

1. Parenting           

The first question you should ask yourself when considering your unwanted second pregnancy options is, “Am I ready to be a parent again?”

If you already have a child, you know exactly how much time, energy and resources parenting requires. Are you ready to add another child to your household? Consider the following:

  • Raising a child until the age of 18 costs an average of $245,000, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This is a lot to add to a household that’s already providing for other children.

  • The average cost for the necessary prenatal care and a baby’s delivery is around $8,800, according to the March of Dimes. This may be a financial strain on top of caring for other children.

  • Will adding another child to your household detract from the limited time and energy you can spend with your other child/children?

  • Do you wish to add another child to your household?

Practicalities aside, it’s okay to feel that you don’t want to become a mother again. If you feel ready and able to parent your child, no one should ever attempt to tell you otherwise. But if you are thinking, “I’m pregnant with a second child — and I don’t want it," you may want to consider your other options.

2. Abortion

Abortion is easily the most controversial of the three unplanned pregnancy options. For this reason, remember to stick with trusted sources like the Guttmacher Institute when doing any research regarding this topic. If you are considering abortion, you’ll want to do the following:

  • Speak with your doctor about your abortion options and any potential health concerns or risks you may have based on your individual medical history.

  • Research the laws in your state regarding abortion. As they vary greatly in every state, it’s possible that you may need to undergo mandatory counseling or a waiting period.

  • If you are a minor, it’s possible that you may need parental permission.

  • It is unlikely that you will be able to receive public funding or help from your insurance, but these are options you will want to research as well.

If you don’t feel that abortion is the right choice for you but don’t wish to parent, there is still one additional option for an unplanned second pregnancy or unexpected third pregnancy.

3. Adoption

Adoption is frequently forgotten about when women are pregnant with a second child and not excited about it, but it’s absolutely an option for you.

Regardless of whether or not you have other children, American Adoptions can work with you to pursue an adoption plan for your baby. If this is something you’re hesitant about, here are some things to consider:

  • Adoption allows you to develop a relationship with your child without parenting. How? By choosing open adoption, you can watch your child grow up to be happy and healthy and develop a bond with his or her adoptive parents as well. The children you are raising will get to know their biological sister or brother.

  • You get to choose your child’s adoptive family. This means that you can place your child in exactly the home environment you envision him or her growing up in.

  • You will have access to free pregnancy counseling each step of the way. If you need help talking to your other children about your adoption decision, we’re there. If you need help with adoption financial assistance, we’re there. And if you just need a listening ear to work through your emotions regarding your unwanted second pregnancy? You guessed it. We’re there.

“Jeff and Amanda are wonderful, and I am so thankful I could give them such a gift. We still email and I get pictures. Our little boy is so handsome. They are amazing parents, and I know my son has a huge family who loves and cares so much for him. I am forever thankful for that. Jeff and Amanda saved my baby’s life! With having three kids already, I know what I needed to do,” said Candice, a birth mom who chose adoption for the baby after already having three children.

You have options available to you to help you move forward with your unplanned pregnancy. Our recommendation is to breathe, to research your options, and to contact us today at 1-800-ADOPTION to get guidance with the above unwanted second pregnancy options could look like for you and your family.

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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