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Unplanned Pregnancy: Your Options

At bpas we accept that unplanned pregnancies happen and that every woman has the right to decide for herself how to deal with the situation. We know that you might be finding it hard to make a decision about what to do.

The ideas presented here are based on our experience of talking to up to 65,000 women every year who are faced with an unplanned pregnancy. It's not meant to encourage you to make any particular decision - instead it offers ideas that we know other women have found helpful.

Have you confirmed your pregnancy?
If you haven't, then your first step is to get a pregnancy test. You can buy a home test from any pharmacy or the pharmacist can do the test for you. bpas offers a free pregnancy testing service. You may also be able to get a free test from your GP, health centre or family planning clinic. Click here for more information on pregnancy testing.

If you have confirmed you are pregnant, then you have three options open to you:

  1. Continue the pregnancy and place the baby for adoption or fostering
  2. Continue the pregnancy and become a parent
  3. End the pregnancy with abortion, if you are legally able to do so

So how do you feel about being pregnant?
We understand that you might have mixed feelings about being pregnant when you didn’t plan to be. Whatever your feelings, everyone will react differently. To help you think about how you feel at the moment, we know that many women find it helpful to write down a list of different feelings.

You can ask yourself questions like these below:

"What are my hopes and plans for the future?

How would I feel about achieving those plans and hopes if I......

become a parent / place the baby up for adoption / end the pregnancy?"

"What are the two or three things which matter most to me in my life now?

Will I have to lose or give up something if I.......

become a parent / place the baby up for adoption / end the pregnancy?"

"What are the two or three things that I hope to achieve over the next five to ten years?

What will I lose or give up in the next five to ten years if I......

become a parent / place the baby up for adoption / end the pregnancy?"

"How would other people who matter to me (such as partner, family and friends) react to me if I....

become a parent / place the baby up for adoption / end the pregnancy"

"Most importantly, considering my own values and beliefs, how would I feel if I.......

become a parent / place the baby up for adoption / end the pregnancy?"

Your choices
You might find it helpful to know a bit more about how other women felt when they looked at the different choices. Here are some of the statements they often make, have a look at them and perhaps write down any other thoughts you have.

Becoming a parent

Keeping your baby

Having the baby and putting it up for adoption or fostering

Putting up your baby for adoption or fostering

Having an abortion

Having an abortion

So how do you feel now?
After looking at the information on this page, you may still have mixed feelings.

Making a decision can be difficult and frightening. Our experience in talking to other women in the same situation is that it helps if you can be clear about your feelings and why you have them. You could list some questions like the ones we have shown here and explore how you feel. To see how you are feeling at the moment, try to finish each of these sentences:

"The idea of having a baby makes me
feel........................................................................................................................................
because ................................................................................................................................"

"The idea of placing the baby for adoption makes me
feel........................................................................................................................................
because ................................................................................................................................"

"The idea of having an abortion makes me
feel........................................................................................................................................
because ................................................................................................................................"

What if I still don't know?
It's natural to continue to have conflicting feelings about each choice. You may find that, whatever choice you make, it still won’t feel like the perfect decision.

Ask yourself "Can I live with those feelings?" If the answer is "Yes", then you are ready to decide.

If you are still unsure, you may need more information about your choices or talk to someone you trust - they won’t be able to decide for you but may be able to help you decide what you think will be best for you. That person could be a parent or another member of your family, your partner or a close friend. Alternatively you can make an appointment to talk to someone impartial at bpas.

Try not to put your decision off for too long.

If you do decide to continue with your pregnancy, it is important that you start having antenatal care so that you and your baby are healthy. If you decide to have an abortion, the earlier it is carried out, the easier and safer it will be.

If you need more information You can contact a number of organisations for advice or written information, although bpas accepts no responsibility for the advice or information given by other organisations.

Please be aware that some organisations advertising free pregnancy testing and counselling on the internet and in phone books are strongly opposed to abortion. They will not discuss all the options available to you in an unbiased way. If they talk about abortion as an option for you at all, it may involve unevidenced or untrue claims, or statistics that are not reliable. They may not provide you with any information on how to access abortion treatment.

Before you make any pregnancy counseling appointments, we would recommend that you ask the organisation whether they will be able to refer you for abortion treatment if you decide on that option. There is a list of registered Pregnancy Advice Bureaux on the Department of Health’s website. These have all met the Department of Health’s required standards on accurate and balanced information-giving, because they refer for abortion. Click here to view the list of registered Pregnancy Advice Bureaux, which includes bpas centres. Although there are other reputable organisations that are not included on this list, it's a good place to search for impartial pregnancy counselling.

bpas
bpas is a registered charity and provides a national network of 40 centres offering pregnancy testing, consultation on unplanned pregnancy, abortion, emergency contraception, and vasectomy.

You can book an appointment with bpas to talk things through, or to explore the abortion options available to you dependent on your stage of pregnancy and circumstances. Click here to make an appointment at bpas.

bpas can help in the following ways:

  • If you are unclear which option would be most suitable for you – we can book you in for a consultation to discuss your options further.
  • If you are clear that you want an abortion, we can book you in for a consultation and in certain circumstances, we may also be able to book a provisional treatment appointment. However, proceeding to this treatment will be dependent upon the outcome of your consultation.
  • If you are clear that you are interested in adoption you should contact a relevant agency to discuss this option further. Contact details for suitable agencies are available from the British Association for Adoption and Fostering.
  • If you wish to keep the baby, you should contact your GP to be referred into ante natal care.

fpa (Family Planning Association)
fpa work to improve sexual health awareness across the UK. To find your local family planning centre click here to visit the fpa website.

Brook
Brook provides information on contraception and sexual health for young people up to the age of 25. Brook helpline (For contraceptive advice): 0800 0185 023. Click here to visit the Brook website.

Citizens Advice Bureau
Find your local centre from the yellow pages, directory enquiries or visit the Citizens Advice website.

Rape Crisis
Find your local centre from the yellow pages, directory enquiries or visit the Rape Crisis website.

Benefits
For information regarding maternity allowance, child benefits, child tax credit and support, telephone the public enquiry office (for benefits information): 020 7712 2171 or visit the DWP website.

For information and advice if you continue your pregnancy:

National Childbirth Trust
The NCT are a charity for parents. They provide information and support to parents through pregnancy, birth and early days of parenthood.

NCT
Alexander House
Oldham Terrace
London
W3 6NH

Helpline (for information and advice on pregnancy and birth): 0870 444 8709. Click here to visit the NCT website.

For information and advice on adoption and fostering:

British Association for Adoption & Fostering
BAAF work with everyone involved with adoption and fostering across the UK. Click here for advice and information if you are pregnant and thinking of adoption. Telephone: 020 7421 2600.

The Government
Click here for more information about fostering and adoption. Telephone: 0870 000 2288.

Social Services
Contact your local social services via your local council to discuss how to put a child up for adoption in your area.