What do you do if you find that you’re pregnant and you don’t think you’re ready to have a baby? Maybe your first instinct is to rush to an abortion clinic or provider and “fix the problem.” While the instinct to hurry up and fix things is understandable, here are a few things to keep in mind, from a medical perspective. For the same reason that you wouldn’t rush into any surgery or medical procedure without having all the information you need, you shouldn’t rush into abortion either.
Most women find out that they are pregnant right after their first missed period, which is early in the pregnancy. At this point, there is time to have a cautious approach and get as much information as you can. As many as 25% of early pregnancies end in miscarriage during the first trimester (up to the end of week 12). With that in mind, it’s important to find out some important things besides just having a positive pregnancy test. Here are some questions that need to be answered first:
Is my pregnancy where it is supposed to be? A pregnancy outside of the uterus is called an ectopic pregnancy, and though the risk is small (1 or 2% of all pregnancies), it does happen, and when it does, it can be life threatening. Only an ultrasound can tell you if your pregnancy is where it’s supposed to be. If your pregnancy isn’t seen inside the uterus, you need an immediate referral for further medical evaluation.
Is my pregnancy healthy, or viable? In other words, does my baby have a heartbeat and can it be measured? If the answer to that question is no, and a medical professional can’t find a heartbeat on ultrasound, you may be having a miscarriage. Until the heartbeat can be measured, the viability of the pregnancy can’t be confirmed.
How far along is my pregnancy? You may think you know how many weeks you are, but until your baby is measured, you don’t know for sure. What you thought was your last menstrual period may have been implantation bleeding (where the baby implants in the lining of the uterus), or you may have had irregular bleeding early in pregnancy. Irregular menstrual periods also cause confusion about how far along you may be. All these things can create confusion about how far along your pregnancy is. Until the gestational sac (where the baby grows) and the baby can be measured, you really don’t know for sure how far along you are.
As you are considering what to do, imagine yourself scheduling a surgery with no one telling you the all of the risks, or why you need it, nor having all the information about your situation. You wouldn’t think of doing that, so you should take the same approach when you’re considering what to do about an unplanned pregnancy.
Here at Advice and Aid, we would be happy to help you navigate this time in your life with compassion, support and as much information as we can provide.
The information is free, but the peace of mind is priceless!