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Parties are what people think of when they hear the word “surprise.” But pregnancies can be surprising as well.

“A very, very, very high percentage of pregnancies are unexpected,” says Felice Gersh, MD, author of “PCOS SOS: A Gynecologist’s Lifeline to Naturally Restore Your Rhythms, Hormones, and Happiness.”

Actually, about half of all pregnancies are not originally planned for!

If you are reading this, and you or your partner are unexpectedly pregnant, know that many other people have the same situation.

Different people make different decisions when they find out they are pregnant. It is a very personal decision to do something after a positive test.

In this article, you will learn about your options and potential next steps.

A positive pregnancy test result can cause a lot of shock and surprise.

Surprise pregnancies can lead to a variety of emotions, all of which are natural.

Stressed? Natural. Overjoyed? Natural. Freaked out? Natural. Suspicious? Natural. Calm? Natural.

You are going back and forth between emotions as you process the news, plan for the future, and plot your next steps.

“Gersh says that receiving a positive pregnancy test when you weren’t expecting one can create an emotional experience. It will take time to get used to.”

Be kind to yourself as you ride that wave of emotions. Try not to judge yourself on your emotions.

Take note of them and allow yourself to feel whatever you want.

You probably have a lot of questions about how far along your pregnancy is, what your options are, and what your next steps should be.

A healthcare professional should be able to answer all of your questions, plus questions you may not have thought of.

Finding care

“If you already have a primary care doctor or OB-GYN, you should make an appointment if you haven’t seen them in a while.”

“No worries, if you don’t have a doctor or a fan of yours, you can still get help. There are many ways to connect with a healthcare professional.”

Gersh says you can call a friend, local hospital or clinic for a recommendation. You can reach out to the health department in your county.

This article will show you how to avoid fake clinics.

Call immediately. It takes a while to get an appointment. The sooner you get the appointment arranged, the better.

What to expect

The first visit is needed to confirm your pregnancy and take inventory of your general health.

“It will include a basic physical exam where the doctor will listen to your heart, check your lungs, do a pelvic exam, and ask you all sorts of questions,” says Gersh.

The questions are designed to gather information about your last period, personal and family health history, previous pregnancies, and current and recent health conditions and prescriptions.

The answers to these questions will give you the information you need about your options, as well as the time frame surrounding those options.

It will give your doctor intel about how to make better recommendations about exercise, supplements, sleep, and more.

Expect to be.

  • pee in a cup to confirm pregnancy
  • get blood work checked
  • undergo screening for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • receive a pelvic exam, ultrasound, or both
  • Ask about your health history.
  • Discuss what you take with someone.
  • Tell us about any symptoms you are experiencing.

Questions to ask

Your clinician will ask questions. You can ask them questions. There are things you want to ask.

For example:

  • How far along is the baby?
  • Is the symptoms typical?
  • Is there a change I need to make to my routine?
  • Can I take the supplements and medications I am taking?
  • What are some symptoms that I should be worried about? When should I call you?
  • What options do I have?
  • Do you have any pamphlets about adoption?
  • How long do I have to decide?

The recent news cycle might make you feel like you don’t have options, but you do. Allow us to repeat: You DO have options.

The extent of your options and what those options look like will vary based on where you live, how far along the pregnancy is, and your preferences.

Parenting or co-parenting

Gersh says that a high percentage of pregnancies begin as planned and become wanted pregnancies once the parent has time to process the information.

She says that after you process the information, you may decide to continue the pregnancy and become a parent.


If you’re pregnant and know you don’t want to be a parent, you can either end the pregnancy (abortion) or carry the pregnancy to term and then allow someone else to be the parent (adoption).

Gersh says there are a variety of methods you can use for arranging an adoption. This includes word of mouth, parent profiles, and even social media.

It is never too late to consider adoption. Adoption is an option after you give birth.


You can also end your pregnancy. It is a decision that is yours to make and you can make it.

“Your timeline is variable for each state,” says Gersh. “Some states have [restrictions] 6 weeks from your missed period, while other states have [restrictions] 15 weeks from your last period.”

Trying to make sense of the limitations in your state? Our state-by-state guide to abortion restrictions can help.

You might know that you want to become a parent. Maybe you are still weighing your options. Maybe you don\’t want to add “parent” to your list.

Take inventory of your lifestyle wherever you are in the decision making process.

Gersh says that what is good for you is good for your baby.

If you want to support the health of your unborn child, make health-forward choices while you narrow down your options, or if you just want to update your own lifestyle, you can benefit from assessing it.

Gersh says that if you are pregnant, you should prioritize organic, fresh whole foods and a variety of them.

She says that you want to remove all alcohol and recreational drugs from your system.

Your medications are also important.

Gersh says that you should talk to your doctor and healthcare provider about what you take when you are pregnant. Many pharmaceutical and herbal medications are not meant to be taken duA ring. pregnancy.

Gersh recommends leaning on your support system if you plan to transition from a pregnant person to a parent.

The person who contributed to the pregnancy is included in your support system. That is also ok if not.

Gersh says that when you find out you are pregnant, you want to lean on your support system. No matter what you do about the baby, your support system will help you through the process.

If you don’t feel comfortable talking with someone in your personal network, you could also lean on a mental health professional, abortion or fertility doula, or a life coach.

There are lower cost options for therapy.

This is a good place to start.

You will probably want to gather more information about what continuing or not continuing the pregnancy will mean for you before you make a decision.

Take care to review the following resources.

Next, ask yourself some tough questions.

  • What do I want to do? Is my brain, heart, or gut giving me an answer?
  • How long do I have to make a decision?
  • Is my current finances enough to allow me to make a decision?
  • Who will be raising this child with me?
  • What is my support system like?
  • Is it worth it to become a parent in my current circumstances?
  • How would I feel about the decision in the future?

This step is not required. Your current pregnancy could have helped you realize you are ready to have a family.

“If this surprise isn’t welcome, now is a good time to think about how you can help prevent future pregnancies.”

If you know for a fact that you never want to become pregnant again, you might consider a permanent pregnancy prevention option, like tubal ligation, says Gersh.

“You could also ask your partner(s) to receive a vasectomy if you’re not planning to have intercourse with anyone else,” explains Gersh.

You could consider a hormonal or nonhormonal birth control option if you wanted to.

This guide to different birth control methods can help you figure out which type(s) is best suited for your individual needs.

“Emergency contraception isn’t birth control,” says Gersh.

“But if somebody doesn’t use birth control — or has a birth control mishap — it can be helpful to remember that there are a variety of emergency contraceptive methods that can be an option within a set amount of time after unprotected intercourse.”

Learn about your options for emergency contraception.

If you just found out you are pregnant, you might be feeling a lot of emotions.

As you process this new information, remember that all of the emotional reactions are normal.

What steps you choose to take now that you have this information are also ok.

Gabrielle Kassel (she/her) is a queer sex educator and wellness journalist who is committed to helping people feel the best they can in their bodies. In addition to Healthline, her work has appeared in publications such as Shape, Cosmopolitan, Well+Good, Health, Self, Women’s Health, Greatist, and more! In her free time, Gabrielle can be found coaching CrossFit, reviewing pleasure products, hiking with her border collie, or recording episodes of the podcast she co-hosts called Bad In Bed. Follow her on Instagram @Gabriellekassel.