If you have confirmed that you or your partner is pregnant, there are three basic choices:
- Continue the pregnancy and become a parent
- Continue the pregnancy and arrange for an adoption, either within your family or through an agency.
- End the pregnancy by having an abortion
Ideally, both individuals responsible for the pregnancy are able to support each other and share in the decision-making. Ultimately, however, it is up to the woman to make the choice that feels best for her. Different choices fit for different people at different times in their lives. Everybody is unique.
It is important to be aware of all the options available, so that you are able to make an informed choice. If you would like to discuss these options in more detail, you can always make an appointment to come in and chat with one of our nurses, who are an excellent source of knowledge and support.
Parenthood is a life-long commitment – you become responsible for the care and upbringing of a child. Becoming a parent may fit in with your goals, or it may interfere with your future plans. Parenting can involve both joys and challenges and it creates lifestyle changes. Work, school, and social schedules need to be adapted and it’s important to have financial and social supports in place.
Sometimes people raise a child with a partner and sometimes people raise a child on their own. Pregnancies and children can change relationships – for better or for worse. Pregnancy can bring partners closer together, but it won’t fix problems in a relationship. Relationships are more likely to last if they are strong and healthy before a pregnancy. Talk to others who are parents to find out about their experience.
If you’re continuing the pregnancy, be sure to see a doctor for pre-natal care, maintain a healthy diet, and avoid drugs, alcohol, and smoking.
Here are some questions to consider when thinking about becoming a parent. There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. They are just ideas for you to think about:
- Do you feel ready to take on the tasks of being a parent?
- Do you have people who will help you?
- Do you want a child more than you want anything else?
- If you are in a relationship, does the other person want to be a parent?
- Do you think you are too young or too old to have a baby?
- Do you believe you can manage this by yourself?
- Do you have enough money to meet a child's needs?
- Will having a child now stop you from having the life you want for yourself?
- If you have other children, will having another child cause problems for them?
With an adoption, a woman continues a pregnancy, gives birth, and then places the child with someone else to raise. The birth mother signs legal papers to give custody to someone else. These papers are signed after the baby is born, so a woman could change her mind about her decision up to the time when the custody papers are signed.
Adoptions can be arranged through the Department of Community Services or through private agencies. You can place a child with someone you know (e.g. a family member or a friend) or with someone you don’t know. A woman could decide to choose adoption at any point in her pregnancy or immediately after the baby is born. The earlier an adoption decision is made, the more time a woman has to make arrangements and prepare for the adoption.
If you are continuing the pregnancy, be sure you see a doctor for pre-natal care, maintain a healthy diet, and avoid drugs, alcohol, and smoking.
Here are some questions to consider when you are thinking about arranging an adoption. There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. They are just ideas for you to think about:
- Do you think you could continue the pregnancy and give birth, without having to raise the child?
- Do you think you could help the child have parents who can love and care for him/her?
- Could you postpone being a parent until later in your life when you feel ready?
- Do you like the idea of giving someone else a baby they are unable to have themselves?
- Would your family rather have the baby stay in the family than be raised by strangers?
- Do you think you could place the baby with someone else after nine months of pregnancy and delivery?
- Are you okay with the idea of someone else caring for your child?
- Would you worry about whether the baby was being well-treated?
Abortion is a safe, legal, medical procedure that ends a pregnancy. Abortions are performed at hospitals and in private clinics. In Nova Scotia, abortions performed in the hospital are free if the woman has a valid Canadian health card (although women from provinces outside of Nova Scotia may have to pay up front and be reimbursed). To have a private clinic abortion, a woman doesn’t need a doctor’s referral, but she must pay for the procedure.
The earlier an abortion is performed, the safer and less complicated it is. In Nova Scotia, abortions are performed between the 8th and 15th week of pregnancy (The duration of a pregnancy is calculated starting from the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period). After a pregnancy is 15 weeks and 5 days along, a woman may be able to go out of province to have an abortion, as the cut-off date is different from province to province.
Women choose abortion for a variety of reasons. In general, women choose abortion because being pregnant at a particular time is not right for them. Having an abortion does not affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant in the future.
If you are thinking about having an abortion, here are some questions to consider. There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. They are just ideas for you to think about:
- Would you like to postpone being a parent until you are able to provide for a child (e.g. are older, finished school, more financially secure, in a stable relationship)?
- How do you feel about the idea of being a single parent if the other person is unable or unwilling to raise a child?
- Are your religious beliefs against abortion?
- Are you afraid you might not be able to get pregnant again?
- Does your family or someone else who is important to you oppose abortion?
- Do you have a valid health card or enough money to pay for an abortion?
It can be very challenging to make a decision about an unintended pregnancy. There may be a lot of pressure from the people in your life to make a certain choice. Please remember that it is ultimately your life and your choice. There are resources available to help you with whatever choice you make.