This page is for people who are pregnant and are not sure what to do. On this page you will find information on:

How will I know I am pregnant?

Common signs of pregnancy can include:

  • missing a period
  • feeling sick or vomiting
  • having sore or larger breasts
  • feeling dizzy and tired

Not all women who are pregnant have these signs because everyone is different. The only way to be sure you are pregnant is by having a pregnancy test. A pregnancy test can show if you are pregnant from around three weeks after sex. It is helpful to find out if you are pregnant as early as possible, to help you make a decision sooner.

Calendar

What is a Pregnancy Test?

A pregnancy test is done to check if someone is pregnant or not. This can be done by a urine or blood test.

You can buy a urine pregnancy test from a chemist or supermarket.

The instructions are simple to follow and the test is easy to do. The test can be done in a private bathroom.

A pregnancy test can also be done at a Family Planning NSW clinic, women's health centre or your local GP.

Pregnancy test

Your options

Finding out that you are pregnant can bring on a lot of different emotions.

For some people it is a happy time, for others they may feel confused, sad or even shocked.

The way someone feels when they find out they are pregnant will be different for each person.

The way people feel about finding out they are pregnant can depend on lots of different things, this can include:

  • whether or not they are in a relationship
  • how they feel about children and about being a parent
  • whether or not they were trying to get pregnant
  • their financial situation
  • their stage of life
  • their values and beliefs

When someone finds out they are pregnant but they did not plan to have a baby, they will need to think about whether they want to have the baby or not.

It can sometimes be a very difficult decision.

If you have found out that you are pregnant and are unsure of what to do, it can be helpful to think about what options you have. You may also like to make a list of all the good things and not so good things about your options. The options are to:

  • continue with the pregnancy and keep the baby
  • continue with the pregnancy and:
    • put the baby up for adoption
    • put the baby in foster care
  • do not continue with the pregnancy, this is called an abortion

It is up to you to decide what happens with your pregnancy. You should not feel pressure from other people when making your decision. It is your choice.

Your family or partner cannot decide for you, but it may be helpful to talk to them when making your decision.

Choices

Continuing the pregnancy and keeping the baby

You may choose to continue the pregnancy and look after the baby. Becoming a parent is a big step. It is normal to feel worried about the changes that will happen.

It can be helpful to talk with your partner about any concerns you may have about changes that might happen. This may include changes in your relationship, life and finances.

If you do not have a partner or if your relationship has ended, you may choose to look after the baby by yourself. It is important to know that you can get help to look after your baby if you are worried it may be difficult to do this on your own.

Family support

If you choose to continue the pregnancy and keep the baby, it's important to know that:

  • you can get help from family, friends and people you trust
  • you can ask your doctor or a counsellor for more information about where to get help with looking after your baby

Questions to consider

How do I feel about being a parent?

I feel this way because...

Is there anything I need to know about continuing the pregnancy and choosing to be a parent?

Adoption and fostering

You may choose to continue the pregnancy but have someone else look after your baby. This could be someone you know or do not know. You may choose to do this through a legal agreement or through an informal agreement.

Legal document

Adoption is when both parents of a child sign a legal agreement for someone else to look after their child. This means that the birth parents will give all of their parenting rights and responsibilities to the adoptive parents. The birth parents can choose to keep in contact with the child by agreeing on an adoption plan with the adopting parents.

birth parents are the women who gave birth to a child and the man who helped to conceive the child.

an adoption plan is a plan that is developed to make an open adoption. The plan gives the child, birth parent and adoptive parents contact with each other.

adoptive parents are people who adopt a child.

a foster parent is a person who cares for a child who is not their own child.

When a child cannot live with their own parents they may be put into foster care. Foster care is when a child lives with another family either for a short time or a longer time. While the child is in foster care, the foster parents have the right to make decisions about the child’s life. Birth parents still have the right to contact the child.

There are two different types of foster care.

  • Temporary foster care is when another family looks after a child for a short time. The birth parents will still be the legal guardian and can still see their child.
  • Long-term foster care is when a child is in foster care for a longer time. The birth parents may lose legal guardianship and custody of their child but will still be the legal parent.

A legal guardian is a person who has the legal authority to care for another person.

People might think about adoption or fostering for their child for lots of different reasons. If you are thinking about adoption or fostering for your child, it is a good idea to get information and advice and talk to your partner about the best option for your child.

For more information about adoption or fostering visit the Family and Community Services website.

Questions to consider

How do I feel about adoption/foster care?

I feel this way because…..

Is there more I need to know about adoption/foster care?

Abortion

Some people who are pregnant might choose to end their pregnancy. This is called having an abortion or termination of pregnancy.

An abortion is usually done early in a pregnancy. Having an abortion is legal in Australia. In NSW there are two safe options for abortion. The two types are called surgical and medical abortions.

The type of abortion a person chooses will depend on:

  • how many weeks they are pregnant
  • what services are available in their area
  • what is most suitable for their life circumstances

It is up to you to decide whether you want to have an abortion or not. You should not feel pressure from other people about your decision. It is your choice.

Family Planning NSW can give you information about abortion services in your area that you can go to.

Woman in consultation with doctor

Surgical abortion

Surgical abortion is a medical procedure that empties the uterus of a fetus. Most surgical abortions are done under sedation, or a light anaesthetic. This is a procedure available at private clinics. In some situations it may be available in a public hospital. In NSW you do not need a referral from a doctor for this procedure at a clinic. Call the clinic for an appointment.

Some clinics will do a surgical abortion up to week 12 of the pregnancy and a few will do the procedure up to week 22 of the pregnancy. The procedure is safe and low risk when done by an experienced doctor.

The procedure can be quick and depends on how far the pregnancy has developed, but you will need to be at the clinic for a number of hours. It can be helpful to have a friend or someone you trust for support.

Before you make an appointment:

  • It is important to know how many weeks pregnant you are. If you don’t know, you can find out by having an ultrasound. You will need to see a doctor to get a referral for an ultrasound.
  • Once you know how many weeks pregnant you are, you need to find out what the clinic can provide for you.

sedation medicines help you relax or sleep.

Medical abortion

Medical abortion is when certain medicines are taken to end the pregnancy. Medical abortion is carried out when the person is less than nine weeks pregnant. This is available through private clinics, some GPs, some specialists and from a telemedicine medical abortion service. The woman will be prescribed medications in the form of tablets. One tablet (mifepristone) is usually taken in the clinic and second tablets (misoprostol) are taken 24-48 hours later.

After the tablets are taken most people will have mild to severe bleeding and cramping that can last for about 24 hours. Bleeding from the vagina will continue and last for about two weeks. They may also experience:

  • fever – feeling hot
  • chills – feeling cold
  • nausea – feeling sick
  • vomiting

telemedicine is when a clinician uses phone or video communication to provide clinical health care. Telemedicine is often used when people live in rural communities and do not have access to health services.

The person can take pain relief tablets to help with the pain. It is also helpful to have a friend or someone to help them at home.

A woman can also get a prescription for the medications from some GPs, Family Planning NSW clinics, some specialists or from a telemedicine medical abortion service.

Medications

Cost of having an abortion in NSW

Abortion may cost different amounts of money, depending on where you go. The price will depend on:

  • whether you have a Medicare or health care card
  • the number of weeks you are pregnant
  • whether you choose to have a surgical or medical abortion

Payment is usually made on the day of the appointment.

Legal information

Abortion is allowed in all states and territories in Australia under certain conditions. It must be done by a registered doctor.

Your family, partner or others cannot decide if you should have an abortion or not, but it can be helpful to make a decision together.

If your partner or family forces you to make a decision you are not happy with, there are support services that you can contact. Call the Pregnancy, Birth and Baby helpline on 1800 882 436. For more information about having an abortion, speak to someone who can help in exploring all your options such as your doctor, Family Planning NSW clinic or a social worker.

Talking to a health care worker is private and no one else needs to know about the conversation.

Questions to consider

How do I feel about abortion?

I feel this way because…

Is there more I need to know about having an abortion?

Help to make a decision

There are many things to think about when you are making your decision. If you are not sure what to do it is important to remember you are not alone. It can be helpful to write down your thoughts and feelings.

Head, hand, heart

Contraception

Whatever you decide, it is important to think about contraception for the future. Contraception can help to prevent a pregnancy from happening if you do not want to be pregnant.

Contraception can be started straight after you have had an abortion or given birth. You can speak to a doctor or nurse at any Family Planning NSW clinic or call Family Planning NSW Talkline on 1300 658 886 for more information.

There is information in different languages about the different contraception methods available on the contraception page of this website.

Relationship and support networks

It can be difficult to talk to someone close to you, but talking to someone you trust can sometimes help when making a decision.

Whatever you decide to do, it is important to consider who you can call for support. If you need someone to talk to, you can call: Talkline - 1300 658 886

Talkline is a confidential telephone and email service where you can talk privately to a nurse. It is open 8.30am-5.00pm weekdays.

You can also visit www.fpnsw.org.au/talkline or visit a Family Planning clinic and talk to a nurse or a doctor.

Counselling and support services

Department of Human Services (Centrelink)

Provides information about the range of Centrelink payments available if you continue the pregnancy. http://goo.gl/pXboLp

Family Referral Services (FRS)

Providing information and support and access to services, for families who are in financial distress and are facing challenges accessing services and support. Please visit this link to find the phone number for your nearest service: http://www.familyreferralservice.com.au

Family Relationship Advice Line and Centres - 1800 050 321

The Family Relationship Advice Line is available from 8 am to 8 pm, Monday to Friday, and 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday (local time), except national public holidays. Family Relationship Centres provirde family dispute resolution (mediation) and advice to enable people to achieve workable parenting arrangements outside the Court system. For further information please visit: https://www.familyrelationships.gov.au/

Adoption and Permanent Care Services - (02) 9716 3000

email: adoption@community.nsw.gov.au

Further information about the adoption process and alternatives can be found at: http://goo.gl/sGL15t

Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) - 131 450

24 Hours, every day of the year. A free interpreting service provided by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to provide interpreting services for people who do not speak English and for agencies and businesses that need to communicate with their non-English speaking clients. https://www.tisnational.gov.au

For more information

Visit a Family Planning NSW clinic. Click here for our clinic locations

Call the Family Planning NSW Talkline on 1300 658 886

Talk to one of our nurses online.

To talk to someone in your language, call the Telephone Interpreter Service (TIS) on 131 450. Ask to be connected to Family Planning NSW.

Resources

Know Your Health: Pregnancy options

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