Unplanned pregnancies

If you’ve tested positive for pregnancy and don’t know what to do, try not to worry. Unplanned pregnancies happen. Every woman has the right to decide for herself how to deal with that situation.

If you are pregnant and didn’t plan to be, we know that you might be finding it hard to make a decision about what to do. That’s OK. There are people who can help you and talk through your options.

You can choose to:

  1. Continue with the pregnancy and keep the baby
  2. Continue with the pregnancy and have the baby adopted
  3. End the pregnancy by having an abortion

Who can I talk to?

You might first want to talk to someone you can trust like a family member or friend. Or, if you would feel more comfortable speaking to someone who isn’t so close with you, there are lots of places where you can talk confidentially for free about how you feel about the pregnancy and the options you have.

  • A sexual health clinic, which might be a Virgin Care sexual health clinic
  • Your GP surgery (you can speak to your GP or nurse)
  • A young people’s service like Brook
  • Organisations like Marie Stopes and BPAS
  • You can also get advice, including contact numbers for independent sector providers from NHS Direct

Continuing the pregnancy & keeping the baby

If you would like to keep the baby, you should make an appointment with your doctor as soon as you can to get the care you need. They will then book you into the local midwifery care service. If you’re not registered with a GP, you can find your nearest clinic.

There are some useful links at the end of the page for help and support during pregnancy.

Continuing the pregnancy and considering adoption

Adoption is a choice for those who don’t want to bring up the baby themselves but don’t want an abortion. In this situation, women continue with the pregnancy and give birth normally.  Once the adoption is complete, they won’t look after the baby or have legal rights or responsibilities.

Adoption is a formal process organised by adoption agencies and local authorities. Once an adoption is made legal, the decision is final and cannot be changed. You cannot be asked to sign a formal document agreeing to the adoption until the baby is six weeks old.

To find an adoption agency near you, visit the Adoption UK website.

Considering abortion

There are lots of reasons why women feel unable to continue with a pregnancy. Abortion is legal in the UK up to the 24th week of pregnancy under the Abortion Act 1967 and there is no age limit for who can have an abortion. Abortion will not affect your chances of having a child in future.

If there is a large risk to the woman’s life or a large risk of the baby developing abnormalities, there is no time limit to abortions. However, it is safer and easier the earlier it is done – ideally by the 12th week of pregnancy.

In the video below, the British Pregnancy & Advisory Service Nurse Julia explains what an abortion is and how to access abortion care.

Abortion care is available free through the NHS and you can get a referral from your GP surgery, local family planning clinic, sexual health clinic, and young people’s service like Brook.

In some parts of the country, you can refer yourself to an abortion treatment with providers like Marie Stopes UK and BPAS for free with the NHS and do not need to go through to your GP.  You can also self-refer for paid-for treatment. We’ve provided the contact details of these providers below.

Useful links

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