If you have an unplanned pregnancy, you will need to think about your options. For some women the decision will be clear, while for others it will be difficult.
Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy and around one in three Australian women will have the procedure in their lifetime. Most abortions are performed between six and fourteen weeks of pregnancy. It is important for women to have access to accurate information about abortion so they can make their own informed decisions.
Adoption is a where you permanently give up all parental rights towards the child, and the child is placed with approved adoptive parents who become the legal parents. An adoption order can only take place after the child is born.
Alternative care options are for women who may want to continue their pregnancy but feel unable to raise a child at that time. Sometimes temporary care, such as foster care, can be arranged with another family until a woman has adequate housing, income and support and is in a better position to care for her child. It is also sometimes possible for the child to be raised by an extended family member such as a grandmother, aunt or uncle.
About half of all women who experience an unplanned pregnancy continue with the pregnancy and choose to parent. This choice may mean significant changes to life plans to allow time to care and provide for the baby. Choosing to be a parent is a big decision – and a pregnant woman may wish to parent with a partner or parent alone. Either way, it may be a good idea to seek help from family and friends and to identify available community support networks.
There are many ways in which a woman can be assisted with parenting. Identifying a woman’s individual needs, practical and emotional, is the first step in determining how they might be met. Some new parents may be entitled to financial assistance as well as to other supportive services available in the community. These include antenatal classes, support groups, play groups and pregnancy support services.
For more information, please see Children by Choice.