What are the signs I might be pregnant?
The first signs that you might be pregnant are that:
- you miss a period
- you feel very tired
- your breasts are sore or swollen
- you need to urinate a lot
- you feel nauseous
How do I confirm I am pregnant?
There are different ways to confirm you are pregnant. One way is to buy a home pregnancy test from a pharmacy or supermarket. This will test your urine for a hormone that is produced during pregnancy. You can do this test from the first day your period is due. Make sure you follow the instructions on the test kit carefully.
The next step is to see your doctor for a urine test or blood test. The blood test can pick up an early pregnancy a few days earlier than the urine test. If you are pregnant, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Reactions to an unplanned pregnancy
An unplanned pregnancy can raise different and sometimes confusing feelings and thoughts — this is very normal. Even if a pregnancy is unplanned, it may still be wanted.
A number of things might affect how you feel about an unplanned pregnancy. If you are unsure of what to do, you are not alone. While you might know what you want from the outset, you might also find the decision-making process difficult.
Your feelings can seem confusing since they can often conflict with each other. For example, you may feel:
- anxious, as you consider having a baby (or another baby)
- scared, because you don’t know how to be a parent
- concerned, if your current relationship is not stable
- joy, because this is something you have always dreamed about
- excited, as this may be a new opportunity for you
Even if your feelings seem to conflict with each other, it’s important to take the time to process them.
If you are a victim of sexual assault, you may wish to report the sexual assault to police.
What options are available?
If you are pregnant, you have a few options:
Keep the baby
You can have the baby either with a partner or as a single parent. See your doctor as soon as you can for information about what to do next.
Have the baby and have them adopted
Adoption permanently transfers all legal rights and responsibilities for the baby to their adoptive parents.
Read more about adoption.
Have the baby and put them in foster care or kinship care
If you are not sure about adoption, but you are also not sure whether you can look after a baby, foster care or kinship could be a temporary solution.
- Foster care — another person or family care for your child while you work towards looking after them permanently.
- Kinship care — your child is raised by extended family.
In both cases, you can still see the baby while they are in care (sometimes called out-of-home care).
Read more about foster care or kinship care.
Have an abortion
An abortion ends the pregnancy so the baby is not born. Depending on how many weeks pregnant you are, you could have an abortion by taking medication or by having a surgical procedure. Abortion, sometimes called termination, is safe and does not affect your ability to have children in future. The first step is to see your doctor or family planning clinic as soon as possible.
Read more about abortion.
It can be helpful to talk to someone you know and trust. Many people find it is useful to speak to a professional, like a doctor or a counsellor. Counsellors can help you work through the emotional, financial and practical issues involved with all of the options available to you. It might also be helpful to talk to someone who has been through a similar experience.
How do I make this decision?
As well as your feelings, there are many things to consider when making a decision. This can often add to this stressful time.
It might help you to:
- Sleep on it — don’t rush your decision (but remember that some options are influenced by how many weeks pregnant you are).
- Give yourself permission to explore and think about all your options.
- Be kind to yourself — you may feel differently about your options on different days, and that’s OK.
- Find as much information about what you need to support your decision (such as what support networks are available to you).
- Look after yourself physically and emotionally.
- Remember that the best person to make this decision is you.
It is important that you take the time you need to make the best decision for you at this point in your life.
What role will my partner have?
It is up to you how you will involve your partner when making this decision. The circumstances of your relationship may affect how you feel about involving your partner.
You are the only person who can refuse or consent to an abortion. No one else can force you to have an abortion or continue with your pregnancy.
If you are considering adoption, it’s important to remember that both birth parents must consent to a child’s adoption. How partners make this decision will differ depending on the circumstances of the relationship.
You may want to attend counselling together, or you or your partner may want to discuss your feelings alone.
Resources and support
Decision making tools
- Family Planning — Pregnancy: Working through your options booklet.
- Children By Choice — Making a decision online tool.
Your doctor or local family planning clinic can be a good place to start.
Other places that offer non-biased counselling and support include:
- Children by Choice on 1800 177 725 (nationwide) or if you are in Queensland on (07) 3357 5377.
- MSI Australia, or call 1300 405 568.
- 1800 My Options on 1800 696 784 for information about pregnancy options.
- 1800 Respect on 1800 737 732 if you have experienced sexual assault or domestic family violence.
- PANDA on 1300 726 306 for people experiencing anxiety or depression around pregnancy.
- Lifeline on 13 11 14 for crisis support.
- Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 for support if you are experiencing anxiety and depression.
- The Young, Pregnant and Parenting Network for information and support for young pregnant women and parents.
- MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78.
The Pregnancy, Birth and Baby maternal child health nurses are there to support and guide you, and help you find out more about your pregnancy options.
Speak to a maternal child health nurse
Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to speak to a maternal child health nurse on 1800 882 436 or video call. Available 7am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week.
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Last reviewed: September 2023