Unplanned pregnancy – your options

Eish! An unplanned pregnancy can be a pretty big shock. As long as you’re keeping yourself healthy and feeling okay about your decision, there is no wrong way to deal with it.

Here are your main options:

  • Being a good parent: Having the baby and raising it yourself means making some decisions, like whether you stay in school, TVET or university. Is the father of the child with you? Does he want to help take care of the child? What support do you have in your life? If your family can help you, it’s a lot easier.
  • Adoption: This means you would give birth to the baby, but another family would raise the child. It can be hard to give birth to a child and then let them go but, it can also be a real comfort to know that someone’s taking care of your child, especially if you aren’t able to.
  • Termination of pregnancy (abortion): This is a medical procedure which ends a pregnancy. In South Africa, if you’re over 12 years old you have the right to consent to a safe and free abortion with no reasons given if you are less than 12 weeks pregnant. Termination of pregnancy might leave you with a lot of different feelings, from relief to sadness. If you’re considering it, talk to a doctor or go to a clinic and find out if they perform abortions (not every hospital or clinic provides abortions). There are many advertisements and people offering cheap and safe abortions which are known as “backstreet abortions” which oftentimes are unsafe, ineffective and could end in fatal results. The only way to access a safe and effective abortion is through having it done by medical professionals at a designated clinic or hospital.

It’s important to know that if a nurse or doctor is unable to provide the service; whether it is because they are untrained or unwilling to provide, they are obligated to refer you to someone who can. This is the law. If a medical professional cannot assist you with an abortion, they HAVE to provide you with details for someone who can regardless of their personal feelings about the situation.

Think carefully about your options. Maybe ask yourself: Can I take care of a child? Do I want a child? These are tough questions to ask, but they’re worth facing up to, to find the right option for you.

If you are pregnant and want to receive information on pregnancy and your baby for free from the National Department of Health, register for MomConnect at your local clinic or dial *134*550#.

Pregnancy is a big change in your life, and a lot of things are going to happen to your body. Learn more about pregnancy here

Been pregnant as a teen can be challenging. Found out more here

It is important to know about all the organs that make up the female reproductive system when you are pregnant. Click here to learn more

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