I’m pregnant, now what?

If you haven't planned for a baby, finding out you’re pregnant can be super overwhelming. But don’t worry, plenty of help and support is available to help you decide what to do next. Since you’ve probably been thinking: ‘I’m pregnant, now what?’ for a while now, the Mix talks you through your options.

A young woman is thinking about what to do now that she's pregnant. This is a wide-angle image.

I’m pregnant, what do I do?

We reckon that googling ‘I’m pregnant, what do I do’ after doing a pregnancy test and finding out that you’re pregnant is more common than you’d think. So, we’re here to answer it for you. 

None of your choices may feel exactly right – just what’s best given your circumstances. That’s normal. Unfortunately, you’ll need to act quickly if you wanna keep all your options open. So you may not have a lot of time to contemplate things. Having said that, before you do anything, we’d recommend talking it over with some people you trust. And maybe pop a prenatal vitamin with folic acid and iron to look after the baby. Once you’ve done that, you can try discussing it with your partner, your doctor, Brook, or your parent/s or carer.

Keeping the baby

The first option if you’re pregnant and wondering “what now?”, is to raise the child with the help of the people around you.

We’re not gonna sugar-coat it. Raising a child is hard work. It involves compromise at every stage. It’s financially demanding and could well leave you in a permanent state of discombobulation. Thing is, it can also be hugely rewarding. And parenthood usually ends up being something you wouldn’t change for the world.

Of course, only having lived experience will let you know how you really feel about it. But asking lots of questions beforehand will help you get some idea of how well you might cope with parenthood:

  • Do you feel ready for a child? Are you prepared to make a lifelong commitment as a parent?
  • What role will the child’s father play?
  • How will you support yourself and your baby?
  • Where will you live?
  • What kind of support network do you have?
  • What are the implications for your education and/or career?
  • Can you provide for the child, both emotionally and financially?

Adoption

Giving up a baby for adoption is a difficult route to takeboth for the mother and the father. But, then again, any option you choose when you find yourself pregnant and asking ‘what now?’ is gonna have its challenges. 

So, if you’d like to consider adoption, your GP (doctor) can put you in touch with social services, who’ll advise you from there.

  • Counselling will be provided, to make sure that you’re happy with the situation and are aware of what happens once the child is adopted. You might not agree with everything the adopted parents choose for the child, but so long as they’re happy and healthy that’s all that really matters.
  • You can wait for a suitable family before agreeing to an adoption. Otherwise you can transfer your parental rights to the agency who’ll find a home on your behalf. Once a family has been found, they can then apply for their own adoption order.
  • Neither birth parent has the right to see their child after they’ve been adopted. Legally speaking, they are no longer the parents. However, the child can get in touch with them after the age of 18. Some adoptive families may choose to seek contact earlier if they think it’s what’s best for the child.

You can learn more about adoption here.

Abortion

This is an option that you can’t wait until your due date to decide. You have to start booking an appointment ASAP. If you don’t, your window to get one done legally gradually narrows week by week as you go through the different stages of pregnancy. Fortunately, there are a number of different maternity services that would be willing to help with this.. 

Abortion is a deeply personal issue, based on what feels right for the person involved. And only that person. Whatever your outlook is on the topic right now, it’s worth getting to grips with the facts about what’s involved. Plus, you should get advice on dealing with the impact on your body and mind. Abortion is legal in England, Scotland and Wales until 24 weeks of pregnancy. What’s more, there’s no limit if there are foetal abnormalities or risk to the mother’s life. Find out about the abortion process in the UK here.

Unfortunately, this law does not apply to Northern Ireland and Ireland where it’s only legal up to 12 weeks of pregnancy unless specific conditions are met. Find out about the abortion process in the UK here.

If you’re considering having an abortion, contact your GP or local GUM clinic who can refer you to the nearest abortion service. Alternatively, if you wanna talk through your decision, contact FPA or visit Brook who can offer impartial sympathetic advice. Always be wary of services claiming to be independent abortion counselling services. They can sometimes have an alternative anti-abortion agenda designed to pressure you into keeping the baby. 

If you need help but are unsure of who to turn to you can get support on a whole range of issues on our website.

Next Steps

  • Brook provides free sexual health and wellbeing services for young people in the UK. Brook's services include local clinics and online digital sex and relationships tool.
  • FPA give sexual health advice. For Northern Ireland helpline call 0345 122 8687.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 17-Jun-2022