Health Information and Tools > Patient Care Handouts >  Learning About Options for an Unplanned Pregnancy

Main Content

Learning About Options for an Unplanned Pregnancy

What are the options?

Finding out that you're pregnant when you didn't plan to be may cause many emotions. It also means that you will need to decide what happens next.

In general, the options are:

  • Continue the pregnancy and become a parent.
  • Continue the pregnancy and arrange for adoption.
  • End the pregnancy by having an abortion.

For some, the course of action is clear. Others may have a harder time deciding what to do. You may need to take some time to think through your options.

Only you can know what's right for you. But it may help to have some support as you consider your next steps. You might talk to a trusted friend, a family member, or a counsellor. Or you may want to talk with your doctor or someone at a sexual health clinic. You can also call the Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights Access Line at 1-888-642-2725 for judgment-free support.

What are some things you might consider?

You may have emotional, financial, religious, or other reasons for choosing to continue or end a pregnancy. How long you've been pregnant may also affect your options.

As you weigh your options, you might ask yourself how you feel about:

  • Choosing to parent. Parenting can be wonderful. It can also be very hard. Raising a child is a lifetime commitment. How do you feel when you think about being a parent? Who can you count on for support? What resources could help you?
  • Choosing adoption. Many people who make this choice are relieved to know that their child is being cared for in a good home. Others feel a sense of loss that lasts longer than they thought it would. What emotions do you have when you think about adoption? If you need more information, one source is Canada Adopts! ( You can search their directory to find an agency to help you through the process. You may need to get the birth father's consent to plan an adoption.
  • Choosing abortion. Making the decision to end a pregnancy may not be easy. What feelings do you have when you consider an abortion? If this is your choice, it's important to know that abortion is safe. No matter where you live, if you need an abortion, you can reach out to Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights. They can tell you where you can get an abortion and how to access that care. There may be funds available if you need to travel.

To decide what is right for you, it may help to think about your life and your values. For example, what plans do you have for yourself in the next 5 or 10 years? How would each option affect those plans? How important is it to you to become a parent? If you are already a parent, how does this affect your decision?

When do you need to make a decision?

It's okay if you don't know what to do right now. But there may be good reasons to decide soon.

  • If you choose to continue the pregnancy, see your doctor or midwife as soon as you can.

    It's important to take good care of yourself. Your health in the early weeks of pregnancy is especially important. Anything you do that harms your body can also harm the pregnancy. Your doctor or midwife will give you more information on how to have a healthy pregnancy and what to expect in the coming months. Regular checkups will help keep you and your pregnancy healthy.

  • If you're thinking about ending the pregnancy, get help right away.

    Abortion is safe, but you may have fewer options the longer you wait. If you need advice or support, you can visit Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights' website at or call their Access Line at 1-888-642-2725. They can help you understand your options and how to access them.

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.