If you find out you are pregnant but have not planned to have a baby you will need to think about whether you want to have a baby or not. It can sometimes be a very difficult decision. It is up to you to decide what happens with your pregnancy. You should not feel pressure from other people about your decision. It is your choice. Your family or partner cannot decide for you, but it can be helpful to make a decision together.
The options are:
1. Continue with the pregnancy – choosing to parent
2. Continue with the pregnancy – adoption/foster care
3. Don’t continue with the pregnancy – abortion also called termination
1. Choosing to parent
Some women choose to continue the pregnancy and look after the baby. They might look after the baby with a partner or by themselves. Becoming a parent is a big step and it is normal to feel worried about changes that will happen.
With a partner
It can be helpful to talk with your partner about any concerns and the changes that might happen in your relationship, life and finances.
Some women parent alone because their relationship may have ended or both of you may not agree with the pregnancy options available. It is important to know that you can get help to look after your baby if it is difficult to do this on your own. If you choose to continue the pregnancy and keep the baby, it’s important to know:
• You can get support from family, friends and people you trust who can help to talk about your options.
• You can ask your doctor or a counsellor for more information about where to get help with looking after your baby
2. Adoption and Fostering
Some women choose to continue the pregnancy but have someone else look after the baby. This could be someone you know or do not know. This can be a legal agreement or it can be an informal choice made by a family. Adoption is when both parents sign a legal agreement for someone else to raise their child. Both birth parents of the baby have to agree to the adoption of the baby. They can keep in contact with the child by agreeing on an adoption plan
with the adopting parent/s. Sometimes a baby is looked after by another family for a short or long time. This is called fostering. There are two different types of foster care.
Temporary foster care: this is when another family looks after a child for a short time while the parent sorts out housing, money or personal problems. A parent can visit their child while they are in temporary foster care. Long-term foster care: this is when a child is in long term foster care. While the child is in foster care, the foster parents have the right to make decisions about the child’s life. Birth parents can still have the right to contact the child.
3. Abortion (Termination of Pregnancy)
Some women who are pregnant might choose to end the pregnancy. This is called having an abortion or termination of pregnancy. An abortion is usually done early in a pregnancy. In NSW there are two safe and confidential options for abortion. The type of abortion a woman chooses will depend on how many weeks she is pregnant, what services are available in her area and what is most suitable for her life circumstances. It is up to you to decide whether you want to have an abortion or not. You should not feel pressure from other people about your decision. It is your choice. A doctor or specialist can help give information about abortion services in
your area that you could go to.
Surgical abortion: This is a procedure available at private clinics. In some situations it may be available in a public hospital. In NSW you do not need a referral from a doctor for this procedure at a clinic. Call the clinic for an appointment. Some clinics will do a surgical abortion up to week 12 of the pregnancy and a few will do the procedure up to week 20 of the pregnancy. The procedure is safe and low risk when done by an experienced doctor. The procedure can be quick and depends on how far the pregnancy has developed, but you will need to be at the clinic for a number of hours. It can be helpful to have a friend or someone you trust for support.
Before you make an appointment:
• It is important to know how many weeks pregnant you are. If you don’t know, you can find out by having an ultrasound. You will need to see a doctor to get a referral for an ultrasound.
• Once you know how many weeks pregnant you are, you need to find out what the clinic can provide for you.
Medical abortion: This is available through private clinics, some GPs, some specialists and from a telemedicine medical abortion service. The woman will be prescribed medications in the form of tablets. One tablet (mifepristone) is usually taken in the clinic and second tablets (misoprostol) are taken 24-48 hours later. Medical abortion is carried out when the woman is less than nine weeks pregnant. The GP or clinic workers will explain what will happen and will give you the 24 hour phone number for any questions you may have after taking the tablets. After the tablets are taken most women will have cramping pains in the lower stomach that can last for about 24 hours. You will have bleeding from the vagina that will last for about two weeks. You may also experience:
• Fever – feeling hot
• Chills – feeling cold
• Nausea – feeling sick
A woman can take pain relief tablets to help with the pain. It is also important to have a friend or someone for support with you at home.
Cost of abortion in NSW
Abortion may cost different amounts of money, depending on where you go. The price will depend on:
• Whether you have a Medicare or health care card
• The number of weeks you are pregnant
• Whether you choose to have a surgical or medical abortion
Payment is usually made on the day of the appointment.
Abortion is allowed in all states and territories in Australia under certain conditions. It must be done by a registered doctor. Your family, partner or others cannot decide if you should have an abortion or not, but it can be helpful to make a decision together. If your partner or family forces you to make a decision you are not happy with, there are support services that you can contact. For more information about having an abortion, speak to someone who can help in exploring all your options such as your doctor, Family Planning NSW clinic or a social worker. Talking to a healthcare worker is private and no one else needs to know about the conversation Professional interpreters can be organised by the clinic to interpret in your language if you ask for this. This can make it easier for you to understand medical words and ask any important questions. You must have enough information to be able to understand and make your own decision.
Whatever your decision, it is useful to think about your contraception options for the future. Contraception can help to prevent a pregnancy from happening if you do not want to be pregnant. Contraception can be started straight after you have had an abortion or given birth. You can speak to a doctor at Green Square Health, or have a look at our Contraception Choices page.
Green Square Health provides a range of services to fulfil the needs of our community.
Please find more information on the pages below about our services and tips on how to stay healthy.