What To Do If You Have an Unexpected Pregnancy: 7 Coping Strategies

An unplanned pregnancy can be emotionally stressful, but with the right support, you may be able to cope and make decisions that best suit your wishes. The reality of an unplanned pregnancy is that you weren’t expecting it and may now be dealing with fear and anxiety about what having a baby means for you. Maybe the timing is bad. Or maybe you were tired of having children or just weren’t ready to think about becoming a parent. Please take a deep breath. Then think about how you will move forward, whether you continue with the pregnancy or not. And consider dealing with relationship changes and emotional issues as well.

Unplanned pregnancies are common among female partners. In a 2017 study, pregnancy intentions were categorized as planned, unplanned/happy, unplanned/vague, and unplanned/unhappy. At nine months after birth, those with unplanned/unfortunate pregnancies are almost twice as likely to suffer from psychological distress as those with planned pregnancies, research shows.

There are several strategies that can help you stay calm in the face of uncertainty, stress, and fear.

1. Consider your support options:

Now may be a good time to find out whom you can rely on for support. Your partner? Are you a close friend? A family member? Or you may feel better if you talk to a counselor about your thoughts and feelings. No matter who you turn to, your support must be open-minded and non-judgmental. You have every right, and no one should criticize your feelings or your decisions regarding future pregnancies. You may also consider finding a doula or midwife in your area to help you during this time.

2. Visualize Your Options

When processing your emotions, it can be helpful to actually consider your options. Be aware of what your life will be like when you have a baby in your home, and the changes in routine, both good and bad. You have decided to adopt.

How does terminating a pregnancy affect how you feel after surgery, both in the short and long term? With other processes? Similarly, you should try to make it easier on yourself. You’re just weighing your options and trying to understand how you feel about each choice. You may also want to think about how each decision affects any underlying health conditions, you may have depression and anxiety.

3. Accept Help

Friends, family, and even community members may be willing to help during the shock of early pregnancy. Support does not always look the same, but includes:

  • A sympathetic shoulder to cry on
  • Financial support
  • Providing food
  • Helping around the house

You can accept their help but still make your own decisions. When you help, you are not giving others permission to dictate your feelings and decisions.

4. Confirmation

There is nothing wrong with getting confirmation from your doctor that you are pregnant. Home pregnancy tests are generally very reliable, allow your doctor to confirm your pregnancy with a blood test and check the progress of your pregnancy with an ultrasound. Seeing your doctor can also help you plan your pregnancy. This will help you decide what to do next and make you feel a little better.

5. Admit that you are in shock

It’s okay to be shocked. Shock can occur due to sudden traumatic changes that can affect your life, such as an unexpected pregnancy. You can and probably should give yourself some time to think before deciding how you want to respond.

6. Let your emotions be with you

After you get a positive pregnancy test, you may feel a range of emotions as you process what’s happening.

  • Fear
  • Excitement
  • Anger
  • Confusion

It may be helpful to write them down and process them later. Analyzing the emotions you’re feeling can help you identify how you currently feel about your pregnancy.

7. Let your thoughts flow as well.

No matter what you are thinking, try to let your thoughts flow with your emotions without judgment. Your thoughts, even dark thoughts, do not affect your pregnancy, do not reflect you as a person, and do not reflect who you are as a parent. It may be better to wait to take action until you have had a chance to fully process your thoughts and feelings. And I’ll say it again; that’s okay.


Abortion is a complex legal option depending on where you live, but it is still available in many parts of the country and may be the right answer for you. If you’re considering an abortion, find abortion centers in your nearby states and find proper information about it.