Wondering if you are pregnant? The tricky thing is some pregnancy symptoms can be confused with stress or illness-related causes, so you never really know for sure unless you have a positive pregnancy test.
Common symptoms of an early pregnancy are (some women may have just one or all of these):
- A missed period is the most obvious signal a woman may be pregnant, however, stress and illness can cause a late or skipped period, too. Some women complain of light “spotting”- this usually looks different than a typical period, though
- Tiredness or fatigue is a common early pregnancy sign. Do you feel like taking a nap any time of day? That could be the increased hormones talking
- Tender or swollen breasts are frequently noticed when bumped or running up stairs
- An upset stomach. You could have nausea, be “burpy” or vomit any time of day
- Increased urination. Do you have to go to the bathroom more than usual
- Mild cramps (similar to a period) or headaches may be noticed
Most of these symptoms go away after the body gets used to the pregnancy. However, you will probably be going to the bathroom a lot more than you ever did before.
There are so many things to consider when you’re pregnant. Congratulations if this is what you were hoping for at this time in your life! And if it wasn’t exactly planned, hang in there. There are lots of decisions to make, conversations to be had and stress to be dealt with. Here are some tips on the next steps to consider. First, take a DEEP BREATH and try to relax. Pregnancy is a big deal and there are lots of things to think about, but you don’t have to know what to do right away.
- Who’s your support person? It’s time to talk with a parent, trusted adult, friend, the father of the baby, or professional about the pregnancy. If this is an unplanned pregnancy, this may seem really hard to do. You might worry the concerned adults in your life will be really disappointed, or the father of the baby will freak out. Chances are, anyone close to you will be a little shocked with this information. But you need to start somewhere. You should not deal with this alone–you need some support.Tip: How to tell someone “the news”: Find a time and place where you can talk privately with your support person. You can bring a friend or other adult along to sit beside you if you think that might make it easier. Start by saying you have something really important to say. Then, just tell him/her. Expect some shock. Take a deep breath. Remember, it took you a while to get used to this, too.
- Make healthy choices. As you start to think about what to do next, now is the time to eat healthy foods and avoid chemicals (like tobacco, drugs, alcohol, or prescription medications unless approved by your health care provider). You could start taking a prenatal multivitamin (available at any pharmacy without a prescription- save the receipt because you might get reimbursed). Drink lots of water ~ 8-10 6 oz. glasses a day.Tip: Eat mini-meals throughout the day (especially if you have an upset stomach- it actually makes it feel better). One meal might be wheat crackers with some meat and cheese, another might be yogurt with fruit and then the next may be salad or soup and a roll. Keep a water bottle filled up and with you all day to remind you to DRINK! If you squeeze some lemon in the water it can help reduce nausea.
There are some decisions to make. Not today or tomorrow, but sooner rather than later. You know yourself best. What are your values, beliefs, and life situation? Take time to learn about all the things that need to be considered when you’re pregnant. There are 3 legal options for pregnant women in MN.
- How do you feel about being pregnant now? How do you think you would feel about being pregnant in the future?
- Before you found out you that you were pregnant, what did you plan on doing next year? The year after that? In five years? Ten?
- Have you ever had hopes and dreams for yourself? A vision of what you want your future to be? How does your pregnancy fit in with those?
- What are your future goals and plans? Finish high school? College? Job training? Career? Travel?
- Have you thought before about whether you want to be a parent or not?
- What are your hopes and dreams for a child that you may give birth to?
- How mature do you feel? Enough to be solely responsible for the health and well-being of a child? Do you think you are ready to be a parent or will the arrival of the child force you to be ready?
Talking to the father of the child
Talking to your parents
If the pregnancy is unplanned, give yourself time to think, gather information, and reach out to the support people you trust who will help you to make the decision that’s best for you and your life. You now need to make one of the most important decisions you will ever make in your life. Legally, no one can force you to do anything. There are three legal options to choose from in the state of Minnesota.
When you have a lot to think about, sometimes it helps to find a quiet place to sit and write down or type the answers to all the big questions or concerns you have. Take a deep breath. Remember, you always have options. And you have the right to choose the one that is best for you. Consider some of these questions:
- Are you doing what you really want or are you trying to please others?
- What are your values and beliefs regarding all the options? Before and after the pregnancy?
- Are you basing your decision on the hope that the baby will force the other parent to stay involved with you?
- Do you expect this pregnancy to do something for you — to give you a future, to have someone to love you, to make you complete, to get you out of your parents’ house, to make you grown-up?
- How will you handle a change of heart? What if you regret the decision you make? Do you know where to look for help with those feelings?
- Who are the people in your life who can give you support, no matter what decision you make?
Take your time and make the best decision for you.
Adoption is a parenting option where you decide to give your parenting rights to someone else. If you don’t want to end your pregnancy but feel you aren’t ready to be a parent, this is an option for you. In the U.S., there are many adults wanting to adopt babies.
How do adoption plans work?
- The best way to learn more about adoption is to make an appointment with one of the social workers from an adoption agency (see list below). They typically will meet with you at home, school, or work, to describe how the process works. You don’t have to make a commitment right away; it’s just an information session. They’re really easy to talk to. They’ve met with lots of confused pregnant women and families who aren’t quite sure what to do next. They don’t pressure you.
- The birth parent(s) typically get to select the adoptive family they want to place their baby with. The adoptive agency makes this a smooth process and assists with meeting each other, etc.
- Adoption costs are typically covered by the adoptive family. In Minnesota, the adoptive family is required to pay for all legal fees or counseling you may need. You can also request that they pay for medical and other expenses. The adoption agency helps you with all of this.
- Most birth parents maintain some level of connection with the adoptive family. This is called an open adoption. The birth parents make an agreement with the adoptive parents about how much, or little, contact they would like. This could be an annual letter with an updated photo of the child explaining what he/she likes to do, etc. Or it could involve occasional get-togethers with the child. Some adopted children talk about both of their “moms” or “dads” as they recognize the value of being loved by so many adults!
This is when a birth parent(s) chooses to provide emotional and financial support to the child for the next 18 years. Parenting can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. However, it is probably one of the most difficult jobs in the world. There are lots of responsibilities that come with raising a child. It takes a lot of determination. Birth parents need lots of support as they choose this journey.
- What are your future goals and plans? Do you want to finish high school? College? Start a career? Travel?
- Do you have hopes and dreams for yourself? How does parenting fit in with them?
- Before you found out you were pregnant, what did you plan on doing next year? The year after that?
- Have you thought about whether you want to be a parent or not? If so, when?
- How do you feel about being pregnant now? How do you think you would feel about being pregnant in the future?
- How mature do you feel? Enough to be solely responsible for the health and well-being of a child?
- Do you think you are ready to be a parent? If not, when might you be?
- What are your hopes and dreams for your future child? Do these seem realistic in your current situation?
- How will you pay for a baby’s food, equipment, medical and child care?
The Other Parent
- Who’s the other parent of the baby? Has your relationship changed since you got pregnant? In what ways? Can you depend on him/her for emotional support?
- Does he/she show concern for you? Does he/she show interest in planning for your pregnancy or parenting? How do you feel about this?
- Can you depend on him/her for financial support? Is he/she reliable?
- Will he/she change his/her plans for school, sports, social life to help you and support you while you’re pregnant or parenting?
- Is there potential to co-parent together? If not, is there someone else you can depend on to help you out?
You and Your Parent(s)
- What is your relationship like with your parent(s)? How important to you are his/her feelings, opinions and beliefs regarding this decision?
- How does he/she feel about your pregnancy? How about parenting?
- What kind of support will he/she provide for you? Housing? Financial help? Child care? Anything?
- If you want to live with him/her while you are pregnant or parenting, what does he/she think about that? What will be expected of you? What will the ground rules be?
Abortion is a safe and legal medical procedure that ends a pregnancy. There is a lot to think about when you are not sure if you can continue a pregnancy, whether due to a medical condition or your personal situation. As with all options, a pregnant person is encouraged to discuss their personal beliefs, concerns and questions with the people who support them as they make a decision.
myHealth offers pregnancy counseling about all options, but does not provide abortion services.
Different states in the U.S. have different laws. In Minnesota, adult women ages 18 and older may schedule an abortion without permission from anyone. If the pregnant person is 17 or younger, both parents must be told if they intend to have an abortion. If the pregnant person doesn’t think they can safely tell their parents, they must get authorization from the juvenile court or a judge. An abortion agency may help set up this appointment. At myHealth, we always recommend young people talk to their parents, especially in regards to pregnancy.
TIPS: Take time to learn more. Do not make a decision too fast – there might be regrets later. Your decision should be based on your values, beliefs and life situation. You know you best. No one can make you do anything.