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I just found out that I’m pregnant (or that a girl I know is pregnant). What should I do? How do I tell my parent(s)?

If you took a pregnancy test, either at home or in a clinic, and it came back positive, you have a decision to make. When faced with an unplanned pregnancy there are three choices:

  1. Have an abortion.
  2. Arrange an adoption.
  3. Become a parent.

The decision of what to do when faced with an unplanned pregnancy is often hard to make, especially for a teenager. It can be helpful to talk with the person with whom you had sex, to see how they feel about the situation. It can also be helpful to talk with an adult in your life—whom you know well and trust—to help you sort through the three choices.

But in the end, the pregnant partner is the one who needs to make this decision. No one should continue or terminate a pregnancy based solely on what parents or a partner wants.

How does someone decide?

Everyone is different. Therefore, you need to look at your own life circumstances to make the decision that is best for you.

Here are some questions to ask yourself. The answers can help you determine which decision is best for you.

  • What are my feelings about abortion and terminating a pregnancy?
  • How do I feel about carrying a pregnancy for nine months and arranging an adoption?
  • How do I feel about having a baby and becoming a parent now?
  • What are my goals for the next year? Five years? Ten years?
  • How would having a baby now affect these goals?
  • Where am I in school? Do I plan to finish high school and go to college? How would having a baby affect this?
  • What is my financial situation? How would my choice affect me financially?
  • What kind of social and financial support do I have in my life?

Regardless of what you choose to do, it’s best to make a decision as soon as possible. If you want to make an adoption plan or to become a parent, you need to see a health care professional for prenatal visits. If you choose to make an adoption plan, you should begin the process of selecting an adoption agency. If you choose to have an abortion, it is ideal to do so as early in the pregnancy as possible.

How do I tell my parents?

  • Find a time and place where you can talk privately with your parent(s) or guardians.
  • You can bring a friend or other adult along to support you if you think that might make it easier for you. Start by saying you have something really important to tell them.
  • You can also say that it’s taken a lot of courage for you to be honest with them. Then, just tell them.

Parents or guardians of teenagers have a variety of reactions to news of a pregnancy. By the time you tell them, you’ve probably had some time to adjust to the idea of pregnancy yourself. Your parent(s) or guardian(s) may need a similar adjustment period. In the end, the majority of parents or guardians want what is best for their child, and when it comes to a pregnancy, it’s no different.

You know your parent(s) or guardian(s) and your situation the best, and while many teens will feel nervous or scared about having this conversation with their parent(s) or guardian(s), some may have a sense that it’s not safe for them to talk to their immediate family. If you feel like it would be unsafe to share your pregnancy with your immediate family, it might help to talk with another trusted adult—like a teacher, counselor, health care professional, community leader or relative—about your situation beforehand. Sometimes having the support of another adult, either in person or just emotionally, can help assure that you feel supported.

Visit our Communication Tool for ideas about how to approach this conversation with your family. A great hotline for teens is called All-Options at 1-888-493-0092. They are open Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. and Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time.

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