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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 a girl took a pregnancy test, either at home or in a clinic, and it came back positive, she has a decision to make. A girl who is faced with an unplanned pregnancy has three choices:

  1. Abortion.
  2. Adoption.
  3. Parent.

The decision of what to do when faced with an unplanned pregnancy is often really 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 girl is the one who needs to make this decision for herself. No girl should keep or terminate a pregnancy based solely on what her parents or partner wants.

How does someone decide?

Every girl is different. Therefore, she needs to look at her own life circumstances to make the decision that is best for her.

Here are some questions a girl who is faced with an unplanned pregnancy can ask herself. The answers can help her determine which decision is best for her.

  •  How do I feel about abortion? How do I feel about adoption? How do I feel about having a baby 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 support do I have in my life?

Regardless of what a girl chooses to do, it’s best to make a decision as soon as possible. If she chooses to place her baby with an adoption agency or to become a parent, she needs to see a health care professional for prenatal visits. If she chooses adoption, she should begin the process of selecting an adoption agency. If she chooses to terminate the pregnancy by having an abortion, it should be done 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 girls will feel nervous or scared about having this conversation with their parent(s) or guardian(s), some may just 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 about 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 comforted.

You can also check out Mom, Dad, I’m Pregnant to get some more ideas about how to approach this conversation with your family. A great hotline for teens is called Backline at 1-888-493-0092. They are open Monday through Thursday 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. and Friday through Sunday 1 to 6 p.m. Eastern time.

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