Single and Pregnant

What to do when an unmarried woman finds herself single and pregnant? Advice for unwed mothers and single moms to be.

In spite of the best precautions, nearly every birth control method, aside from abstinence, carries some risk of pregnancy. What should you do if you find yourself dealing with an unplanned pregnancy? It may be a very stressful situation but it does not have to cause bleakness and despair. There are many options and with a plan in mind the sudden crisis can be handled well.


An important first step for unmarried or single women who discover that they face an unexpected pregnancy is to get information and lots of it. Don't jump to an immediate decision about how you'll deal with the situation, especially if you are still in shock or totally taken aback by the news.

Hopefully, you have discovered the pregnancy within the first three months, giving yourself at least time to allow the news to set in and to accept the reality. Don't panic or make hasty decisions. You have many choices.

Now consider your age, total health and the benefits of seeing a doctor for prenatal care. You may not be sure about your options yet but it is still best to discover what to do for yourself when handling that unexpected pregnancy. Experienced doctors have seen many single and pregnant women and you shouldn't be treated rudely. If you are, of course, leave that doctor's office immediately. Find someone compassionate who will give you the best prenatal care possible.

If you're expecting a baby, you do need to learn about nutrition. Expectant single mothers need special diets, vitamins and other information. Your diet may be carefully planned, especially if you are overweight or have underlying health risks. You may be advised to take extra vitamins and folic acid. All this will help ensure a healthy baby.

Of course, you'll have to look carefully at your financial situation, a priority for single and pregnant women. That unexpected baby can also bring additional expenses, from prenatal care to baby clothing and doctors' visits after the baby is born.

If the pregnancy is high risk, you may have to cut back on work hours. If not, consider your age and responsibilities. If in high school, you should be allowed to continue and graduate but support can vary. Some school environments are relatively nurturing while others are more hostile or indifferent.

If you have graduated college or high school and have a job, think about the reality of working while pregnant. Will your employer be open to that? If so, do you make enough money to support yourself and a baby? Perhaps you have a strong network of friends, relatives or family members and are willing to provide free care, both during the pregnancy and after the baby is born.

At this point, it should be clear that women facing unexpected pregnancies need to gather as much information as possible. Priorities are understanding how being single and pregnant can affect one's life both financially and emotionally, thinking about how a baby could change plans and goals, and figuring out how to come up with a plan for managing it all. You may have been shocked to discover you are carrying a baby - but you can get in control of your life and your choices very quickly.

There are many support groups for single women dealing with pregnancy. Some offer chances for expectant mothers of all ages to talk and share their concerns. They can be a vital way to stay calm and also to realize that you are not alone, offering hope and inspiration.

Related Resources

Child Custody Guidelines and Information

The Fit and Healthy Pregnancy Guide

Become a Single Mom by Choice

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