Unplanned pregnancy and abortion

Unplanned pregnancy and abortion

Find out where you can go for help and advice if you are pregnant and are not sure you want a baby.

If you've had unprotected sex in the last five days you are still in time to use emergency contraception.

If you think you could be pregnant you should do a pregnancy test as soon as possible. You can buy a test to do yourself from the pharmacy or supermarket, or you can ask for a test at your general practice, any young people's service, a contraception or sexual health clinic, a pharmacy (there may be a charge), most NHS walk-in centres (England only) and GUM clinics.

You can carry out a pregnancy test from the first day of a missed period. Tests that are done earlier than this may not be accurate. If you don’t have regular periods, the earliest time to do a test is three weeks (21 days) from the last time that you had unprotected sex.

If the test is positive, this means you are pregnant. All pregnancy tests, when carried out correctly, are reliable, including tests you do yourself.

You now need to think about what you want to do. You can choose to:

  • continue with the pregnancy and keep the baby
  • end the pregnancy by having an abortion
  • continue with the pregnancy and have the baby adopted.

Our Pregnant and don't know what to do? section gives you more information about all of these options.

You will need to make an appointment to see a doctor so that you can get the antenatal care you need. If you are not already registered with a general practice see How to get help with your sexual health.

For more information about pregnancy care see our information on Planning a pregnancy.

If you think you want to have the baby adopted, find out about this as soon as you can so that you can get the right information and support. Contact the British Association for Adoption and Fostering.

There are many reasons why some women feel that they are unable to continue with the pregnancy. For more information see Abortion: your questions answered.

Ultimately the decision about what to do is yours. Talking to people you trust and having accurate information can help. You may wish to talk to family and friends or it might be easier to talk to someone who is not so close to you.

Your general practice, contraception clinic, young people’s service and FPA can talk to you about how you feel about the pregnancy and the choices you have (see also Pregnant and don't know what to do?).

You can also discuss your options with other services but they might charge a fee (see Abortion: your questions answered).

If you are faced with an unplanned pregnancy and you live in Northern Ireland, FPA in Northern Ireland can offer:

  • non-judgemental and non-directive counselling
  • information on all your options to help you decide what to do.

The FPA unplanned pregnancy counselling service

The FPA unplanned pregnancy counselling service is the only impartial, non-judgemental and non-directive service available in Northern Ireland. Two centres in Belfast and Derry see about 500 women a year. All FPA services are completely confidential.

Further information

More about the unplanned pregnancy counselling service. For an appointment or for more information call FPA in Northern Ireland on 0845 122 8687.

Pregnant and don't know what to do Abortion: your questions answered Unplanned pregnancy counselling Northern Ireland