At any given moment in the United States, around 4% of all women in the country are pregnant. However, there’s a good chance that roughly half of those women are going through an unplanned pregnancy — something that occurs for about half of all women before they reach the age of 45. If you are one of these 4% or think that you might be, you do have options, and there are ways for you to get the help you need.
However, before you reach out to your doctor or local pregnancy crisis center, there are a few things you should do to prepare for a visit. Here are three steps you can take before receiving free pregnancy help and information from one of these services:
1. Don’t panic. Unfortunately, stress can wreak havoc on your body, especially where your menstrual cycle is concerned. If your period is already late, panicking over pregnancy may make it later. Whether you happen to be pregnant or not, make sure to calm yourself down before you head out for a visit with a doctor or other professional.
2. Check your symptoms. It’s easy to mistake an upcoming period for pregnancy, as many of the early pregnancy signs and symptoms overlap with PMS. Bloating, cramping, tender or swollen breasts, nausea or vomiting, irritability, mood swings, and spotting can all occur with both pregnancy and premenstrual syndrome. In many cases, taking a pregnancy test is the best way to figure out which is which. (Just be sure not to test too early!)
3. Research your options. There are plenty of different places where you can get free pregnancy help and information on pregnancy. Some adult and teen pregnancy centers will offer you a pregnancy test for free if you’ve been unable to get one on your own. Others provide free pregnancy help in the form of guidance as you make decisions about your future. Make sure to find a center that will be compassionate and caring as you go through this difficult time.
Above all, remember that you’re not alone in this situation. Have more questions on the services of a pregnancy center? Leave a comment below.