CONCERNS

Think You Might Be Pregnant?

Signs & Symptoms [CLICK TO EXPAND]

Early Signs of Pregnancy

There are many pregnancy signs. In some cases these early signs of pregnancy may occur for reasons other than pregnancy. For example, if she is unusually stressed or active, she may experience one or more common pregnancy signs, such as delayed menstrual period or fatigue. Early signs and symptoms of pregnancy include:

Although taking a pregnancy test is the most common way a woman tells she is pregnant before seeking a medical diagnosis, these early signs are worth noting.

Later Signs of Pregnancy

As a pregnancy progresses, the signs and symptoms become more pronounced and harder to miss. Some of these pregnancy signs include:

Trained medical personnel can also detect additional signs and symptoms of pregnancy with a physical exam and other procedures such as an ultrasound. These signs and symptoms include changes in the size and shape of the uterus, changes in the cervix, or fetal heart signs or movements.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these pregnancy signs, you can get free, confidential help by calling 920-261-9207 or 800-924-6073 (24/7 Helpline).


What About the Morning After Pill? [CLICK TO EXPAND]

The Morning-After Pill (MAP)

The most common brand of morning-after pill sold in the United States is called Plan B®.  It is reported to work within 72 hours after sex and can lower your chance of pregnancy significantly.

There are things you should consider before you take this drug.  Although it is advertised as safe and effective, it is good to know all the facts before you take it.  Your body and your health are important.

Plan B® is an extremely high dosage of chemical hormones. 
It contains the same chemical hormones found in some types of birth control.

Plus, you may not even need it. You can only get pregnant on certain days of the month – around the time that you ovulate.  Typically, there are only about three to five days a month in which a woman can get pregnant.  Unfortunately, most women looking for the morning-after pill are panicked because they think (or perceive) the clock is ticking, and as a result they don't take the time to evaluate their situation. If you weren't fertile when you had sex because you were nowhere near ovulation, it is senseless to take the drug.  It will only subject you to the possible side effects of nausea and vomiting and put a bunch of unnecessary hormones in your body.

Women who are considering Plan B® do not always know where they are in their cycle or if they are fertile, so they rush and spend money on a drug that they don't need and that may harm their bodies.

Women who have a known or suspected pregnancy should not take the pills, according to the manufacturers.

Risks Associated with the Morning-After Pill

Plan B® is a relatively new drug, and as a result there has not been much testing on its effect on the body. Some of the commonly reported side effects are nausea, abdominal pain, tiredness, headache, menstrual changes, dizziness, breast tenderness, and vomiting. After taking Plan B® it is not uncommon to have an irregular period. This could mean heavier bleeding, lighter bleeding or a delayed period. It can take time before your body will go back to normal and stabilize itself.

Women who have diabetes should be monitored while taking Plan B, and women with pelvic inflammatory disease should not take Plan B, except under a physician's careful monitoring.vi  Unfortunately, a lot of women don't know if they have diabetes and/or don't know if they have pelvic inflammatory disease.

After taking Plan B® there is also an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that is occurring anywhere outside of the uterus. The most common type of ectopic pregnancy is sometimes referred to as a tubal pregnancy because it is one that is occurring in the woman's fallopian tube. If this goes unnoticed, a woman could be at serious risk. Even a small delay in diagnosing an ectopic pregnancy can be fatal.

Plan B® does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) or other sexually transmitted diseases. It is generally recommended that any sexually active woman seek testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

Another major problem concerning Plan B® is the effect it could have if you are already pregnant. Women who have a known or suspected pregnancy should not take the pills. They are not designed to abort implanted embryos. Attempting to use them for that purpose greatly increases the chances of serious complications.

How the Morning After Pill Works

Many women don't know how Plan B® works.  Plan B® works in one of three ways, and the difference depends upon where the woman is in her cycle.  If she has not yet ovulated, taking Plan B® can work as a contraceptive and suppress ovulation.

If she has ovulated, it can prevent the sperm from coming into contact with the egg.

The last way in which Plan B® may work is a little more complicated. Conception or fertilization is the term used when the sperm joins the egg. When this happens, human life has begun. The embryo moves through the fallopian tube and implants in the uterus about a week later.  If Plan B® is taken after an egg has been fertilized it may not allow the embryo to implant in the uterus. This would be considered an abortion rather than contraception, because life begins at conception (when the egg is fertilized by the sperm).

For more information on the morning after pill, visit www.optionline.org

Pregnancy Terms [CLICK TO EXPAND]

Cervix: The bottom opening to the uterus.
Embryo: Human life at an early development stage with its own unique DNA.
Conception: The point at which a male sperm and the female egg join and a new human embryo begins; also called fertilization.
Fetus: A developing unborn baby with an observable human structure.
Full Term Pregnancy: The stage at about 40 weeks after last menstrual period or 38 weeks after conception when the unborn baby is ready for birth.
Last Menstrual Period (LMP): The date when a woman started her last menstrual period before conception. This is the point in time from which the pregnancy and the age of the unborn baby are measured.
Trimester: An interval of three months used to measure three successive stages of pregnancy; first trimester, second trimester, and third trimester.
Uterus: The muscular female organ that contains the developing unborn baby.

How Does a Fetus Develop? [CLICK TO EXPAND]

7 weeks
7 weeks

8 weeks
14 weeks
5 months

Fetal Development

Day 1:
When conception (fertilization) occurs, the baby's features, including sex, hair and eye color, have already been determined.

9 Weeks LMP:
7 weeks after conception
At this age, the baby's heart has been beating for one month and fingers and toes are developed.

10 Weeks LMP:
8 weeks after conception
At 10 weeks, the baby hiccups and reacts to loud noises.

16 Weeks LMP:
14 weeks after conception
At 16 weeks, the baby's gender can be determined by ultrasound.

22 Weeks LMP:
20 weeks after conception
At this age, the baby's eyelashes can be seen and the lungs are developing.

Considering an Abortion?

How Will Abortion Affect My Life Compared to Adoption? [CLICK TO EXPAND]

Similarities
AdoptionAbortion
You can pursue earlier goals and plans.You can pursue earlier goals and plans.
You can live independently.You can live independently.
You will not have to parent prematurely.You will not have to parent prematurely.
You will be free from the financial burdens of parenting.You will be free from the financial burdens of parenting.
You have the freedom to choose if you want to have a long-term relationship with the other baby's father.You have the freedom to choose if you want to have a long-term relationship with the other baby's father.
You can resume your education or career.You can resume your education or career.
Differences
AdoptionAbortion
Your pregnancy ends with giving life.Your pregnancy ends with death.
You may feel good and positive about your choice.You may feel guilt and shame about your choice.
You will remember giving birth.You will remember taking a life.
You will have plenty of time to plan you and your baby's future.Abortion is final; you can't reverse your decision.
You can hold, name and love your baby.You will never know the treasure of your baby.
You can have continued contact with your child.You will miss the opportunity to see your child develop.

For more information regarding adoption, visit www.bethany.org.


Whose Decision Is It Anyway? [CLICK TO EXPAND]

For many women, abortion is a life-changing event with significant physical, emotional and spiritual consequences. Many women struggle with past abortions and report wishing they had been told all of the facts about abortion at the time. If someone is pressuring you to have an abortion, remember that no one else will have to live with the consequences of the decision as much as you will. It should not be made hastily, because it's an important, permanent decision. You have the right to continue your pregnancy if you choose. Many women in the same situation have received help and resources to enable them to give their child life and continue with their own. Giving birth to a child at this point may seem like a roadblock to the rest of your life, but it doesn't have to be.


What If There's No Other Choice? [CLICK TO EXPAND]

Ten Reasons I want an Abortion ...

1. I can’t let my parents know – they’ll kill me! Have your parents ever killed anyone before? Unless they really are violent, you mean they will be very upset. And you are probably right. Give your parents some credit, though. They did not make it to adulthood without experiencing disappointment. Your parents have had dreams shattered and hopes dashed, yet they have survived. Abortion involves the life of their grandchild. It seems only fair to include them, even if they will initially be shocked by the news. Open communication is key. Keeping a secret – for years and years – will add unhealthy stress to your system. You don’t need more of that!

2. I can’t support myself, much less a baby. I want to finish school. It can be very scary to have financial difficulties, but there truly are a lot of possible solutions. Social service agencies offer temporary assistance with food, medical care and even baby sitting. Today’s schools often give aid to single mothers or a job could always come through. Church groups will sometimes help. A lot can change financially in nine months! Another alternative would be to place the baby in a loving adoptive home. What an honorable act! Of course there can be heartache with this choice. Abortion can carry guilt and shame. Adoption can cause grief but also gives hope for a positive future – for both you and your baby.

3. Well, it is legal. Yes, but many things that are legal (smoking, cheating on your partner, gambling) may not be right for you. And our country is in conflict about the legal worth of a fetus. If a pregnant woman dies in a plane crash, her baby’s life is counted in the death toll. Likewise, a fetus is protected from a mother who is abusing drugs. The woman can be put in jail while pregnant to protect the baby’s health. Laws and opinions are constantly changing (even the original woman who was “Roe” in the landmark Roe vs. Wade case that legalized abortion now speaks publicly against it). And some women are suing their abortionists for damage done to them from their “safe and legal” abortions. Don’t depend on the legal system to make your own moral choices for you!

4. My boyfriend will break up with me if I don’t have an abortion. Here’s the sad truth. Your boyfriend will probably break up with you anyway, especially if you are both young or haven’t been dating long. If you get the abortion, you will always remind him of something he isn’t proud of. If you don’t, he may resent that he has to pay child support and take responsibility as a father. Either way, it isn’t wise to make a life-altering decision based on what someone else dictates. Remember that the baby’s father has no legal rights when it comes to abortion. He cannot force you to have one, and you should not give him the power to do so. Is a guy who would break up with you for not ending your baby’s life really worth trusting with the decision anyway?

5. My mother is pressuring me to have an abortion. Some parents suggest abortion because a pregnancy will impact their own lives in negative ways. Most really do put their children first, wanting what is best for them. Your mother may sincerely desire to take away your pain. She may believe the lie that abortion is an easy way out. Your mom may feel she had her own child too young, or at the cost of her own education. She may not wish the same to happen to you. She may have had an abortion herself and see it as the answer. But what your mother may not realize is that 94% of women who have had an abortion regret their decision. If she knew the facts about the potential physical and emotional consequences for the daughter she loves, your mother might instead choose to support you in the pregnancy. Chances are, your mother is glad she did not abort you.

6. Getting pregnant was an accident. I just want to undo it. Many people can relate to the feeling of desperately wanting to turn back time, but there just is no way to reverse a pregnancy. Once conception has occurred, there is a baby who needs to come out – either in pieces from an abortion or whole and alive through a birth. A normal pregnancy lasts only 40 weeks, a relatively short amount of time in the whole of your life. Carrying your baby to term and then placing the baby for adoption could make what you now consider “an accident,” a huge blessing for others. Choosing abortion over adoption because you know you would naturally become attached to your baby throughout the pregnancy means that you recognize there will be pain at separation. That pain will lessen over time and be eased by knowing you made the unselfish choice to offer your baby a wonderful life. If you fear your baby won’t be brought up in a loving adoptive home, try to imagine what could be less loving than ending his or her life.

7. I don’t like what pregnancy will do to my body. While it is true that pregnancy causes changes in your body, many women today actually celebrate those changes and stay in great shape. But, if you are honestly fearful of what being pregnant may do to you, consider also what abortion can do. The most common, immediate, and short-term complications include excessive bleeding, infections, intense pain, high fever, incomplete removal of the baby or placenta (which can cause life-threatening infections and sterility), PID (pelvic inflammatory disease), and a punctured or torn uterus. Abortion can also result in problems with reproductive organs that can make it difficult to conceive or carry a child to term in the future. For pregnant women who have previously had abortions, they now have a 160% increased risk of tubal pregnancy and 200% increased risk of miscarriage. You are not doing your body any favors by subjecting it to an abortion.

8. It’s not really a baby. It’s just a “blob of tissue”. The fact is that upon fertilization 23 chromosomes from each parent have joined to form a 46-chromosome, complete individual with the eye color, shoe size, and sex already determined. Only oxygen and nutrition are added in the womb. An ultrasound at the earliest stages of development will reveal the specific features of a unique person miraculously being formed. And consider this: those in post-abortion support groups across the country are not there to mourn the loss of their “blobs of tissue”. They are there to mourn the loss of their babies.

9. I’m pregnant because of a rape. Carrying this baby to term must seem unthinkable! Although our culture would give you “permission” and even encouragement to abort, please don’t jump to that as the obvious choice. Adding another violent act, abortion, to the horrible thing that has already happened to you, will only complicate your healing process. You are in a very unusual circumstance (conception from rape is extremely rare) and it is understandable that you would be frantic. But don’t allow the rapist to further impact your situation by causing you to end the life of an innocent child.

10. I have to have an abortion. There’s no other way. Let’s stop to think of some other possibilities. Find people who help women with unintended pregnancies and get creative ideas from them. Yes, your lifestyle with your current friends will change. But you will be amazed at how supportive others can be (including pastors, counselors or staff at a local pregnancy center). And if you go to God and ask for help, He will hear your prayers. In fact God tells you (in Isaiah 43:18-19) to forget the former things and not dwell on the past. God is doing a new thing! Do you not see it? He is making a way in the desert and will give you streams in the wasteland.

Take comfort in God’s promises and ask Him to guide your decision as you gather information, view an ultrasound and consider every alternative. Respect the life He has created within you, despite the circumstances. Safeguard your own future health and well-being by confidently doing the right thing. You may not be happy with decisions made by you or others in the past. But now you have the opportunity to make a better choice, not only for yourself but also for your child.

References:
1. Post Abortion Review, Fall 1994
2. Strahan, T., Major Articles and Books Concerning the Detrimental
Effects of Abortion (Rutherford Institute, 1996)
3. American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 72, 1982
4. Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 243, 1982
5. M. Unctman, Suicides Anonymous, Sept. 1981

Written by Laurie Turnow
Used by permission
For more information, visit www.hh76.com


What Do I Need to Know About Abortion Procedures? [CLICK TO EXPAND]

ABORTION INFORMATION

Common side effects which may occur with induced abortion include abdominal pain and cramping, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

First Trimester Abortions:
Suction Curettage is the most common abortion procedure. It is usually performed between 6 and 14 weeks after the first day of a woman's last menstrual period (LMP). In this procedure the abortionist dilates (opens) the cervix with metal dilator rods or laminaria (thin sticks derived from plants and inserted hours before the procedure.) The abortionist then inserts tubing into the uterus and connects the tubing to a suction system that removes the fetus' body, the placenta, and the membranes from the woman's body. A variation of this method is called the Dilation and Curettage (D&C). In this method a curette, a loop-shaped knife is used to scrape the fetal parts out of the uterus. A follow up appointment should be made to make sure that all of the fetal parts have been removed.

Possible complications include:
Incomplete abortion
Pelvic infection
Heavy bleeding
Torn cervix
Perforated uterus
Blood clots in uterus

RU486/Mifepristone (also known as the abortion pill) is used within 30-49 days after a woman's LMP. On the first office visit, the RU486 pills are given to the woman to induce the uterus to shed its lining and dislodge the embryo. She then returns two days later for a second dose of pills called misprostol (sometimes given as a suppository), which causes the uterus to contract and expel the embryo. Heavy bleeding is expected at this stage. The success of the abortion is verified at the third visit. In about 5% of cases, a surgical abortion will be required to remove the embryo.

Warnings were issued by the FDA in 2004 reminding health care providers that serious bacterial infection and sepsis may occur without the usual signs of infection, such as fever and tenderness on examination. Health care providers should be aware that prolonged, heavy bleeding may warrant surgical interventions. The revised product warning label also advises that health care providers should be vigilant for patients with undiagnosed ectopic pregnancies (tubal pregnancies) as this condition may be missed by physical examination and ultrasound. Some of the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy may mimic the expected symptoms of a medical termination of pregnancy. Mifepristone is not effective for termination of these pregnancies. (http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/news/2004/NEW01134.html)

Second Trimester - Common Abortion Procedures:
Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) This surgical procedure is done during the second trimester of pregnancy. The body of the baby has grown too large at this point to be removed by suction alone. Therefore, the abortionist must do this procedure in two stages.

First the cervix must dilated (opened) wider than in a first trimester procedure. This is done by inserting laminaria (sterile seaweed sticks) into the cervix a day or two before the abortion. The material slowly absorbs moisture and opens the cervix. A second or third application of the material may be necessary.

In the second stage of the procedure, anesthetic is given to numb the placenta. The abortionist then inserts forceps (an instrument used for grasping tissue) and suction curettage (a powerful vacuum tube connected to a looped shaped knife) into the uterus to remove the baby, placenta, and amniotic sac. The process may need to be repeated several times to ensure that all fetal parts have been removed. In some cases it may be necessary for the abortionist to dismember the fetus and or crush its skull for ease of removal.

Possible physical complications include:
Blood clots in the uterus
Heavy bleeding
Cut or torn cervix
Perforation of the wall of the uterus
Pelvic infection
Incomplete abortion
Anesthesia-related complications

Third Trimester Abortion Procedures:
The Dilation and Extraction (D&X) abortion is often referred to as “Partial Birth Abortion.” This procedure is performed from 20 weeks after the first day of a woman's last menstrual period (LMP) until full term. This procedure usually takes place over three days. During the first two days the cervix is dilated (opened) using sponge-like tapered pieces of absorbent material inserted into the woman's cervix by the abortionist. As the material absorbs body fluids, the cervix is stretched. A second or third application of the material may be necessary.

On the day of the abortion, a local or general anesthetic is administered to the mother followed by medication to start labor. After labor has begun, the abortionist uses ultrasound to located the baby's legs. Using forceps, the abortionist grabs hold of a leg and delivers the baby up to the head. A scissors is then inserted into the base of the baby's skull to create an opening. A suction catheter is inserted into the opening in the skull to remove the skull contents. The skull collapses, then the baby is removed. Because the baby has grown to around 7 ½ inches in length and one pound in weight by 20 weeks it may be necessary for the abortionist to dismember the baby to remove it. Following the abortion, the abortionist reassembles the body parts to ensure that the fetal tissue has been completely removed from the mother's uterus.

Fetal Pain: Some experts have concluded that the unborn child feels physical pain as early as nine weeks gestation, while others suggest 20 weeks. Others feel pain is felt later in gestational development. There is federal legislation pending requiring abortionists to administer anesthetic to the unborn child prior to the abortion if the mother so requests.

Possible complications:
Risks are similar to childbirth
Uterine infection
Heavy bleeding
High blood pressure
Rare events such as stroke, blood clot, or anesthesia-related death

Complications arise in as many as 1 out of every 100 early abortions and in about 1 of every 50 later abortions. Other possible risks may include an increased chance of developing breast cancer. A 1994 study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that women who had experienced an induced abortion had a 50% higher risk of breast cancer than women who carried their pregnancy to term. The risk of future miscarriage is also greater for women who abort their first pregnancy.

Sources: Minnesota Department of Health booklet, “If you are Pregnant: Information on fetal development, Abortion and Alternatives.”
“Before you Decide, An Abortion Education Resource.” Published by Care Net 2003


Considering Adoption?

How Will Adoption Affect My Life Compared with Single Parenthood? [CLICK TO EXPAND]

Similarities
AdoptionSingle Parenting
You give your child life.You give your child life.
You can plan for your baby's future.You can plan for your baby's future.
You can hold and name your baby.You can hold and name your baby.
You can know how your baby is growing and developing.You can know how your baby is growing and developing.
Differences
AdoptionSingle Parenting
You will not have to parent before you are ready.You will have a parental role, 24/7
You can choose a two-parent family for your baby.You will not have the support of a spouse.
You will be free from the financial responsibilities of parenting.You will be more likely to struggle financially.
You can continue with your education or career.You may need to delay your education or career.
You may have the freedom to continue or to end a relationship with the other birthparent.You may be unwillingly involved in a long-term relationship with the other birthparent.

How Does Adoption Work? [CLICK TO EXPAND]


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ADOPTION

Maybe you know in your heart that you can’t take care of your baby. There’s not enough time, money, or help. Maybe you already have children and one more baby would be too much stress on you!

The good news about your situation is that there are so many families all over the country that would love to have a baby of their own, but can’t due to infertility. They are waiting for a person like you - a person that wants to give a baby life, and share that baby with them.

You are doing the right thing by researching all of your options. If you feel that you can’t parent, no matter what the reason, adoption may be the right choice for you! Please read the answers to the questions asked below.

How can I be helped financially?
There is no cost to you for adoption. You do not need an attorney - Bethany (or your adoption agency) will handle all the legal and financial details for you.

Can I get assistance with medical and living expenses while I am making an adoption plan?
Assistance with medical and living expenses is available at Bethany.

What services are normally offered to me as the birth mother?
  • Assistance with medical and living expenses
  • Referrals for housing and coordination of medical services
  • Interim care for the child, if desired
  • Development of an adoption plan
  • Hospital visitation and coordination of services with hospital staff
  • Birthparent support groups
  • Post-adoption counseling
  • Assistance with the legal process of termination of parental rights
  • Counseling services for designated (private) or attorney-facilitated (designated) adoptions
  • Pregnancy counseling for you and your extended family before and after birth
Can I choose a family for my baby?
Yes! Most agencies have many different families you can choose from. These families have been screened and approved. There are additional options such as choosing a friend or someone who has been recommended to you. You can see a list of family profiles online, and the office you choose will have more profiles for you to look at.

How much will I get to see my baby after birth and after adoption?
You may have as much contact with your baby at the hospital as you want. When planning your child’s adoption, you can choose an open adoption plan that allows ongoing visits with your child, or you can choose semi-open plan that keeps you informed about your child’s progress through letters and pictures. If you prefer not to have any contact with your child or the adoptive family, confidential adoption plans are also possible.

How soon after birth can my baby go to the parents I choose?
The timing of your child’s placement depends on three factors:

Many women want their baby placed with the adoptive family directly from the hospital, but you may prefer to place your baby in temporary care while you consider adoption.

How much will my child know about me?
That depends on what type of adoption you choose - open, semi-open, or confidential. Also, your agency will encourage you to provide your complete medical and social history to your child, no matter what type of adoption you choose (in some states this is required).

Does the birthfather have any rights?
Both you and the birthfather have rights. If you disagree about adoption or you no longer have a relationship with him, your agency will work with the birthfather and/or the courts to determine if his rights can be terminated.

Can my child find me if he/she wants to search someday?
The laws in your state determine when and how your child may have access to information in the adoption file.

For more information regarding adoption, visit www.bethany.org.

IF YOU NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE ABOUT THESE ISSUES,
PLEASE CALL 920-261-9207 24/7 Helpline: 800-924-6073