For many, college is a transformative period in life. It’s a time to discover who you are, what’s important to you, and which direction in life you’d like to take. However, for women who encounter an unexpected pregnancy during college, that transformative period can take on a whole new definition. But don’t worry, you’re entire life doesn’t have change. You have options and help is available.
For over 20 years, the Law Office of Madonna Finney has worked with women facing an unplanned pregnancy in Florida. During this time, we’ve found that there are several questions that come up again and again. So, we thought it’d be helpful to answer some of the most common questions here on our blog.
- How will I know if I’m pregnant?
The most common symptoms of early pregnancy include a missed period, tender and/or swollen breasts, nausea, vomiting, frequent urination, and fatigue. Less common signs include moodiness, bloating, light spotting, cramping, constipation, food aversions, and nasal congestion.
- What should I do if I think I’m pregnant? Is a home pregnancy test accurate?
If you believe that you’re facing a planned or unplanned pregnancy, the first thing you should do is either speak with a medical professional or take a home pregnancy test. According to the United States’ Office on Women’s Health, home pregnancy tests can be 99% accurate when used correctly.
While home pregnancy tests are accurate more often than not, especially if taken after a missed period, false-positive readings often occur after an abortion or miscarriage. The reason being is that hCG levels tend to fall during this time, but they do so very slowly. To be certain, you’ll need a medical pregnancy test performed by a trained professional, as well as an ultrasound. Typically, if you’re on a college campus, there will be a medical center that offers cost-effective, if not free, services.
- What should I do once I know I’m pregnant?
Discovering you’re pregnant can be an answer to prayer or a cause for panic. For those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, it’s not uncommon to be upset with circumstances and be at a loss for how to handle the situation. First, it’s best to find someone to speak with, like a trusted family member, a friend, or a loved one.
Once you have a better handle on the situation, you can decide if you’d like to continue your pregnancy or have an abortion. If you decide to continue your pregnancy, then you’ll need to consider whether you’d like to parent the child or make an adoption plan.
- If I can’t speak with my family or friends about the pregnancy, then who can I talk with?
If you find yourself without a trusted friend or family member, you can always seek out a professional to help you better understand your options. If you’re away from home at college, you can elect to seek out counseling from the medical center on campus. There are plenty of resources available on college campuses, and the people there would be more than happy to help you.
You could also elect to receive counseling with a Licensed Mental Health Worker or a Licensed Clinical Social Worker nearby, which our office provides free of charge.
- If I know I want to continue my pregnancy, then what?
If you’ve decided to continue forward with your pregnancy, the best thing to do is to find a medical professional, like an OB-GYN, and seek their advice on what steps you should take first.
Before the first appointment, talk with your insurance company about coverage or if you lack insurance, try to find out if you qualify for a student plan through your college or university. Typically, these plans are low-cost and cover the majority of your healthcare-related costs.
During this time, it’s also important to remember that you should abstain from drinking alcohol, smoking, and eating certain raw or undercooked foods (like seafood, raw eggs, raw sprouts, or soft cheese), as well as unpasteurized cheese, milk or fruit juice.
If you find yourself facing an unplanned pregnancy in Florida and are not sure where to start, you can always contact the Law Office of Madonna Finney. We would help you evaluate your pregnancy or parenting options. If you decide upon adoption, we would help you make the adoption plan that works best for you and your child, including helping you find just the right adoptive family.
Madonna and her staff answer their phones 24/7. There is no cost or obligation to call or text us at (850) 308-1836.