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Unexpectantly Pregnant

Katlyn Joy |12, May 2013


Not everyone has nine months to prepare for baby. Not everyone buys a kit to predict ovulation, takes her basal temp and charts her cycles in order to get pregnant. Some women think they have the flu, got food poisoning or are feeling anemic then get the big news; you're pregnant!

When you haven't planned the pregnancy, you have so much to think about and so little time to sort it all out. What about the night of the party when I had a few glasses of wine? Will my asthma medication hurt the baby? I just got this promotion, how will I manage?

If you just found out you are expecting, the thoughts whirling about you are dizzying. Take some time to simply breathe and quiet those thoughts. You are not the first person to be caught by surprise by the stork. Generations of women have managed to wing it through without benefit of pre-trying to conceive gyno appointments and so will you.

Next, get an appointment with a good OBGYN, family practitioner or health care provider. Prenatal care is a non-negotiable but don't distress over getting a late start. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about medications, lifestyle, weight, diet or symptoms. If you are late finding out about the baby, chances are you'll have the happy consequence of getting to hear baby's heartbeat at your first appointment. Few things are more reassuring than that thump-thump-thump.

Instead of focusing on what you haven't done yet, get advice from your physician on what you need to do now. Most likely, these things will include stopping medicines or taking different ones for conditions you have like allergies, taking a prenatal vitamin, stopping your nicotine habit or coffee one and eating a more healthy diet.

If you engage in unhealthy practices such as recreational drug use or even typically healthy pursuits that are intense such as say, kickboxing, you'll need to stop asap. If you are a runner, talk to your doc about your workouts and see if some adjustments need to be made.

What if Your Situation is Not Ideal

In a perfect world, every baby would be planned, come into a happy family with plenty of financial security where parents have room for a child, time for a child, and jobs that accommodate parenthood.

If you are not in a partnership with a loving mate, things are likely stressful now. If you are at the end of a relationship, or not even in a steady relationship, probably the big thing on your mind is how to tell the father. Or maybe even if or when to tell.

Understand you don't need to be in a romantic relationship with someone to share parenting responsibilities. Start things off on the right foot by being honest and open with the father from day one. Don't expect an ideal response right from the start. You were shocked so expect dad to be as well. Give each other space and time to process this news, then begin to work on a plan on how to parent together even if you are not together as a couple.

Build Your Support Team

Surprise pregnancies start off with some extra stress so know your go-to people. Who can you call with hormonal tears? Who can you ask to accompany you to your OBGYN visits? Lean on some big shoulders when you need to. It's OK!


If you aren't a listmaker, give it a shot to help you lay out your priorities. You need to get your health in order, your work plans in order, your physical home in order and your family plans in order. Unless baby is coming in a week, you will have time to get everything in order. Just break up the to-do list into chunks to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Get yourself a few pregnancy books, take a class, get online and join a board for expectant mothers. Consider taking a yoga class for pregnant women, keeping a pregnancy journal and learning infant CPR.

Take Care of You

Don't fall into a trap of being nothing but an incubator. You are still you and you need to take care of you in order to take care of this new being. Get rest not just for baby, but for you. Having a baby is a terrific excuse to do the things you knew you should like eating right and quitting smoking.

Finally, give yourself permission to be scared, frustrated or even not especially excited. That's perfectly normal. Some women may be overjoyed at the news. Some come to joy later. Rest assured, when the day arrives that you see your baby face to face, you will be as ready as can be and as happy as any other mother.

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