What are My Options if I’m Facing Another Unplanned Pregnancy?

An unplanned pregnancy can happen to any woman, even if she already has children. Whether it’s your second, third, fourth of fifth pregnancy, you are still entitled to the same unplanned pregnancy rights as any woman. Learn more about your options here.

If you’ve just found out that you’re pregnant again, you may feel an overwhelming sense of panic. As a woman who understands how much is involved in a pregnancy, you may be asking yourself questions like:

  • Is terminating an unplanned third pregnancy an option?
  • What will my other children think about my unexpected third pregnancy?
  • How should I start dealing with an unplanned third pregnancy?
  • Is parenting the right choice for my unplanned pregnancy with my second baby?

It’s important to remember that, even if you already have children, you have the same unplanned pregnancy rights as any other pregnant woman. Whether this is your second, third or fourth pregnancy that’s unwanted, you should never feel pressured into a decision that you don’t want.

If you’re unsure of where to start, this guide will provide information on your unplanned pregnancy rights, as well as tips for talking with your older children about your decision.

What are My Options for an Unwanted Second or Third Pregnancy?

Having previous children will never stop you from choosing any of the following unplanned pregnancy options. You can still choose:

  1. Abortion
  2. Adoption
  3. Parenting

Right now, you’re probably having a hard time deciding which option is right for your situation. Here’s what you should know about how each one of these options will change if you’re facing a second, third or an unplanned fourth pregnancy.

Abortion

If you’re facing another unplanned pregnancy, you’ve probably considered abortion. The idea of going through pregnancy while raising your older children may be too much to imagine, and terminating your pregnancy may seem like the right solution.

Whether you’ve just found out about your unwanted second or third pregnancy or have been debating your options for a while, here’s what you should do:

  • Talk to your doctor: Depending on how far along you are when you’re facing a second unwanted pregnancy, you’ll need to make sure that abortion is still an option for you. Your doctor will go over any health risks or medical concerns that you may have if you’re thinking about your unplanned second or third pregnancy and abortion.
  • Research abortion laws: Abortion laws vary greatly. Many states start to limit access to this unplanned pregnancy option after 12 weeks, although there are some that allow the procedure up to 24 weeks. There are even states where you must undergo a mandatory waiting period and even counseling. If you’re considering this option for an unwanted second or third pregnancy, do as much research as you can. You’ll also need to think about how you will afford the costs of abortion on top of your other financial obligations. You will need to find childcare during the procedure itself — especially if you live in a state with a mandatory waiting period after your first ultrasound.

Adoption

Many women feel that adoption is the best choice for them and their unplanned pregnancy. Whether or not you’ve already gone through the adoption process, this decision will be tough. But, depending on your circumstances, it could be the right option for your unwanted second pregnancy.

If you’ve already gone through the adoption process, many of the steps will be the same. But if you’re new, here’s what you should know:

  • You are in charge of the adoption process: From picking the perfect adoptive family to deciding how much post-placement contact you’re open to, you get to make all of the important decisions during your unplanned second, third or fourth pregnancy. With the help of your adoption professional, you can create an adoption plan that’s made just for you.
  • You always have access to 24/7 unplanned pregnancy counseling: Adoption won’t be an easy decision to make. Thankfully, your adoption professional can guide you through this entire process.
  • You can still maintain a relationship with your child: Picturing what will happen after an unplanned pregnancy with your second or third child can be scary. But just know that if you choose adoption, you can still be a part of your child’s life as much as you would like. Your older children can also build a relationship with their sibling as they grow up. Many women decide to continue their relationships through pictures and letters, phone calls, emails and even in-person visits.
  • You can still receive financial assistance: It is possible to receive financial assistance for your pregnancy if you choose adoption. Obviously, this assistance will be a great help if you’re supporting yourself and your older children. To find out if you can receive financial assistance for your unique specialist adoption, please reach out to your adoption professional.

Parenting

Every woman’s situation is different. But if you’re already raising children, you might be wondering if parenting again is the right option for you. Adding another child to your family, even when it’s an unexpected second or third pregnancy, is a great option. Here’s what you should know if you’re considering this path.

  • Raising multiple children isn’t cheap: Raising just one child to the age of 18 costs at least $233, 000, according to U.S. the Department of Agriculture. If this is your third, fourth, or fifth pregnancy, ask yourself if you’re ready for the extra costs that come with adding a baby to your home.
  • You’ll need more time and energy: Having just one child is hard enough; consider how much work it takes to raise another human being. For example, if you’re facing an unexpected pregnancy after 4 kids and you’re not sure if you have the time or the energy, it’s OK to consider your other options.
  • Your desire to become a parent again: Many women dream of having a big family. But that might not be you, and that’s OK. Just because you’re facing unexpected pregnancy number 4 (or 3 or 2) doesn’t mean that you have to become a parent again if you’re not ready or if you just plain don’t want to.

No matter which unplanned pregnancy option you’re considering, don’t forget that you can reach out to an adoption professional for free unbiased information. You might also reach out to a health care provider like Planned Parenthood, your doctor, or a support group for woman facing an unplanned pregnancy with their second, third or fourth child if you’re looking for additional resources.

How to Talk to Your Children About Your Unplanned Second/Third/Fourth Pregnancy

Now that you have an idea of which unplanned pregnancy option is right for you, it’s time for the next step: telling your other children. Right now, you might ask yourself if you should even tell them at all. And, if you do, what should you say?

Here are a few tips if you’re not sure how to bring up the topic of an unexpected second, third or fourth pregnancy with your children:

  • Wait until you’re ready: An unplanned pregnancy will come as quite a shock. It’s OK to step back and wait to tell your children so that you can process the news about your unplanned second or third pregnancy.
  • Decide how much you want to share: Depending on which unplanned pregnancy option you choose, you might decide to keep some things to yourself. Whatever you decide to share, make sure that it’s at a level they can handle.
  • Let them ask their own questions: Your child will be extremely curious about your pregnancy. Keep in mind that this will likely be a conversation you have more than once, so let them ask any questions they have about your unplanned second or third baby when they’re ready.

Ultimately, this is still your pregnancy. And that means you are the only one who can decide what’s best for you and your other children.

Making Your Unplanned Pregnancy Decision

You’ve got a lot to think about right now. Deciding what to do with an unplanned second, third or fourth pregnancy won’t be easy, but we hope that this article put you on the right path.

If you have any questions about what to do next, or about any of your unplanned pregnancy options for an unplanned sixth (or other number) pregnancy, please fill out our free information form to be connected with an adoption professional.