Pregnant? What can I do?
Finding out you are pregnant can be scary, but there is confidential help to support you and to discuss your options around making the right decision for you, and if appropriate, your partner
Early Signs of Pregnancy
Some people can tell that they’re pregnant because they feel different. For example, they might feel sick, tired, have tender breasts or experience mood swings. Often, the first time someone thinks they might be pregnant is when their period is late. But not everyone experiences all the possible symptoms of pregnancy.
Most pregnant people don’t get periods. However, if you have noticed that your periods are shorter or lighter than normal this can be a sign of pregnancy. There’s also something called implantation bleeding which can happen during pregnancy – after the egg is fertilised and attaches itself to the womb lining, some bleeding may happen. Sometimes, people mistake implantation bleeding for a period and don’t realise they’re pregnant. Implantation bleeding happens between 6 to 12 days after ovulation, while a period usually starts 10 to 16 days after ovulation, so it’s easy to mistake one for the other. The only way to find out for sure if you’re pregnant is by taking a pregnancy test.
Getting a test
If you have had unprotected sex, then there is a chance that you are pregnant.
The first thing to do is get the pregnancy confirmed. You can do this by going to any of the Sexual Health Clinics in Tayside or the Western Isles, your GP, The Corner, Young people's services for free or you can buy a test from the pharmacy.
What are my options?
1. Emergency contraception
You can use this up to 5 days after unprotected sex to prevent a pregnancy. CLICK HERE for details of your choices.
Emergency Contraception is available free from your GP, pharmacies, & sexual health clinics across Tayside & the Western Isles.
2. Continuing with the pregnancy and becoming a parent
If you decide to continue with the pregnancy you will be supported throughout the pregnancy by the Maternity Department, and ante natal services in Tayside. If you are aged 19 or younger you will be offered support from the Family Nurse Partnership throughout the pregnancy and after the child is born. The Family Nurse Partnership is a Tayside wide service available for clients living within the Dundee, Angus and Perth & Kinross areas. It is a voluntary home visiting programme for all eligible first time mums (and dads), aged 19 or under at the start of pregnancy. A specially trained Family Nurse visits the mum regularly, from early in pregnancy until the child is two
3. Continue the pregnancy and arrange adoption
If you decide to continue the pregnancy but reliquish care of the child, then the ante natal services will contact the Social Work team, and a worker will support and take you through the options available to you and your child.
4.End the pregnancy with abortion
Abortion is when a pregnancy is ended so that it doesn't result in the birth of a child. Sometimes it is called 'termination of pregnancy'.
As many as one in three women in the UK have an abortion at some time their lives. The decision to have an abortion is not easy and it can be a very emotional time for a woman and her partner if they are involved.
Talking to people you trust and making sure you have accurate information and support can help. It is important that you seek advice as early as possible.
If you decide to have an abortion you will be supported by the NHS to do this in a non judgemental way in confidence. If you are at risk for any reason (Child protection), other professionals may need to get involved, but you will be consulted at all times.
Abortion is available up to 18 weeks & 6 days gestation in Tayside.
Appointment for a termination of a pregnancy.
Once you have been give plenty of opportunity to discuss your pregnancy and you have decided that you do not wish to continue with it, an appointment will be made at either PRI or Ninewells clinic. If your doctor/nurse has given you a letter, please take it with you to the hospital. The appointment will last approximately and hour. Your consultation is completely confidential although you will be encouraged to speak with your parents about the situation. You will have an STI screen as a routine before you have the termination
You can be referred by:
- Sexual health clinic
- Your GP
- The Corner (under 19)
- Consulting an independent provider such as British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS)
Once you have been given plenty of opportunity to discuss your pregnancy and you have decided that you do not wish to continue with it, an appointment will be made at either PRI or Ninewells clinics. If your doctor/nurse has given you a letter, please take it with you to the hospital.
The appointment at the hospital will last approximately an hour. Staff will make sure that you are comfortable with your decision. You can change your mind at any time before it starts. Staff will ensure your right to confidentiality.
There are three types of abortion available depending on how far along the pregnancy is and your current health. For information on what's involved click here
Having an abortion can be an emotional and traumatic experience for some women, and counselling can help support you through this time. Post termination counselling is available through the NHS or through independent organisations. You will be given this information either at Ninewells or PRI.
Alternatives, Dundee provide a listening service for pregnancy choices, after having an abortion, miscarriage or other pregnancy loss.
If you are under 16 and considered competent to consent to your own medical treatment, you can consent to an abortion.
If you are aged between 14-16 you do not need to take someone with you for your clinic appointment, but it is requested that if returning for the procedure you have someone over 16 with you. You are encouraged to try to involve a parent or another adult, for example another family member or friend.
For anyone under 14 the case would be discussed with the child protection team.
CONTRACEPTION after a termination
Your fertility can return quickly after having a termination, and so it is important to think about contraception immediately. You may not feel like talking about this so soon after, but it is important. You can get information and advice from the professionals involved in supporting you through your termination.
Let's Talk about Abortion: a short film
NHS Lothian have developed a short film on abortion. There are some differences with the services NHS Tayside deliver, but we think this is a useful resource. NB Referral for abortion is through the services above & is carried out at Ninewells & PRI.
What if I live in The Western Isles?
If you decide to have a termination (abortion) you will have to go to Inverness to have counselling & the termination. You will be supported by the NHS to do this and it is a confidential service for all people over the age of 12 unless you are considered to be at risk.
If you think you are pregnant, or know you are pregnant you can contact the following places:
The maternity unit on 01851 708300 and ask to speak to Catherine Macdonald or Catherine Gillies. You can also text 07769932189
The Family Planning Clinic in Stornoway hospital Tel: 01851 708305 to make an appointment
Your GP. GPs offer a confidential service for every one and should be able to support you through the process. Some GPs do not do this, but will refer you to the nearest service that will support you.
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service provides a free confidential services Tel 0845 7304030
Terminations are carried out in Inverness and there is a confidential number available to discuss 01463 704431