Unplanned Pregnancy in Difficult Situations

Your Next Steps for an Unplanned Pregnancy Over 40

Facing an unexpected pregnancy after 40? Find out more about what this will mean for your health and what your options are moving forward.

In most cases, any natural pregnancy after a woman turns 40 years old is unplanned. After all, many women have completed their families by this point or have decided never to have children.

Today, it’s rare for women to experience an unplanned pregnancy at 45 or older. Many women older than 40 are in or entering menopause, and the age of any remaining eggs usually means their quality is low and they are unlikely to result in successful pregnancies.

However, it’s not impossible for a woman to experience a surprise pregnancy at 40 or older. If you’re reading this article, you are likely in the small percentage of women who is facing this unique situation. You’re probably in shock and disbelief, wondering how this could happen to you.

Here’s the thing: It’s happened, and it’s time to accept that. What’s next? Deciding what to do with your unexpected pregnancy over 40 years old.

This guide will provide all the information you need to proceed with an unplanned pregnancy in your 40s, whatever you decide to do. Keep reading to learn more about your options to find the best path for you.

Your Options for an Unplanned Pregnancy Over 40

Before you do anything else, you need to understand what your options are for an unplanned pregnancy after 40. In general, there are three paths, detailed below. You’ll need to evaluate your personal circumstances to decide which unplanned pregnancy option is right for you.

Remember: No matter what anyone else says, you are ultimately the only one who can decide how to proceed with a surprise pregnancy after 40.

1. Abortion

Some women decide that continuing their accidental pregnancy over 40 is too risky to their health (more details on that below). If they have a partner and children, they may choose to terminate their pregnancy in the best interest of their family (or in the best interest of their personal health).

On the other hand, maybe you’re experiencing a surprise first pregnancy after 40. Kids were never in your plan, but now you’re facing the reality of an unwanted pregnancy. If you want your life to remain child-free, abortion may be the right path for you. Depending on where you live, there may be plenty of resources that can guide you through this process.

Research your state’s laws on abortion to make sure this option is available to you and speak with an abortion provider to learn more about the risks and side effects of this medical procedure.

If you decide to continue your pregnancy, you will have two options: parenting and adoption.

2. Parenting

Raising your child is always an option if you’re unexpectedly pregnant at 40 or older. However, there are several pros and cons to being an older parent, and you should consider them before making this choice.

If you’re like many women, you already have children at home when you discover an unplanned pregnancy in your 40s. You understand the responsibilities associated with raising a child, and you may be more experienced and more financially secure than you were when you had your first children. You may also be more stable in your career and can provide your child better opportunities because of it.

However, there are some drawbacks to being an older parent, as well:

  • You will likely be older than many of your child’s peers’ parents. You should think ahead to your child’s high school and college graduations and weddings — and the age you will be at those events.
  • You will probably have less energy as a parent than you did when you were younger.
  • You may also need to reconsider the goals you had for yourself when you were to become an “empty nester”; they will need to be delayed by another 18 years or more.

If you, your partner and your other children (if applicable) all understand and accept the realities of adding another child to your family, parenting may be the best choice for your unexpected pregnancy in your 40s.

3. Adoption

Even if you are already a parent when facing an unwanted pregnancy over 40, it does not mean you have to raise this baby, too. In fact, many of the women who choose to place their babies for adoption already are raising children at home.

If you do not wish to raise another child (or to be a parent at all) at your age, you might consider placing your baby for adoption, instead.

When you place your child for adoption, you and your other children can still maintain a relationship with him or her (and the adoptive parents) after placement. This choice does not mean you are saying goodbye forever or “giving up.” Instead, you are making the brave decision to give your child opportunities that you may not be able to provide as an older parent in your circumstances.

You will also be able to choose the family that you wish to adopt your child and meet them before you make your final adoption decision.

If you are facing an accidental pregnancy after age 40, you may worry that you won’t find an adoptive family if your child has conditions or complications related to your advanced maternal age. However, there is a family for every child, and there are adoption agencies which specialize in the placement of special needs infants, if necessary.

Want to learn more about adoption for your surprise pregnancy at 40 or older? Reach out to these professionals:

The Risks of an Accidental Pregnancy after 40

Before you decide how to proceed with your unexpected pregnancy after 40, you need to understand the medical risks of continuing your pregnancy. You’ll need a full evaluation of your health before carrying a pregnancy to term.

There is a reason why an unplanned pregnancy at 40 or older is uncommon. Many women are not able to naturally conceive this late in life as a biological protection. By the time women approach menopause, their eggs have aged so that the quality is extremely low. The older a woman is when she becomes pregnant, the riskier the process is.

An unexpected pregnancy after 40 often greatly increases the chance of:

  • Miscarriage
  • Chromosomal disorders
  • Down syndrome
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Preeclampsia
  • High blood pressure
  • Birth complications

If you are finding yourself facing a surprise pregnancy at 40 or older, please contact an OBGYN. They can explain your personal risks from a later-life pregnancy, which may play into your unplanned pregnancy decision. A medical professional can help you have as healthy a pregnancy as possible, if you choose to continue yours, and complete fetal screenings to test for disorders and abnormalities that could put you and your baby at risk.

Unplanned Pregnancy in 40s: A Year-by-Year Guide

There are many factors to think about with an accidental pregnancy at 40 or later, and you should consider all of them before deciding which path to take next. If you have questions or concerns about your pregnancy, please reach out to an unplanned pregnancy options counselor for advice, resources and guidance.

In the meantime, read more about what you should consider about an unplanned pregnancy at your particular age.

Unexpectedly Pregnant at 40 Years Old?

If you’re pregnant at 40 unplanned, you’re probably feeling stressed and alone. But you’re not the only woman who has gone through this challenge, and you won’t be the last.

Whether it’s an unplanned first pregnancy at 40 or an unplanned third pregnancy at 40, you’ve got a lot to think about. Do you already have kids and, if so, are they grown? Do you have a supportive partner? Do your goals for the next 20 years of your life accommodate raising a child?

If you don’t want to be pregnant at 40, you have nothing to be ashamed about. Whatever you choose for your unplanned pregnancy option, make sure it’s the right one for you.

Unplanned Pregnancy at 41 Years Old

An unplanned pregnancy at 41 years old can be isolating — but you’re never alone. Take it from Sara, who found herself pregnant at age 41, single and scared. After exploring her options, she decided that adoption was best for her whole family.

“I was scared to do it again on my own at that age, having two boys that were already grown,” Sara remembers. “It was comforting to know that there were options out there and that adoption was available to me.”

You can read and watch Sara’s story here.

Unexpectedly Pregnant at 42 Years Old?

While the chances of accidental pregnancy at 42 are low, they’re not zero. You’re living proof of that.

If you’re thinking, “I’m pregnant at 42 and scared,” we encourage you to reach out to an unplanned pregnancy counselor. Look for a licensed professional who will honestly discuss your options with you, without an agency of their own. Avoid crisis pregnancy centers, which are typically religiously affiliated, and talk to your doctor for personalized medical advice about your unexpected pregnancy at 42.

Accidentally Pregnant at 43 Years Old?

If you’re looking for unplanned pregnancy support at 43, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, you’ve learned about all of your options and found some resources for whichever path you choose to take.

We know a surprise pregnancy at age 43 can shake up your life, but remember that you are always in control of your future. Maybe that involves raising a child, even at your age. Or, if parenthood isn’t right for you, abortion and adoption are always options. Don’t be afraid to take the time you need to find the best solution.

Unplanned Pregnancy at Age 44

“I’m pregnant at 44 and scared. What do I do next?”

If you haven’t already spoken to your doctor and an unplanned pregnancy counselor, add that to your to-do list. Something else to consider: your support team during this time. Do you have a trusted friend or family member you can confide in? Do you know someone who will support you, whatever option you choose for your unexpected pregnancy at 44?

Having a loved one by your side can make all the difference as you move through this next stage in your life. Make sure that your support team only includes those who will support and respect you, whether you choose abortion, adoption or parenting.

Unplanned Pregnancy at 45 Years Old

You may have thought you were too old to get pregnant, but your surprise pregnancy at 45 is telling you otherwise. You’re going to have to consider some big questions before you decide how to proceed.

  • What are the chances of an accidental pregnancy at 45 being carried to term?
  • Can you keep up with a young child as you enter your 50s?
  • Does abortion seem like the right choice, or are you considering adoption, as well?
  • What do you really want to do about your unplanned pregnancy after 45?

An unplanned pregnancy counselor can walk you through these questions and help you better understand your personal circumstances.

Unwanted Pregnancy at 46 Years Old

Whether it’s a surprise first pregnancy at 46 or a pregnancy long after your children have left the house, it’s no less of a shock.

Most women have started going through menopause by this age or are starting to experience pre-menopausal side effects. These effects could cause complications for your health and the health of the baby you’re carrying. In fact, experts report that almost 50 percent of pregnancies carried by a woman in their 40s result in miscarriages.

All that said — an accidental pregnancy at 46 doesn’t have to result in a preemptive abortion. Talk with your doctor about your outlook for a healthy pregnancy in case you wish to parent or place your child for adoption.

Unplanned Pregnancy at 47 Years Old

The chances of an accidental pregnancy at 47 are low — but not impossible. The chances of a pregnancy successfully being carried to term, however, are much lower.

But, again, it’s not impossible.

If you’re considering parenting or placing your child for adoption, you’ll need to have your doctor on your side from the very beginning. You’ll have to take some extra steps and precautions to ensure your health and the health of your unborn child. If you haven’t already, reach out to your OBGYN now.

Unplanned Pregnancy at 48 Years Old

Becoming pregnant at 48 by accident is nothing to be ashamed of. And none of the unplanned pregnancy options available to you are anything to be ashamed of, either.

Don’t let the internet fool you — parenting, adoption and abortion are all options for you. If you’re married or in a serious relationship, bring your spouse into this conversation. What you choose will affect the rest of your life, so don’t be shy about the realities and challenges of each path.

Unplanned Pregnancy at 49 Years Old

A surprise pregnancy at 49 seems like something out of a sci-fi book — but it does happen for some women, as you’ve found out yourself.

As mentioned, the older you are when you become pregnant, the more risks you take on by carrying your pregnancy to term. That’s why, more than at any other age in this article, you should contact your doctor right away if you discover an unplanned pregnancy at 49. They will evaluate your health situation and guide you through the next steps.

It’s tough, but keep in mind that an unplanned pregnancy in your late 40s like this has a high chance of miscarriage. Your doctor may suggest a medically induced abortion, so do as much research as you can beforehand to be as open-minded and realistic as possible.

However, remember that the only one who can decide what to do with an accidental pregnancy in your late 40s is you. Be strong and be brave; we know you’ll do what’s best for you.