Unplanned pregnancies are a situation that many women will face in their life; in fact, almost half of the pregnancies in the United States today are unintended. If you are staring down the same situation yourself, you’re likely feeling all kinds of emotions and have all kinds of questions, including “What are the advantages and disadvantages of an unplanned pregnancy?”

Because every woman’s situation is different, your response to this question will be unique from anyone else’s. What one woman sees as pros of being pregnant another may see as the cons of being pregnant. You will need to evaluate your current situation and what your goals and dreams are to truthfully answer this question for yourself.

Below, you’ll find some of the commonly perceived blessings and problems associated with unwanted pregnancy. Reading these may help you sort through your emotions and determine which unplanned pregnancy option is right for you.

Pros:

  • You have the chance to add a new member to your family. One of the biggest benefits of being pregnant is the opportunity to have a child. Many women do eventually desire a baby and, even though this pregnancy may be ill-timed, it can be the motivation you need to start the family you’ve been dreaming of. Women who have faced infertility issues may see an unplanned pregnancy as the miracle they’ve been waiting for.
  • You have the chance to place a child with another family and make their dreams come true. Just because you are not ready to raise a child doesn’t mean that you can’t find the positives in your situation. One of the pros of pregnancy, even if you do not plan to raise your baby, is that you can place your child for adoption with another hopeful parent. Your selfless decision, although difficult, will be life-changing for that family.
  • Your relationship may become a lifelong commitment. If you and your baby’s father are in a relationship at the time of your pregnancy, this surprise will likely inspire you and him to evaluate your current relationship. If you both see your relationship moving forward, an unplanned pregnancy can motivate you to make a greater commitment to each other by raising your child (as long as it’s done for the right reasons). Even if you choose adoption or abortion, going through this process together can add a new strength to your relationship.
  • You will learn what is important to you and what you really want in your life. Perhaps the biggest benefit of being pregnant is the clarity that it will bring to your life. Being faced with an unplanned pregnancy forces you to evaluate what you really want in your life. Do you want a child? Do you want to focus on your career? What’s really important to you? While these questions can be overwhelming, an unplanned pregnancy will require you to answer them to move forward with the path that’s best for you.

Cons:

  • You will experience stress in determining which unplanned pregnancy option is best for you. An unplanned pregnancy is stressful, and it’s normal to have no idea what your next step will be. Unfortunately, in order to make this decision, you will need to address some of the more complicated emotions that you are feeling. Choosing an unplanned pregnancy option is a big decision, and it will affect the rest of your life. The stress involved cannot be avoided.
  • If you choose to continue your pregnancy, you will be subject to the potential side effects and risks of being pregnant, as well as those of childbirth. Proper medical care is integral to preserving your health and your baby’s health during your pregnancy. However, there are still potential health problems associated with unwanted pregnancy. Women who are not expecting a pregnancy may continue to use harmful substances after conception or may not have a healthy lifestyle in place. Pregnancy and childbirth also come with medical risks and potential complications. Speak with your doctor for more information about what conditions might affect you.
  • If you choose to raise your child without proper preparation, your own career, relationship or life goals could be put on hold. One of the disadvantages of an unplanned pregnancy is that, because it is unplanned, women often do not have the resources and support in place to help them through it. They may not have the necessary funds to live through an unpaid maternity leave, or they may have life or relationship plans that will be disrupted by a pregnancy. While it’s not impossible to gather these resources after discovering you are pregnant, it will likely be much harder.
  • Your body will be forever changed by your unplanned pregnancy. Pregnancy is a beautiful but physically demanding process to go through. Growing a child inside of you will forever change your body. While many women take pride in the changes that come from nurturing an unborn baby, these changes are important to consider, especially if your career is of a physical nature.
  • It could be harmful to your relationship with the baby’s father. An unplanned pregnancy can be frightening to anyone who is not prepared for this life-changing situation. Not all men are willing and able to support their partners through the stress of an unplanned pregnancy, and it’s possible that the father of your baby will decide to disappear rather than help you through this situation. Remember, there are many other avenues of support if the father does not wish to be involved in your unplanned pregnancy.
  • You could face judgement from friends, family and strangers. An unplanned pregnancy carries a certain amount of stigma, especially for young, unmarried women. When your loved ones learn about your situation, they may be angry or disappointed with you. Some women consider keeping their unplanned pregnancy a secret, but keep in mind that your loved ones may be able to provide the support you need, once they accept your situation.

These are only a few of the potential benefits and problems associated with unwanted pregnancy today, and they may or may not fit your particular situation. If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, reach out for counseling and other professional support to better evaluate the possible advantages and disadvantages of your unplanned pregnancy.