Open Arms Blog

Telling your boyfriend you're pregnant, especially if you're a teen or still in college, can feel tricky. If the relationship isn't serious, or you aren't sure how he'll respond, this might add even more pressure on you. But ultimately, keeping it a secret isn't good for a healthy relationship or your future together, if you see that as a possibility.

How to Tell Your Boyfriend You Are Pregnant

Here are some tips to make it easier to tell your boyfriend you're pregnant.

Pick a good time

You want to choose a time to tell him when you both will be able to talk about it thoroughly and uninterrupted. Right before you're going to hang out with friends, for example, may not be the best time to tell him. Instead, pick a time when the two of you can be alone and where he can process the information. Keep in mind he might need time to process alone before he's ready to talk about it with you or anyone else.

Anticipate his questions

Try to think ahead to what questions he might have and prepare some responses in your mind to make the conversation more helpful for both of you. He'll likely want to know how far along you are, what you'd like to do about the pregnancy, if you're anticipating him staying involved, etc. Think through how you feel about the pregnancy and envision what your future would look like if you choose to parent, make an adoption plan, or have an abortion.

Give him time to process

What he says in the moment may not reflect how he actually feels. He may initially speak out of fear, uncertainty or anger, but after having time to think and adjust to this new reality, he may be better able to discuss it more thoughtfully. If he's not ready to talk about it when you share your pregnancy news with him, ask him when he'd like to talk again. This will give him time but also put a definitive date on the calendar so you both know it's important to talk again.

Don't let him pressure you

Making a decision based on pressure can lead to regret.  Ultimately, the decision is yours, though if you both can make the decision together, that will be ideal for you both. If he threatens to break up with you or gives you an ultimatum, you probably shouldn't be in a relationship with him anyway. On the other hand, if he offers to support you and help with decisions about the future and your pregnancy, he's demonstrating he genuinely cares about you.

This news can be hard to share, but in a good and healthy relationship, it's important to let your boyfriend know as soon as you can. The decision you make impacts both of you.

If you need help or want to talk with someone before you tell your boyfriend, our staff members are available to meet with you and would be happy to help you prepare for this important conversation. The Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic also has men on staff who are able to help your boyfriend with his questions and concerns.  Please contact us today.  We are here to help.

 

Photo Credit:  Photo by Djim Loic on Unsplash

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If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and parenthood as a single mom, you may be wondering what resources are available to you. The good news is, you don't have to face this path alone! There is support and access to resources along the way, and all provided through Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic.

Resources for Single Moms

Educational Resources

You've chosen to carry your pregnancy to term and become a parent ° now what? We offer a customizable pregnancy education and parenting skills program where you can choose the topics that would be most helpful to you in your journey.

We cover topics like:

  • Eating for two
  • Labor and delivery
  • Your developing baby
  • Newborn care
  • Reducing the risk of SIDS
  • Breastfeeding
  • Infant care and nutrition
  • Sleep and crying
  • And more!

We know how overwhelming it is to be a first-time parent, and we're here to help you prepare!

Material Resources

Attending our classes means you have the opportunity to receive needed items for you and your baby all free of charge. Things like maternity clothes, baby clothes, diapers, wipes, blankets, and more are all available through our Baby Closet.

If finances are tight, attending classes is a great way to learn more about parenthood and prepare for your baby by receiving necessary items. Our closet is stocked with new and gently-used items from people in our community who want to serve and help you!

Community Resources

If you have needs we aren't able to help meet at Open Arms, we can make referrals to other organizations in our community who can provide assistance and care. Whether you need social services, housing, counseling, or help to further your education, we'll connect you to the community partners who can meet your needs.

If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and want to carry to term but are scared or need support, please contact us today. We're here for you to provide resources, support, and hope.

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Getting pregnant may not have been in your plans, but a positive pregnancy test means now you have a new season to navigate. There's a lot to consider before making a decision about how to proceed, so here's what to do after a positive pregnancy test.

What To Do After A Positive Pregnancy Test

Confirm the pregnancy with an ultrasound

It's important to get an ultrasound after receiving a positive pregnancy test. An ultrasound will reveal important information about the pregnancy that will help determine your next steps.

We offer free ultrasound exams, and our nurses will be able to answer questions and offer valuable information regarding your pregnancy and your options.

Why an ultrasound is important

An ultrasound is necessary regardless of what you are considering because it will let you know how far along you are in the pregnancy, which reveals your due date.  If you are considering abortion, knowing the dating of your pregnancy is key in determining the type of abortion procedure you would have. During your appointment, our nurses can discuss with you the various abortion procedures and important considerations.

An ultrasound is also an important next step after a positive pregnancy test because it will reveal the location of the pregnancy. Sometimes a pregnancy will implant outside of the uterus, most commonly in the Fallopian tubes. This is called a tubal or ectopic pregnancy and is not viable. In fact, it's also very dangerous for the woman carrying the pregnancy, so determining this early in a pregnancy is very important to ensure your wellbeing.

Regardless of whether you're excited about the pregnancy or not, it's important to get an ultrasound to gather as much information about the pregnancy as possible. This, along with our free options consultation, will help you make a fully-informed decision about how to proceed.

If you are pregnant and need an ultrasound, please contact us today to schedule your free appointment. We're here for you and can help you process the next steps in a judgment-free, confidential, and caring environment.

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What to Expect During an Ultrasound

An ultrasound is important even if you are undecided about the next steps for your pregnancy. It can provide vital information about the health, location, and timing of the pregnancy that can impact the decision you make.

We offer free ultrasounds at the Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic, so please contact us today to schedule your appointment.

About the appointment

Whether you're nervous about your ultrasound or just want more information before you schedule one, here's all you need to know about what to expect during an ultrasound:

After arriving for your appointment, you'll check-in at the front desk and fill out some routine medical paperwork. If you've brought a friend, partner, or family member with you they can wait in the lobby or accompany you into the examination room, whichever you prefer.

In the exam room, you'll lay on an examination table. We'll ask you to roll your pants down slightly and shirt up to expose your abdomen. Bring a light-weight jacket just in case you get a little chilly.

An ultrasound-trained registered nurse will then put gel on your abdomen. This helps the ultrasound wand pick up the sound waves that create the image for you to see. The nurse will move the wand (or transducer) over your stomach; you might feel a little bit of pressure but it won't be painful.

It usually doesn't take long to pick up the images, and you'll be able to view them if you choose. The nurse will explain the images to you and answer any questions you may have about what you're seeing.

At Open Arms, we do ultrasounds to determine the location of the pregnancy to make sure the pregnancy is located inside the uterus (not ectopic), measure fetal heart rate, and determine the gestational age. These ultrasounds will not reveal the sex.

Why an ultrasound is important

Many women who are unsure about their pregnancies or who are planning to have abortions often think they don't need an ultrasound. Actually, the opposite is true. An ultrasound is necessary even before having an abortion because it reveals key information that determines the type of abortion you would have (medical or surgical).

An ultrasound will also reveal whether the pregnancy is located inside or outside of the uterus. Pregnancies outside of the uterus are called ectopic pregnancies and they are not viable. They can be life-threatening to you and will require immediate medical intervention.

To schedule your free and confidential ultrasound appointment, please contact the Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic today. Our trained case managers are also on hand to provide information to help you process your decision if you need someone to talk with at your appointment.

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Your negative pregnancy test and next steps

Negative Pregnancy Test - Now What?

AN IMPORTANT OPPORTUNITY

Your pregnancy test came back negative. You may be feeling a huge sense of relief right now. In fact, you may have come in today feeling very nervous and worried at the thought of the possibility of being pregnant. Or maybe you are feeling sad or have mixed emotions. Either way, these emotions are completely understandable because your life could have changed drastically as a result of that pregnancy test.

So what should you do now? Your emotions leading up to taking the pregnancy test today are helpful in revealing how you really feel about the potential of being a parent and perhaps how you feel about your partner. Now is the perfect time to consider what steps you can take for your future. Consider this time as an important opportunity to evaluate your choices, especially regarding your relationship with your partner and your sexual intimacy with him.

HERE ARE SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

  • Am I prepared to be a parent? Am I okay with the possibility of being pregnant?
  • Do I see a future with my partner? Would I want him to be the father of my children?
  • If I was worried or nervous about this situation, what ways can I be protecting myself from a similar situation again?
  • In what ways might I have been putting myself at risk with my sexual choices?

We are holistic beings, and as holistic beings, engaging in sexual activity affects our emotional, spiritual, and physical health.

CREATE AN ACTION PLAN

If you are not ready to be a parent and you want to avoid any risk of infection with a sexually transmitted disease, consider talking to one of our case managers at the clinic today about creating an action plan together. The only 100% guaranteed way of preventing pregnancy or infection with a sexually transmitted disease is to practice sexual risk avoidance (abstaining from any sexual contact outside of a committed marriage relationship). All other methods leave you at some form of risk. Birth control pills provide no protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and condoms have been shown to provide only some protection from some diseases.1 The FDA publishes expected pregnancy rates with condom usage. Normally, around 2% of condoms are expected to break, but for each year of "typical" condom use, the pregnancy rate is 15%.2 Each year, 18 out of 100 women become pregnant using birth control pills.3 In addition, in America, there is a growing epidemic of STDs. It is estimated over 110 million people are now infected and 20 million new infections occur each year.4 Almost half of these new infections are in young people, 15 to 24 years old.5

TAKE OUR POSITIVE PARTNERSHIP CLASS 

If you are wondering what steps to take next in your relationship with your partner, our clinic provides Positive Partnership classes that are available to you to help you navigate through your relationship and to help you make intentional choices that will benefit your future. These classes include two modules, one for men and one for women, which teach vital information about relationships and marriage. If you think your partner can benefit from man-to-man support, we also have a male case manager on staff who would be happy to meet with him to discuss any questions he may have about his role.

All of our case managers are here to listen to you, to equip you, educate you, and empower you to make informed decisions about your life and to discuss how these decisions impact you emotionally, physically, and spiritually. 

If you have any questions or would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact us or visit us again.

References:
1National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Workshop Summary: Scientific Evidence on Condom Effectiveness for Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Prevention. Herndon, VA: Hyatt Dulles Airport, June 12-13, 2000 and the follow-up report: Fact Sheet for Public Health Personnel, Male Latex Condoms and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, found at: http://www.cdc.gov/condomeffectiveness/latex.htm, accessed 3-23-2017.
2Commissioner, Office of the. "HIV/AIDS Prevention – Condoms: Barriers to Bad News." US Food and Drug Administration Home Page, Office of the Commissioner, https://www.fda.gov/ForPatients/Illness/HIVAIDS/Prevention/default.htm, accessed on 12-20-17.
3U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Birth control: Medicines To Help You, found at http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ByAudience/ForWomen/FreePublications/ucm313215.htm, accessed 3-23-2017.
4"Sexually Transmitted Diseases." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8 Dec. 2017, www.cdc.gov/std/life-stages-populations/adolescents-youngadults.htm, accessed 12-20-2017.
5"Sexually Transmitted Diseases." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8 Dec. 2017, www.cdc.gov/std/life-stages-populations/adolescents-youngadults.htm, accessed 12-20-2017.

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If you follow the news, you've probably seen headlines and read about "heartbeat laws" passing in various states throughout the US. Several states passed them last year in an attempt to bring our current abortion laws up to date with newer scientific discoveries. As you follow these stories, you may be wondering, when does the fetal heartbeat begin?

When Does the Fetal Heartbeat Begin?

The fetal heartbeat begins as early as six weeks into a pregnancy (meaning six weeks after the first day of your last menstrual period). This is when it can be detected via ultrasound, and the heartbeat can be heard at that time as well.

If you think you're pregnant, the first step is to have a clinical pregnancy test done. If your test is positive, you can then schedule an ultrasound to detect the fetal heartbeat and learn more about the pregnancy.

Have other questions?

If you're facing an unplanned pregnancy and would like more information about your pregnancy, we can help! One of our Case Managers will sit down with you to discuss your pregnancy, provide information on all of your options, and help you process your decision if you're not sure what you'd like to do.

We offer education on abortion, adoption, and parenting so you can be fully informed. Many people facing an unplanned pregnancy feel overwhelmed and uncertain about the next steps. All of our appointments are free and confidential to help you think through your options in a warm and caring atmosphere.

Schedule an ultrasound

If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and would like to know if there is a heartbeat or want to see images of the developing fetus, we provide those free of charge. You can schedule an ultrasound appointment to learn more about gestational age as well as the location of the pregnancy.

Sometimes pregnancies are located outside the uterus and are not viable. They can be life-threatening to you and need to be treated medically right away.

If you are pregnant and have not yet had an ultrasound, schedule yours today.  All of our services are free and confidential.

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Getting pregnant in school probably wasn't part of your plan for your life. Maybe you thought it could never happen to you and now you're uncertain about what to do.

Being pregnant in school can be hard, but it's not impossible and it isn't the end of your life. Here are five steps you can take and things you can do to make it easier and help you process your decision constructively.

1. Get a pregnancy test

The first thing to do if you think you're pregnant is to make sure via a pregnancy test.  We offer free clinical pregnancy testing and will always keep your visit and results confidential.

Remember, you can have symptoms of pregnancy without actually being pregnant. However, if your period is abnormally late and you are having pregnancy symptoms, it's important to find out for certain.

Schedule your appointment today and we'll not only provide the testing for free but can also help you process the next steps. Take a deep breath, slow down, and take a pregnancy test before doing anything else.

2. Get an ultrasound

After a positive pregnancy test, the next step is to get an ultrasound. This is important for many reasons.

First, an ultrasound will reveal precisely how far along you are in the pregnancy.

Second, an ultrasound will confirm that the pregnancy is in the right location. Ectopic pregnancies are pregnancies that are located outside of the uterus. While rare (1%-2% of pregnancies are ectopic), they are not viable and can be life-threatening so it's important to make sure the pregnancy is in the right location.

Third, an ultrasound will determine whether or not the fetus has a heartbeat. If there is no heartbeat, the pregnancy will most likely end on its own.

The Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic offers free ultrasound exams for the purpose of confirming a viable pregnancy.  Gathering this information is an important step before choosing your path forward.

3. Tell a friend

While this decision is yours to make, you shouldn't make it alone. Confiding in a friend can help relieve some of the stress of your situation and help you process everything more clearly.

If you can, it may be helpful to confide in your parents. They may be disappointed initially, but they may also become an important part of your support system moving forward.

If you need help telling your parents or a friend, you can schedule a time to meet with one of our case managers who can help you map out the conversation and what you want to say. Preparing for this conversation will help you enter into it with more confidence, especially if you've thought ahead about some of their possible questions or concerns.

4. Know your options

As you process what to do in your unplanned pregnancy, it's important to clearly understand all of your options (parenting, adoption, abortion) and the ramifications of those options.  The Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic specializes in helping people like you who are facing pregnancy-related decisions. This is especially important if you feel conflicted about the best choice or want someone to help you talk it through.  You don't have to navigate this alone. We are here to help.

5. Make a plan

Now that you've taken the above steps to gather as much information as is helpful, it's time to put together a plan and you'll want to have a strong support system as you move forward.

If you need help making a plan, or want to continue exploring your options, our case managers and nurses are here for you. We know an unintended pregnancy can be an overwhelming situation and we want to help take some of the pressure off. Please schedule your free appointment today.

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What is a Toothpaste Pregnancy Test and is it Accurate?

There are many symptoms that can indicate you're pregnant -- being repulsed by smells that used to bring you joy, craving the Thai food from across town, and also feeling like you might vomit at any second are all excellent clues.

When you feel terrible, the last thing you want to do is go to the drugstore to buy a pregnancy test. You may have heard of the toothpaste pregnancy test, and wondered if it actually works. Again, skipping the trip to the drugstore sounds so appealing ... and while some people trust these DIY tests, you probably shouldn't.

How the toothpaste pregnancy test is supposed to work

Proponents of this method claim that a chemical reaction occurs between toothpaste and your urine, so they instruct people to squirt toothpaste (preferably white) into a cup, urinate into a separate cup, and then slowly pour the urine into the toothpaste cup.

When the two combine, the chemical reaction of a fizz or color change, is supposed to indicate whether or not you're pregnant. They theorize that it works similarly to a traditional urine pregnancy test by detecting the hormone hCG. This hormone is only produced in a woman's body during pregnancy and is believed to cause many of the tell-tale signs of pregnancy like nausea and fatigue.

And while people claim this "test" can detect the hCG hormone, in reality, any chemical reaction when the urine and toothpaste are mixed is likely just caused by the acidity of your urine.

Is the toothpaste pregnancy test accurate?

As you may imagine, no, it is not. If you think you're pregnant, as tempting as it may be to try some easy DIY pregnancy tests, you really do need to take an actual pregnancy test. Confirming you're pregnant is the most important thing to do before making any other decisions about your pregnancy.

The Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic offers free pregnancy confirmation and consultations. All of our appointments are confidential, and our consultations are designed to give you the information you need to make a fully-informed choice if you are pregnant. We also offer free ultrasounds to determine how far along you are, the viability of the pregnancy, and to detect if there is a fetal heartbeat.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.

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How to Tell Your Parents You're Pregnant

Telling your parents you are pregnant can be intimidating and scary, especially if you are a student and the pregnancy was unplanned. But, after adjusting to the news, they may become a source of support through this journey. 

Here are some tips for having this conversation with your parents.

Pick a good time

Timing matters. People tend to be more emotional when they're tired, so late at night might not be the best time to have this conversation with them. Also take into consideration what else is going on and try to pick a time when they're less busy.

Let your parents know you want to have a conversation with them about something important so they can prioritize it and be prepared to listen.

Take someone with you

If you're concerned about how your parents will react and fear they'll be upset, plan to have someone supportive with you when you tell them.  Consider bringing along another family member, the father of the baby, or a friend.  Having some moral support, and someone who can advocate for you, can be very helpful.

Prepare for their questions

They'll likely want to know details, especially if they don't know much about your relationship with the father of the baby. Be emotionally and mentally prepared for their questions about who, what, when, where, and how long you've known. If they were not aware that you have been sexually active, take into consideration their possible shock at this news as well.

Present a plan

You are likely still processing the fact that you're pregnant so you don't have to have all the details figured out yet, but begin putting together a plan for your pregnancy in order to show responsibility and that you're taking this seriously. This will help reassure them you're thinking this through and are beginning to take action to prepare.

If you need help putting together a plan or want to discuss more tips about having this conversation with your parents, please schedule an appointment to see us. We offer free counseling sessions to help you process your unplanned pregnancy and can help you prepare for this important conversation as well.

Give them time

You've had some time to adjust to the news of your pregnancy, and it's reasonable to expect your parents to need some time to adjust as well.  It's important to understand that how they react initially won't necessarily be how they will feel later.  Give them time to adjust to the news, and avoid making a rushed or panicked decision.

No one can force you

Many women make a decision they really don't want regarding their unplanned pregnancy because people close to them pressured them into it. As you tell your parents about your pregnancy, remember that ultimately the decision about what you do is up to you. Yes, you'll likely need their support, especially if you're still in school. But that doesn't mean they can force you to make a decision against your will.

Remember, you are not alone. If you need support, guidance, resources, or just a listening ear, the Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic is here for you. 

Feel free to schedule an appointment for our free services.  We are here to help.

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Why an Ultrasound is Important if You're Considering Abortion

Facing an unexpected pregnancy can be very overwhelming. You have a lot to consider as you process information on all of your options. If you are considering abortion, one of the first things you should do after a positive pregnancy test is to have a viable pregnancy confirmed by a limited obstetrical ultrasound. There are three main reasons why.

1. An ultrasound will tell you how far along you are.

This is important because it will determine what kind of abortion procedure you would have. If you are less than ten weeks in your pregnancy, it would most likely be a medication abortion, also known as the abortion pill or RU-486.

If you are past ten weeks, it would be a surgical abortion. There are a few different procedures, all based on where you are in your pregnancy.

An ultrasound will likely be required if you schedule an abortion, but it is usually not offered until you are actually having the procedure.  At Open Arms, we offer them for free in advance of your decision so you have all the information needed in order to make an informed choice. If you're curious about how far along you are and want to know your options, schedule your free appointment today.

2. An ultrasound will tell you where the pregnancy is located.

Sometimes a pregnancy is located outside of the uterus, usually in the Fallopian tubes. This is called an ectopic pregnancy and is not viable. The fetus cannot survive and ectopic pregnancy can cause significant health issues for you, or even be life-threatening. About one in 50 pregnancies are ectopic (outside of the uterus).[i]

If you are experiencing abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding, dizziness, weakness, or fainting, you might have an ectopic pregnancy. If you think this might be the case, do not delay.  Go to the emergency room immediately.

3.  An ultrasound will detect fetal cardiac activity

An ultrasound can detect a fetal heartbeat usually around five weeks and five days from the first day of the last menstrual period. If during an ultrasound exam no fetal heartbeat is detected, the pregnancy may not be viable and may miscarry on its own.  According to the Mayo Clinic, "About 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. But the actual number is likely higher because many miscarriages occur so early in pregnancy that a woman doesn't realize she's pregnant."[ii]

An ultrasound exam is an important step in your pregnancy decision, confirming whether or not your pregnancy is a viable intrauterine pregnancy or not. Open Arms can help. Before having an abortion, make sure you know the answer to the three factors listed above. Schedule an appointment with us for your free ultrasound as a very important first step.


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