I’m pregnant. Where do I go from here?
Finding out you’re pregnant can bring on a lot of different – and often mixed – feelings. You might feel:
- and/or a combination of all of these.
It can be helpful to talk to someone about the way you’re feeling and to sort through your different options. If you don’t have a supportive friend or family member who can lend an ear, you can speak in private to a counsellor at a clinic.
No matter what you choose to do, it’s important to seek out health care as soon as possible. Waiting too long to get care may limit your options. Try to seek out people and places that will help you make the decision that is best for you. Some places may only give you information on parenting or adoption, and not all the facts on abortion. If you feel pressured to make only one choice, you may want to get support somewhere else. Remember, only you get the final say on which option is right for you.
If you’re pregnant, your options include parenting, abortion, adoption, and guardianship. Get all the information you need to make your decision.
If you’re considering parenting, you can speak to someone at a Teen Clinic or a community health centre to get information on the supports available to you. These might include:
- Booklets and information packages on parenting;
- Courses on nutrition for you and your child, or on positive parenting; or
- Support groups made up of other young parents.
If you’re under 18, Child & Family Services (CFS) will open a file on you and your child so they can check on how you’re both doing. They understand you might face extra challenges when you are a young parent and want to support you through them.
Prenatal care is very important for both your health and the health of your fetus. If you show up to the hospital to give birth without having had any prenatal care, the hospital will be required to alert their social worker.
If you are pregnant or have a baby under the age of one, you can attend a Healthy Baby Community Support Program (click for locations). They offer parenting support, information about infant development and healthy nutrition, healthy lifestyle options and the opportunity to connect with other parents.
Should you choose to parent you may qualify for a monthly cheque to help you buy healthy foods that you need during pregnancy. This is called the Manitoba Prenatal Benefit, and is for families with a net family income of less than $32,000/year. Click here for more info.
Abortion is a way to end an unwanted pregnancy. It is safe and legal in Manitoba, when carried out by a qualified doctor.
Some doctors perform early abortions in their offices, while others are done in specialized clinics. They can be done up to 16 or 19 weeks of pregnancy in Winnipeg (depending on the doctor) or up to 10 weeks in Brandon. Winnipeg and Brandon are the only cities in Manitoba where you can get an abortion.
Abortions do not cost anything as long as you have a Manitoba Health card (they may cost up to $500 if you are from out of province), and you can get them done without parental consent. If you are planning on getting one done without parental consent, you may want to go to a teen clinic as they can get you into a doctor who will do it without parental consent sooner.
Adoption involves carrying a pregnancy to term (giving birth), and then allowing the baby to be adopted into a family that will raise and care for it as their own. Some people aren’t physically able to have their own children, so adoption gives them a way to become a parent without giving birth.
Adoption involves signing an agreement 48 hours after the birth, giving up parental rights. After this is signed, the birth parents are given 21 days to change their mind. If they do change their minds, CFS will continue to work with them as they begin to parent. If they do not change their minds, all parental rights are permanently terminated.
Birth parents can request an open adoption, which allows them to keep in contact with the adoptive parents.
Guardianship is when someone other than the parent takes legal responsibility for raising the child on a short-term or permanent basis. This can include an extended family member or a non-family member. This person must make a formal application through a lawyer to be the guardian. Unlike other adoption placement processes, parental rights are not automatically ended so that one day the biological parent may be able to re-apply for guardianship and parent the child.