SummaryRead the full fact sheet
- If you think you may be pregnant, it is important to confirm it as soon as possible.
- The sooner a pregnancy is confirmed, the sooner you can receive care, and the more options you will have available to you.
- If you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, you can seek professional support and information to help you make the best decision.
Are you pregnant?
Unplanned pregnancies are common. It is estimated around 50% of all Australian pregnancies. Not all unplanned pregnancies are unwanted.
Unintended pregnancies occur for all sorts of reasons. It is your decision to decide whether to continue or terminate your pregnancy.
How to tell if you are pregnant
It is important to confirm your pregnancy as soon as you can, so you can start considering your options.
Signs and symptoms of early pregnancy can vary and may include:
- nausea and vomiting (called )
- breast changes
- frequent urination
- changes in appetite – such as cravings or distaste for some foods.
Confirming your pregnancy with tests
Pregnancy is usually confirmed by a:
- urine test – done in your own home or medical clinic
- blood test – requested by a doctor.
The most common mistake is to test for pregnancy too soon after the missed period.
You can do a test at home or in a doctor’s surgery or health clinic.
Home pregnancy tests
A home pregnancy test is convenient and you get the results in a few minutes. They can be bought from a pharmacy or supermarket.
Basically, you either wee on a test stick or dip a test strip into a small sample of urine to get the result.
It is best to do the test in the morning and around the time your period is due. Sometimes, if a test is done too early, you may get an inaccurate result. Be aware that false-positive and false-negative results can happen.
Home pregnancy tests are up to 99% accurate if you strictly follow the instructions on the packet.
If you suspect you may be pregnant or don’t feel comfortable doing a home test, see your doctor (or family planning clinic). Doctors and nurses can also discuss any issues you may have so you can weigh up your options.
Pregnancy tests in a surgery or clinic
If you do your test in a doctor’s surgery or a clinic in your community, the doctor or nurse may:
- ask you to pass urine (wee) into a small container to test a sample of your urine
- send you for a blood test at a pathology clinic to confirm the result (blood test results usually take at least a couple of days to come back).
Getting help to consider your pregnancy options
If pregnancy is confirmed, you can then work out what information, support and medical care you need to make a decision.
The sooner you can decide, the more options you will have.
Talking with trusted people in your life can help you reach your decision about the pregnancy and provide you with support and information. It can be a partner, friend, family member, teacher, school counsellor or health professional.
Support and counselling for unplanned pregnancy
If you have an unplanned pregnancy, deciding what to do is not always easy. Remember, unplanned pregnancies are common, and you don’t have to decide on your own.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, you can seek support from a specially trained counsellor. A counsellor can provide you with comprehensive, impartial information on your pregnancy options, and enable you to consider them.
Counselling should be non-biased and non-directive – meaning that they cannot direct or push you into deciding what to do. Counsellors must provide you with accurate information so you can make an informed decision.
Pregnancy counselling is available in different settings such as hospitals, family planning clinics, sexual and reproductive health services and community health services.
If you live in Victoria, contact (Tel. ) – a confidential free service that provides information and advice about pregnancy options and help you find further support. Further services are listed in the ‘where to get help’ section of this fact sheet.
Unplanned pregnancy from sexual assault and family violence
In Australia, as many as 1 in 4 women are affected by violence that includes sexual assault, family violence and reproduction coercion and abuse. An unplanned pregnancy can occur as a result from sex they did not agree or consent to.
You may have been pressured (coerced) into it. Reproductive coercion and abuse is where you do not have control over your sexual and reproductive health.
Examples of reproductive coercion and abuse from perpetrators that may lead to unintended pregnancy includes:
- threats and physical violence
- controlling, tampering or taking away contraception
- forced sex or any forced sexual contact
- blackmailing as a sign of love or commitment to a relationship.
Sexual assault and family violence are illegal and may occur with a stranger or someone you know (such as a family member).
If your pregnancy results from sexual assault or family violence, specialist services are available to support you every step of the way.
Services and support available in Victoria include:
- 1800 Respect Tel. (24/7) – national domestic family and sexual violence counselling service
- Sexual Assault Crisis Line Tel.
- Safe Steps – Family Violence Response Centre Tel. .
What are my options if I have an unplanned pregnancy?
It is entirely your choice as to what do if you have an unplanned pregnancy. This is regardless of your age and whether you are in a relationship or not.
- continuing the pregnancy and becoming a parent
- ending the pregnancy (having or )
- continuing the pregnancy and choosing for the child.
Continuing the pregnancy and becoming a parent
Your GP can arrange tests and medical assessments, and give you information about:
- what care is recommended during the pregnancy
- public or private services
- various birth options for the birth
- how and where you can receive antenatal care – your GP can make the referral for this care.
Abortion (ending the pregnancy)
- – can occur early in your pregnancy (up to 9 weeks)
- – commonly performed during the first trimester of pregnancy (usually up to 12 weeks) but can be provided up to 24 weeks gestation. In some circumstances, abortion can be performed beyond this.
Medical abortion is provided by some GPs, community health services, private clinics, and hospitals.
Surgical abortion is provided by some hospitals and private clinics.
There are not as many services available if a surgical abortion is performed beyond 16 weeks.
Everyone’s abortion experience is different, and it depends on your individual circumstances. Studies show those who make an informed decision to have an abortion and receive trusted support are unlikely to experience long-term psychological or emotional problems.
Seeking help for abortion
If you are finding it difficult to decide or feel distressed about abortion, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You may like to talk to someone you trust (such as a partner, friend, family member, school counsellor, teacher or a health professional).
Support, before and after the abortion, can help you to work through your decision and find ways to cope better with the experience.
Alternative care or adoption
If you feel you need more time to prepare for the responsibilities and challenges of becoming a full-time parent, there are alternatives to placing the child for permanent adoption.
- Your extended family may be able to be involved in caring for the child.
- Temporary foster care can be arranged where a child lives with and is cared for by another family until the birth parent or parents are able to care for and have their child live with them.
You may decide to continue with the pregnancy then place the child for adoption. The adoptive parents will then become the child’s permanent, legal parents.
For more information, visit the department’s ‘families and children’ pages about:
Where to get help
- In an emergency, call triple zero (000)
- Pharmacist (including )
- Tel. – for expert health information and advice (24 hours, 7 days)
- Your school nurse or welfare coordinator. Some secondary schools provide access to an adolescent health trained GP on site
- Your local community health service’s sexual and reproductive health clinic or women’s health clinic
- – Victoria’s sexual and reproductive health information and phone line service Tel. 1800 My Options ()
- – or call Melbourne CBD Clinic: , Box Hill Clinic: or (free call): (Monday to Friday 9 am - 5 pm). These services are youth friendly.
- (Australia’s first national counselling and referral service for LGBTQIA+ people) Tel.
- : National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service (24 hours, 7 days) Tel. – free telephone counselling helpline
- (24 hours, 7 days) Tel. – Victorian service for women experiencing violence and abuse from a partner or ex-partner, family members or someone close to them
- Fitzroy: Tel. and Preston Tel. (Monday to Friday 10 am – 4 pm) and after-hours locum service Tel. or Epping: Tel. (Monday to Thursday 9 am-5 pm, Friday 9 am-4 pm)