Do you think you may be pregnant, but aren’t sure yet? We know how stressful this situation can be, and facing it head-on might feel like the hardest thing in the world.
But it’s very important that you find out as soon as possible.
Steps Toward A Healthy Pregnancy In Pittsburgh
If you are pregnant, your body has already started changing. But without proper health care, without monitoring these changes, something could go wrong. And then your own health, along with that of your baby, could be in danger. So you need to know, but how?
1. Get A Free Pregnancy Test
First, you need to get a pregnancy test. You can find urine tests, like First Response, at almost every pharmacy or drug store in Pittsburgh. These tests are actually surprisingly accurate, especially if you take one at least one week after your missed period.
But to know for sure, it’s best to have a doctor do a more thorough test. Health care professionals can give you either a blood or urine-based test, depending on what you’re comfortable with. Here’s how to find a free one:
The University of Pittsburgh has a network of offices called “Community Health Centers.” Every year, they receive money from the state government, so that they can help people in the community get the care they need. Most of the time, their services are free, and if they’re not, any costs will be based on how much you make so they’ll always be manageable.
Here are a few locations that might be close to you. If you don’t see one near you, click the link above to find a full list.
- Mathilda Theiss Health Center
373 Burrows Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15236
- Shadyside Family Health Center
5215 Centre Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
- St. Margaret Family Health Center
3937 Butler Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
These are all great places to start, because they focus on “family medicine,” which includes pregnancy and prenatal (“before birth”) care. Most accept walk-ins, so you probably don’t need to make an appointment, but calling ahead of time wouldn’t hurt.
2. Start Getting Prenatal Care
If your test comes back positive, take a moment. Take a lot of moments, as many as you need. This can be really hard, and scary, or joyful. However you feel, let yourself really feel that emotion. It’s real, and it’s right, because it’s your own.
You don’t have to make a decision about what to do right now. In the coming weeks, you’ll have to consider your three, basic options: parenting, adoption and abortion. Then you’ll have to decide, and sometimes it might not feel like any of your options are right.
But the most important thing in this moment is to start getting proper prenatal care. This is health care for you and your baby, because now your health depends on the health of your baby and your baby’s health depends on yours.
You can call any of the Community Health Centers that we mentioned above to schedule a first prenatal visit. At your appointment, you should expect:
- your doctor to ask you how you’re feeling, both physically and emotionally
- to ask any questions you have, or raise any concerns
- basic measurements, like weight and height, along with a urine test to check your changing hormone levels
- abdomen measurements
- your doctor to check the position of your baby
If you need to find another place to go, here’s a list of offices that offer free or low-cost prenatal care in Pittsburgh.
3. Start Thinking About Your Options
Now that you’re seeing a doctor, who will tell you when to come back for check-ups, you might be ready to start thinking about the future.
Remember, this is going to take time. No one “figures out” pregnancy over night, and having mixed (or even negative) feelings about it is common.
You might want to keep everything to yourself at first. That’s okay; this is a deeply personal choice and one you have every right to think about on your own. But reaching out can be a really good way to gain perspective on your feelings. If you don’t feel comfortable discussing your pregnancy with friends and family, try contacting an experienced pregnancy options counselor.
You can call Adoptions From The Heart’s counselors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Speaking with one of our advisers is always free, as are our other services for pregnant women. And just because we’re an adoption agency doesn’t mean that we’re going to push you in that direction. We want you to make the best decision for yourself and your baby, no matter what that decision turns out to be.
If you’d like to meet someone in person, we have an office in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, about 45 minutes away from Pittsburgh. Just call (724) 853-6533 to schedule an appointment.
You’re Not Alone: Unplanned Pregnancies Are Common In Pittsburgh
Did you know that 53% of all pregnancies in Pennsylvania are unplanned? That’s right – if you were surprised to discover that you’re pregnant, you’re not alone.
Over the last decade, Allegheny County has seen a slight decrease in teen pregnancies. The Allegheny County Health Department reports that in 2000, for every 1,000 females between the ages of 15 and 19 living in Pittsburgh, 29 gave birth to a baby. In 2009, a little over 24 did.
But those numbers are kind of misleading. Teen pregnancies are much more common within African American communities than white ones. Every year, around 77 black teens out of every 1,000 deliver a child.