Becoming a pregnant teen is probably the last thing you thought would ever happen to you at your age. Yet, here you are, finding yourself a pregnant teenager in North Carolina and wondering what to do.
Fortunately, there is plenty of help available in North Carolina and several options for a pregnant teenage girl like yourself. If you’re wondering what to do if you’re a pregnant teenager, one of the first things should be to call A Child’s Hope. Our trained counselors are available to talk you through all of your options as a pregnant teen and help you decide what might be best for you. You are under no obligation to choose adoption if you call us, and all of our counseling will be completely free for you. To talk to us today, call our Pregnancy Hotline: (919) 971-4396, or Text: Pregnant to (919) 971-4396, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
So, what are the options for a pregnant teen in North Carolina?
Abortion for Teenagers in N.C.
If you’re early enough in your pregnancy, you might be considering abortion as a pregnant teenager. However, abortion is not always the “quick and easy” solution to your unplanned pregnancy, and it’s important that you know the facts about the procedure before deciding that it’s right for you.
In North Carolina, you can only complete an abortion if you are 20 weeks or earlier in your pregnancy. In addition, for pregnant teenagers, the state requires that one of your parents gives permission for your abortion. It’s very difficult to complete an abortion without parental knowledge and permission.
North Carolina law also requires that you complete several steps before you can undergo an abortion procedure. You’ll need to receive state-directed counseling (which will likely include information discouraging you from abortion) and an ultrasound, and you’ll need to wait 72 hours after this counseling before you can complete the procedure.
Some other things you should know about abortion in North Carolina:
- Abortion can be expensive. While some insurance companies cover the cost of an abortion procedure, many do not — and you may wish to pay out-of-pocket to avoid statements on your parents’ insurance. Abortion can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars and, when you’re pregnant as a teenager, that can be difficult to come by.
- Abortion comes with certain risks. Like any medical procedure, abortion has potential risks. When abortions are completed safely in a medical clinic, complications are rare, but they can include pain and cramping, spotting and bleeding and (in more serious cases) infection and damage to the cervix and uterus. In addition to the medical risks, some women develop postabortion stress syndrome, as well as feelings of guilt and sadness that eventually dissipate with time.
- Abortion is permanent. When you choose abortion, you may have questions later on in life about what your child may have looked like or grown up to be. Perhaps you’re deciding between abortion and adoption in teenage pregnancy; while 95 percent of women don’t regret their abortion, adoption will give your baby a chance at life with a loving waiting adoptive family.
Only you can decide if abortion is right for you as a pregnant teenager, but it might be a good idea to talk to a counselor or trusted friend or family member for advice and to help you decide.
Adoption for Pregnant Teenagers in North Carolina
Wondering what to do if you are a teenager and pregnant? Adoption might be the right answer for you.
In North Carolina, there are many prospective adoptive parents waiting for a baby so, if you choose adoption, you will be able to find the perfect adoptive family. While adoption is not the right choice for everyone, it’s certainly a viable option as you’re wondering how to proceed with your unplanned teenage pregnancy.
Unlike abortion, you do not need your parents’ consent to place your baby for adoption in a teenage pregnancy. Every decision in your adoption process will be entirely up to you, so you can decide what you are and aren’t comfortable with when you place your baby for adoption. In addition, when you pursue adoption, you always have the right to change your mind until you sign your adoption papers after your baby is born.
Here are some other things you should know about adoption before deciding it’s right for you:
- Adoption is completely free to you. When you choose adoption, you will not have to pay for your pregnancy-related expenses. Working with an adoption agency like A Child’s Hope allows you to get financial assistance for adoption, including money for maternity clothes and the travel expenses incurred for doctor’s appointments.
- You can continue your education while pregnant. Unlike raising a child, choosing adoption will let you continue to attend school and do many of the things you love. While you will be pregnant, you can have a normal teenage experience for the majority of your pregnancy and after your baby is born. If you’re uncomfortable attending your normal school while pregnant, there are also alternative schooling methods available to keep up with your education.
- You can stay in touch with the adoptive parents after your baby is born. In addition to choosing and getting to know an adoptive family for your baby, you can also stay in touch with them as your child grows up. Open adoption gives you the chance to receive communication — emails, phone calls, letters and even in-person meetings — from the adoptive parents for the next 18 years. Many women who choose adoption say this communication helps them deal with the sadness they feel and reaffirms adoption as the right choice for their child.
If you think adoption might be right for you, you can always call A Child’s Hope at 877-890-4673, text PREGNANT to 919-971-4396 or email email@example.com to learn more about the process and speak to a trained counselor. You won’t be obligated to choose adoption until you’re ready, but we can give you all the information you need to make an educated decision for your teenage pregnancy in North Carolina.
Teen Parenting in North Carolina
The last of your options for teen pregnancy is choosing to raise your child yourself as a teenage parent. Obviously, this is a serious decision to make, as it will change the rest of your life. When you choose to become a parent at a young age, you will have to make sacrifices to make your child your first priority — and it will be difficult to lead a “normal” teenage life.
However, if you are prepared for the challenges of being a teen mom, you certainly have the right to choose to parent your unborn baby. Here are some of the realities of parenting that you should consider before making that permanent decision:
- Raising a child is expensive. Today, it costs an average of $233,000 to raise a child to the age 18 — and that’s not even including the cost of college and any financial assistance they need after high school. As a teenager, it will be difficult for you to continue attending school and be able to afford the costs of raising a child, especially if you want to move out of your parents’ house later on in life.
- You may have to put your life goals on hold. It’s incredibly difficult to be a full-time parent, work and attend school at the same time. As you make your child your priority, you may have to postpone your goals of going to college or advancing in your chosen career field. You also will be unlikely to experience a “normal” high school or college career.
- Your support system may not always be there. Many teenagers choose to raise their baby because they have the assistance of their parents. By living in their parents’ house and having someone to guide them through the early steps of parenthood, they think raising their child will be easier than it originally seems. However, you need to consider what would happen to you and your baby if your parents and friends were unable or unwilling to provide you financial or practical assistance anymore. Would you still be able to raise a baby on your own? And, if the baby’s father isn’t involved, are you prepared to raise your child by yourself — and do you want that for them?
You always have the right to parent your child, but it’s important that you seriously consider all of your options to determine if this is the best choice for you and your baby. The counselors at A Child’s Hope can answer any questions you have about the realities of parenting and give you the information you need to determine if parenthood is a realistic possibility for you.
Which is Right for You?
As a pregnant teen in North Carolina, you’re probably overwhelmed with your situation and not sure what to do. It’s important to have a support system to talk about your options for teen pregnancy, as you want to be as informed as possible before making a life-changing decision.
If you need someone to talk to about your unplanned teenage pregnancy, the counselors at A Child’s Hope can help for free and with no obligation. To learn more about your options for a pregnant teen, please contact us today.
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Adoption Counselor/Homestudy Supervisor - Triangle
As an adoptive parent I truly have a passion for adoption. There is no greater joy than helping to create a family! I love this job and I love working with adoptive parents as well as the birth parents. When it all comes together it is an awesome experience! Kelly is a graduate of NC State University where she earned a Bachelor of Social Work. She also received her Master of Social Work from the University of South Carolina. Kelly has been working with children, families, in the home and in communities for 18 years. Kelly has been working with birth mothers and adoptive parents for the last 5 years. Besides working, she has a great husband and three fabulous children, Landon, Parker and Ansley. Kelly and her husband adopted their daughter with the help of ACH and feels as though her personal experience helps her relate to other adoptive families.
Sloane completed her undergraduate degree in Human Services Counseling at Old Dominion University and holds a Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California. Sloane has been working with children, birth mothers and adopting families for more than 10 years. She loves advocating for children and helping women during pregnancy.
Lakisha completed her undergraduate degree in Sociology with a concentration in Social Welfare at Winston-Salem State University. She received her Master of Social Work from Syracuse University. Lakisha has worked with children, individuals and families for more than 12 years. Her experience includes working with at-risk youth, homeless children and families, child mental health, as well as school social work and case management. She is also a long-time basketball fan, a former player and coach. She played at Winston-Salem State University and coached women’s basketball at Elon University and Syracuse University. Lakisha and her husband reside in Alamance County, with their young son.
Jess completed her undergraduate degree in Communication at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and earned her Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Messiah College. Her professional experience includes case management, education, women’s behavioral health including a focus on pregnant mothers, and working with kinship and domestic adoptive families who have experienced trauma. Jess is a native of central Pennsylvania though loves living in Asheville with her significant other. When she is not working, she is likely caring for her puppy and dog, painting, practicing yoga, camping or planning her next road trip to see family and friends or have an adventure in some new place!
Sylvia is a graduate of Western Carolina University, where she earned a Bachelor of Social Work. She also received her Master of Social Work from the University of North Carolina. Sylvia has been working with children and families for more than 19 years. She enjoys gardening, reading, hiking, and spending time with her husband and three boys. She also loves animals, especially her dog Jazzy.
Nicole completed her undergraduate studies at Chowan University in Psychology with a concentration in Alcohol & Drug Studies and a minor in Criminal Justice. Nicole has provided services to adolescents, teens, college students, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Parole and Probation, the NC Division of Motor Vehicles, the Division of Transportation, and the Department of Defense. She is a Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor and has been working in the mental health field for 15 years.
Suzanne was the primary pregnancy care manager stationed at Duke high-risk perinatal clinic for 20 years. She has a BS in Social Work at UNC Pembroke and is a licensed School Social Worker. She recently worked as a case manager in a substance abuse disorder residential program for women with young children. Suzanne is a “Durhamite” but has resided in Wake County since graduating. Her biggest accomplishment has been happily raising her 14 yo daughter and 3 poodle mixed pups.