My partner might be pregnant. What’s our first step?
Whether your partner’s experiencing common signs and symptoms of pregnancy, or has actually had a positive home pregnancy test, your first step should be to confirm that they are indeed pregnant with a viable pregnancy. Between 10-25% of known pregnancies will end naturally in miscarriage, so it is a good idea to first find out if the pregnancy is even viable before trying to decide what to do about it. (5) The best way to confirm a viable pregnancy is with an ultrasound. Focus Women’s Center offers free ultrasounds to some of our pregnant patients as part of our Pregnancy Verification and Consultation appointment. You can call or text us at 815-322-1585 to schedule an appointment today.
While you can voice your opinion and wishes, you cannot force your partner into any decision – and neither can anyone’s parents. Legally, the final decision between parenting and abortion is up to the one carrying the pregnancy, and your consent is not required – even if you are married. If your partner decides to parent the baby, you may be held responsible for child support payments.
However, if your partner wants to place the baby for adoption, you do have some legal rights as the father. It is important to know that depending on your situation, your rights may be forfeited if you don’t act within a certain time frame of the baby’s birth. You should seek legal counsel as soon as possible so that you know how to proceed. For more information on your rights as a birth parent, go here.
How can I support my partner during an unintended pregnancy?
An unintended pregnancy can feel like the end of the world to one person, while another might be excited and happy about it. Sometimes both partners are on the same page, but other times one might have different feelings and desire a different outcome than their partner. No matter how you feel, there are some things you can do to show support for your partner:
- Respectful Communication: Respecting one another’s feelings and being honest and open with each other lets your partner know that you value and respect them.
- Educate Yourself: It is often helpful to educate yourself on each of the three options available: abortion, adoption, and parenting. This way you can develop an informed opinion and discuss the options with your partner.
- Offer to Go to The Appointments: Dealing with an unintended pregnancy can be overwhelming and no one should have to face it alone. It can be comforting to have you there offering support even though, due to patient privacy laws, you might not be able to stay with your partner during the entire appointment.
- Be Mindful of the Physical Changes: Pregnancy can cause unpleasant symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, and moodiness. Be sympathetic to the changes going on in your partner’s body. Let them sleep in or rest more often, ask if there is anything you can do to help alleviate some of the nausea, etc. Offering both physical and emotional support lets them know that you are there for them.
If your partner just tested positive for an STD/STI, there are a couple important things to understand:
- Before blaming anyone, you should know that many STDs don’t show any symptoms – so it is possible to have an STD and not even be aware of it. You or your partner may have contracted it from a previous sexual partner without even knowing it.
- It is important for you to get tested and treated as well. Untreated STD/STIs can cause serious health problems.
- You should abstain from sexual contact until both of you have been treated and are sure the infection is gone to avoid re-infecting one another.
(1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Just diagnosed? Next steps after testing positive for Gonorrhea or Chlamydia Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/std/prevention/NextSteps-GonorrheaOrChlamydia.htm
(2) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Get tested. Retrieved from https://gettested.cdc.gov/
(3) American Pregnancy Association. (n.d.). My girlfriend is pregnant. Retrieved from https://americanpregnancy.org/unplanned-pregnancy/my-girlfriend-is-pregnant/
(4) FindLaw Thomson Reuters. (2020). Fathers’ rights and abortion. Retrieved from https://family.findlaw.com/paternity/fathers-rights-and-abortion.html
(5) American Pregnancy Association. (n.d.). Ultrasound: sonogram. Retrieved from https://americanpregnancy.org/prenatal-testing/ultrasound/
(6) Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler, P.C. (2020). Fathers rights in adoption proceedings in Illinois. Retrieved from https://www.tenglerlaw.com/blog/2013/12/fathers-rights-in-adoption-proceedings-in-illinois.shtml
(7) State of Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. (2017). Birth parents’ rights and responsibilities in Illinois. Retrieved from https://www2.illinois.gov/dcfs/aboutus/notices/Documents/CFS_403-E_Birth_Parents_Rights_and_Responsibilities_in_Illinois.pdf