Missing your period tends to be the first sign that you could be pregnant. Others include:
Going to the toilet more often
Having tender breasts.
If you think you might be pregnant the best thing to do is get a pregnancy test. You can buy these at chemists and supermarkets but you can also go along to your GP or family planning clinic to get one for free. Going to a GP or a clinic also means you can talk to someone about the result straight away.
I’m Not Sure What To Do!
The best thing to do is to talk to someone and get some support. If you don’t feel you can talk to your family or partner, there’s your friends, youthworkers, GP and staff at the family planning clinic. They will be able to discuss your options with you and help you decide what is best for you.
Having The Baby
Having a baby is a huge emotional and financial investment but there is also a lot of support for you to help out with this.
The first thing you need to do is to see a midwife. You can do this by seeing your doctor and asking for an appointment with a midwife. Midwives support you through pregnancy and the early days after your baby is born, you'll be able to meet yours early on during your pregnancy.
You'll also be able to go to antenatal classes where you learn about giving birth and caring for your baby, plus it's a great opportunity to make friends with other mums.
There are lots of different groups to help you, especially if you are a lone parent or a teenage parent. In your local area there will be lots of local government or voluntary organisations that provide support for parents with young children. Ask your midwife for more details.
You are entitled to a range of benefits (and maternity leave if you are working) to support you financially. It can get a bit complicated working out what you are entitled to so get in touch with your local Citizen's Advice Bureau (CAB) and they will be able to help you.
Lots of information about pregnancy, birth and parenthood is available. You'll be able to find leaflets and free magazines from your GP, midwife and antenatal clinic. There are also many magazines available in newsagents and books that you can buy or borrow from your local library. The Internet has thousands of websites on these topics, try NHS Health Scotland's Ready Steady Baby for starters.
Baby equipment and clothes can seem expensive but you can get lots of it second hand, and other mums may pass on things they no longer need.
Healthy Start is a UK-wide government scheme to help improve the health of pregnant women on benefits or low incomes.
If you qualify you can get vouchers to spend on milk, fruit and vegetables as well as coupons for free vitamins.
When you join the scheme you'll also get advice and information on topics such as breastfeeding, healthy eating and parenting. Eating well during pregnancy is really important. Check out our page on healthy eating during pregnancy for more information.
To get more information and find out if you qualify check out the website www.healthystart.nhs.uk/. You can also call the Healthy Start Issuing Unit for more information on 0845 607 6823.
Deciding to have your baby adopted is a can be a hard decision to make. It's probably best to get lots of support and advice to help you decide. If you choose adoption you will be assigned a social worker to support you through the process. Adoption agencies (who are generally part of your local council) have to give you counselling to make sure you understand what you are doing.
The father of the baby also needs to agree to the adoption (unless you don’t know where to find him), but your social worker can help you work things out if he disagrees.
Agencies are starting to encourage some form of contact, where appropriate, so you may be able to exchange letters and cards a few times a year and know how your child is getting on.
Again, this is a difficult decision to make and it's best to get support throughout the process.
An abortion (a medical termination of a pregnancy) can be carried out up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. The later they are carried out, the more complicated they can be. Most abortions happen before the twelfth week of pregnancy.
You need to be referred by a doctor if you want an abortion on the NHS. This does not have to be your own GP; it can be a doctor from a GUM (sexual health clinic), family planning or young person’s clinic. You can refer yourself for an abortion at a private clinic but you will have to pay for this.
Post-abortion counselling is available as many women have feelings of guilt or sadness after their abortion. This may not show up for many months or years afterwards. These feelings are totally normal.
If you would like to speak to someone about having an abortion, or if you have had an abortion you can contact CareConfidential Online. They offer free counselling and support through their helpline (0800 028 2228), an online advisor service or you can search for a local centre near you.