Pregnancy counseling is a service offered to women who believe that they are pregnant. Typically, the counseling includes a pregnancy test to confirm that the women is pregnant, along with a talk session to discuss the pregnancy and the woman's options. This vital service is offered by a number of organizations, often on a walk-in basis, and is also available through hotlines.
If a woman believes that she is pregnant, the experience can be exciting or traumatizing. For women who are trying to have a child, the discovery is usually followed up with a doctor's appointment to confirm the happy diagnosis and get started on pre-natal care. However, in the case of an unexpected pregnancy, a woman may be uncertain about where to get help with pre-natal care and other services, or she may simply be emotionally distressed. Pregnancy counseling offered through a reputable organization will help to reduce her fears and outline her options.
For a woman of low income who knows that she wants to keep her child, pregnancy counseling can assist her with getting the help she needs. A counselor can provide information about programs to help low-income pregnant women pay for pre-natal care and the cost of delivery. These programs often include food stamps and housing vouchers in addition to providing assistance with medical costs. After a pregnancy counseling session, a woman will be armed with information about where to go and what to do next, and the counselor will sometimes accompany her while she applies for assistance.
If a woman is not sure about what she wants to do, pregnancy counseling offers her an opportunity to talk the situation over without judgment. A pregnancy counselor can talk through various options, ideally without pushing one over the other. If a woman feels that she is not prepared to keep a child, pregnancy counseling can provide her with options, such as adoption or abortion referrals. In some cases, pregnancy counseling is required before a doctor will perform an abortion, to ensure that the woman is making the choice on her own, without undue pressure from anybody else, and that the choice is the best one for her.
Typically, pregnancy counseling also includes family planning information and post birth or abortion care. The idea is to care for pregnant women and support their decisions in a neutral, healthy environment. If you are dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, you can seek out pregnancy counseling centers in your area. Be aware that many anti-abortion groups establish bogus “pregnancy counseling” centers which push an anti-abortion message to women seeking help there. If you are searching for more complete information, you may want to search for pregnancy counseling through an organization like NARAL, the National Organization for Women, or Planned Parenthood.