What is Pregnancy Counseling?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

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.

Pregnancy counseling can help a woman understand her options.
Pregnancy counseling can help a woman understand her options.

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.

Pregnancy counseling is offered to any woman who is pregnant.
Pregnancy counseling is offered to any woman who is pregnant.

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.

Many hospitals and clinics offer pregnancy counseling for women.
Many hospitals and clinics offer pregnancy counseling for women.

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.

Pregnancy counseling allows a woman to talk out her options without fear of judgment.
Pregnancy counseling allows a woman to talk out her options without fear of judgment.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

anon148528

They are "bogus" because they scare women into thinking that abortion is wrong and don't give the woman all the options that should be available to her. And what negative effects are you referring to?

The potential negative effects of abortion are no different than having a child (actually it's safer). The only one that's substantial would be the psychological effects.

anon110897

Why are they bogus “pregnancy counseling” centers? Because they tell women the truth about abortion's negative effects? Is that getting in the way of their choice, or helping them make an informed one?

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