Pregnancy and Choices

If you become pregnant, you have a right to choose if you want to have a baby. No one else can tell you what to do.

This page provides information about your options and where you can get support.

Watch the Family Planning Victoria video (external link) about pregnancy:

Tip: Click the subtitles button in the bottom right hand corner of the video to turn closed captions on and off.

Fertility

Black and white photo of a pregnant woman's belly.

Fertility in women means being able to get pregnant and give birth to a baby.

Whether you want to get pregnant or not, it is important to know that you are most likely to fall pregnant after having unprotected sex during the time when your body is ovulating.

Ovulation is the release of an egg from one of a woman's ovaries. Around the time when this happens, you are more likely to get pregnant through unprotected sex.

Ovulation usually happens about 14 days, or 2 weeks before your period starts and lasts for about a week.

As sperm can live for up to 7 days, it is possible to be fertile a few days before and after ovulation.

To work out exactly when you ovulate, you need to know how many days there are between the first day of your period and the day before your next period. This is your menstrual cycle.


Fertility awareness methods (FAM)

Fertility awareness is when you keep track of when you ovulate to either avoid pregnancy, or to get pregnant.

Since every person’s cycle is different and can be affected by things like sickness, stress and travel, fertility awareness can be difficult.

 To work this out, it can help to use a period and fertility tracking app like:

  • Flo (external link)
  • Eve (external link).
Tip: You can learn more about your Fertility and getting pregnant on the Your Fertility website (external link).

Fertility treatments

Some people who can’t get pregnant, or who are having trouble getting pregnant, choose to have fertility treatments. There are many types of fertility treatments.

Artificial insemination

Artificial insemination involves inserting a male partner or donor’s sperm into a woman’s uterus to make her pregnant.

In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)

In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) is a procedure in which a sperm and an egg are joined together outside a body and then transferred into a woman’s uterus.

Ovulation induction

Ovulation induction involves taking medication to encourage eggs to develop in the ovaries and be released. This increases the chance of falling pregnant.

Pregnancy

Sometimes when people get pregnant, they have no symptoms at all, but some common symptoms you might experience if you are pregnant include:

  • missing your period
  • feeling sick and vomiting
  • sore breasts
  • tiredness
  • needing to urinate more often.

If you have these symptoms or are having sex without contraception you can check if you are pregnant by using a pregnancy test. You can buy these from a supermarket or chemist. To find out for sure, you can also go to your doctor, family planning centre, or women’s health service and ask them to do some tests to check if you are pregnant.

Remember! Finding out you are pregnant can sometimes be scary, but you always have choices about what you can do.


Having a baby

If you decide you want to go through with a pregnancy and become a parent, you will need to go to the doctor to talk to them about how to stay healthy while you are pregnant. You will also need to book in for some important tests. This will include:

  • blood tests
  • ultrasound scans.

Genetic testing

Genetic testing is when expecting parents take a blood test to look for genes that can lead to certain diseases in their baby.

Most genetic diseases can usually only be passed on to a baby if both biological parents have the gene, and they are not always passed on even when this is the case.

Genetic testing is sometimes encouraged if one of the parents has a disease that impacts significantly on their life. However, genetic testing is always optional and it is up to the parents to decide if they would like to do it.

Tip: You can learn more about genetic testing on the Health Direct website (external link).


Becoming a parent

If you are thinking about becoming a parent, you should think about what you should do to get ready. You should think about things like:

  • am I ready to be a mum?
  • do I have enough money to look after a baby?
  • where will we live?
  • are there people who will support me in my decision? (like family, friends or a partner)?
  • do I need extra support?
  • do I need adaptable equipment? (e.g. a height adjustable change table).

If you need support or want to talk to someone you can contact your local family planning clinic.

Abortion

If you find out you are pregnant but do not want to have a baby, you can choose to have an abortion.

Photo of a protest sign with the text 'My Body My Decision.'

Having an abortion involves the removal of an embryo or foetus from your uterus to stop you being pregnant. This can be done through a small surgery, or with medication you take at home. An abortion is also commonly referred to as a termination.

If you decide you want to get an abortion, you will need to see a doctor or go to your local family planning clinic (external link).

Your doctor or family planning clinic will be able to tell you what your options are and how much each of them will cost you. An abortion needs to happen fairly quickly after you become pregnant so you should see your doctor as soon as possible to discuss this option.

While abortion is legal across Australia, the laws around how far through a pregnancy you can have an abortion is different in each state and territory.

Australian Capital Territory

In the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), abortion is fully legal if it is approved and undertaken by a trained medical practitioner.

Queensland

In Queensland (QLD), abortion is legal up to 22 weeks, or after 22 weeks with sign off from 2 medical practitioners.

New South Wales

In New South Wales (NSW), It is legal to have an abortion up to 22 weeks of pregnancy and after this with sign off from 2 medical practitioners.

Northern Territory

In the Northern Territory (NT), abortion is legal up to 14 weeks with one doctor's approval, and at 14 - 23 weeks with 2 medical practitioners sign off. It is not legal after 23 weeks unless it is needed to save a life.

South Australia

In South Australia (SA), abortion is only legal if 2 medical practitioners agree that the pregnancy would endanger the individual’s physical or mental health, or if the baby has a medical condition that is life threatening.

Tasmania

In Tasmania (TAS), it is legal to have an abortion up to 16 weeks of pregnancy and after this with sign off from 2 medical practitioners.
 

Victoria

In Victoria (VIC), it is legal to get an abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, and after this with sign off from 2 medical practitioners.
 

Western Australia

In Western Australia (WA), abortion is legal up to 20 weeks with support from a counsellor. In some cases it is possible to have an abortion up to 24 weeks if at least 2 members of a government appointed panel agree that a woman or foetus has a severe medical condition.

Adoption

Sometimes when people become pregnant unexpectedly, they choose to give birth to the baby and then give it up for adoption. When this happens, another individual or family can adopt and look after the baby.

Adopting out a baby can be option for you if you become pregnant and don't want to or can't have an abortion but also don't want to be a parent.

Adopting a baby can also be an option for you if you want to be a parent, but can't give birth to a child.

Note: Adoption can be a fairly difficult thing to do, and involves different legal processes depending on where you live. If you are thinking about giving a baby up for a adoption, or adopting a child, you should talk to your state or territory government.

To find out more, go to the Adopt Change website (external link).

Important Resources

Publications
WWDA Position Statement 4: Sexual and Reproductive Rights
Information from WWDA about the rights of women and girls with disability to make decisions about their bodies, sexual health and relationships.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
Guides
WWDA Easy English Book: You Are Pregnant - What Can You Do?
Easy English book about your choices when you get pregnant.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia: Mental Health Checklists for Expecting and New Parents
A website providing mental health checklists to help to see if what you’re experiencing or observing in a loved one could be a reason to seek help.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Pregnancy, Birth and Baby
A website with information to support parents on the journey from pregnancy to preschool.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Family Planning Alliance Australia: services
A website where you can find your local family planning service.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Download Word (accessible)
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video

Where to next:

External website
External website
Children by Choice: Abortion
A website with information and statistics about abortions in Australia.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Independent Living Centres Australia
Information about products and services to help people remain independent and improve their quality of life.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
Videos
Family Planning Victoria YouTube Channel
A series of videos about sexual health from Victoria.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Cope: Centre for Perinatal Excellence
An organisation providing support for the emotional challenges of becoming a parent and looking after babies.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Marie Stopes
Marie Stopes Australia is a national provider of safe abortions and contraception.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Planned Parenthood
An organisation that delivers reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of people worldwide.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
IVF Australia
A website with a wide range of information on fertility treatments.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Brave Foundation
Brave Foundation is an Australian organisation that supports expecting and parenting teenagers. Its website has a growing online directory to support young parents across Australia.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
The Royal Women's Hospital
A website with lots of useful information and downloadable fact sheets about women's health.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video
External website
Your Fertility
A website with resources to help you learn about and track your fertility.
Apple App Store
Google Play
Visit Website
Accessible Word File
Download PDF
Listen Now
Download PDF
Download PDF
Watch Video