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The Stigmas and Social Norms of Unplanned Pregnancy

The Stigmas and Social Norms of Unplanned Pregnancy



In the United States, specifically Idaho and Utah, unplanned pregnancies are most common among young women between the ages of 18-24 years old. With the woman’s decision in mind, 60% of unintended pregnancies result in childbirth, 40% in pregnancy termination, and less than 2% in adoption. Norms and stigmas surround all pregnancy decisions, including adoption, pregnancy termination, and parenting. These social norms and stigmas regarding women’s reproductive health and behavior greatly impact the decisions women make during and after their pregnancy.

Results of studies suggested that some expectations surrounding pregnancy are that pregnancy occurs between two mature, educated, married, financially stable, and monogamous individuals. Reality is that unplanned pregnancy can happen to women in all walks of life, but community expectations, stigmas, often have negative effects on women who experience unplanned pregnancies.

A stigma in society for birth mothers who are alone and feeling overwhelmed is that they should just terminate the pregnancy, which can negatively impact the birth mother emotionally and physically.  One of the physical risks associated with pregnancy termination relates to a woman’s chance to have more children in the future, due to the procedure of pregnancy termination being typically harsh on the uterus.

A specific stigma surrounding the world of adoption and women who choose to place their child for adoption is that they are abandoning or ‘giving away’ their children, but adoption is most commonly seen by society as a helpful hand to a birth mother and giving that child the chance to have a life.

A woman experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, if she is capable, can and should put aside stigmas and social norms, and make the best decision she can, considering what is best for herself and her baby. Minimizing and reducing the negative stigmas and social norms starts with educating and empowering young women. These factors, along with their personal support systems, can help young women make the best possible decisions for themselves, their reproductive health, and for the life of the child they carry inside.

For more information about adoption, please contact Forever Bound Adoption at 801-821-1354.