Category Archives: Pregnancy

Help! I Might Need the Morning After Pill

What is emergency contraception? How does it work? When can I take it? How effective is it?

What’s the difference between the morning after pill and the abortion pill?

What if I’m pregnant?

Birth control failure
Concerned about the condom breaking or forgetting to take the pill?

If you’ve had unprotected sex questions like these may be swirling through your mind. Or you might be wondering these things if the condom broke or you forgot to take your regular birth control. These questions can be hard to sort through.

The morning after pill and the abortion pill are not the same thing, but are often confused. If you’re wondering what they are or what the differences are between the morning after pill and the abortion pill, keep reading.

What is the morning after pill?

  • The morning after pill is often referred to by the brand name that started it, Plan B®.
  • It’s a drug intended to be taken as soon as possible within the first 72 hours after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy.
  • It contains a high dose of a progesterone, which is found in many kinds of birth control pills.

How does the morning after pill work?

What are side effects? Short-term side-effects of taking the morning after pill may include:

  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Changes in your period
  • Cramping and abdominal pain – this could also be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy. If you have severe abdominal pain three to five weeks after using the morning after pill you should get immediate medical help. You could have an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

What else should I know about the morning after pill?

What is the abortion pill?

  • The abortion pill is not the same as the morning after pill.
  • The “abortion pill” is not actually one pill, but two separate medications.
  • The abortion pill involves taking two different drugs to cause a medical abortion. These are Mifeprex® and misoprostol.
  • The first drug is known as Mifeprex®, mifepristone or RU-486. In March 2016, the FDA made approved changes to the Mifeprex®/mifepristone regime. Mifeprex® is now approved, in a regimen with misoprostol, to end a pregnancy through 70 days since the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period.
  • Misoprostol is taken 24 to 48 hours after taking Mifeprex®.
  • About 7 to 14 days after taking Mifeprex®, a woman should follow up with her healthcare provider. This visit is to make sure the abortion is complete and to check for complications.

How does the abortion pill work?

What are side effects and potential complications of the abortion pill? Women who have taken Mifeprex® should seek immediate medical care for:

  • Sustained fever
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Prolonged heavy bleeding
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort or generally feeling sick for more than 24 hours after taking misoprostol. Generally feeling sick could include weakness, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea.

These symptoms could be a sign of serious complications.

What else should I know about the abortion pill?

  • Ignoring the FDA guidelines below makes a medical abortion less safe. You should not take mifepristone if it has been more than 70 days since your last menstrual period began.
  • Do not order the abortion pill online.
    • Online purchasers of the abortion pill may bypass important safeguards designed to protect women’s health.
    • Drugs purchased online are not subject to FDA manufacturing controls or inspection. There is no way to be exactly sure what they contain.
    • If dangerous side effects occur, you will need a healthcare professional to take care of you.

What if I change my mind?

  • Under a doctor’s care, women have successfully continued their pregnancies after taking the first does of the abortion pill, mifepristone. Find out more:
  • Women should not attempt to counteract the abortion pill without the help of a medical professional.

If you have had unprotected sex and are concerned about pregnancy in Madison, Wisconsin, text or call us at 608-259-1605. We can help to answer your questions so that you can make an informed decision.

Figuring Out What’s Best for You

Chloe* found First Care Clinic, saw that it had great reviews, and tells of her experience with welcoming and helpful staff. She talks about walking through best and worst case scenario and sorting out her options.

If you think you might be pregnant and are looking for someone to talk to — someone who won’t judge you but will help you process your thoughts and feelings — listen to Chloe’s story and come see us.

If you think you might be pregnant in the Madison, Wisconsin area, text or call us at 608-259-1605 to make an appointment – all of our services are free of charge.

*Name changed to protect privacy.

5 Things to Consider When Making a Pregnancy Decision

If you think you might be pregnant and you weren’t planning on it, your mind may be swirling with all kinds of thoughts.

“I can’t be pregnant. Not now.” “I was on birth control. How is this possible?” “How can I care for another child?” “What about finishing school?” “How will I tell my parents?” “I can’t afford a child right now.”

Woman looking at pregnancy test
Pregnant and not sure what to do? Take time to consider these 5 things before making a decision about your pregnancy.
An unintended pregnancy can present many challenges. But you will want to take time to consider a number of things before making a decision about your pregnancy.
  1. Are you pregnant?
    • Are your symptoms or a home pregnancy test indicating that you are pregnant?
    • Before making any decision, get your pregnancy confirmed by a medical professional. An ultrasound can tell if the baby has a heartbeat and how far along you are.
  2. Consider your options. If you are pregnant, you have three options.
    • Abortion: Abortion is often seen as an option of necessity. It is not a choice that most women want to make but they feel that they don’t have other options. Learn more.
    • Adoption: Adoption can be a very difficult choice to make. However, making an adoption plan can be a good option for women who are not ready to parent and are also not comfortable choosing abortion. Find out more about adoption.
    • Parenting: Some women who initially consider abortion decide that they can parent their child after considering their feelings, values and fears as well as resources and support that are available. Find out how we can help.
  3. Consider your thoughts, values and resources.
    • It can be helpful in sorting out your thoughts to make a list of your options and the benefits and risks of each option.
    • Think about what you value. Looking at your list, rate how important each benefit and risk is to you.
    • Think about and write down any resources and support you know about that may support each of your options. How might the important people in your life support you in your choice? What community resources are available to you?
      • If you feel you do not have enough support, discuss your options with a trusted person. Our nurses and patient advocates can help you with this. Text or call us.
      • Is anyone in your life pressuring you to make a certain decision? It will be best for you – and for the long term health of your relationships – if you can both respectfully communicate your thoughts and feelings.
    • You will want to consider whether you want not make this decision alone or share the decision.
      • Regardless of who you involve in the decision, it will be best if you can make it freely – without feeling pressured to make a certain choice.
      • We can offer a listening ear to the person or people you are involving in your decision.
      • The father of your baby may find it helpful to meet with our Fatherhood Specialist or a male client advocate. Text or call us to find out more.
    • If you feel pressure from others to make a specific choice, find someone to help you and the others involved. Our nurses and patient advocates are available to meet with you. We can help you navigate the challenges you are facing. Text or call us.
  1. Learn all you can about each of your options.
    • Abortion: Do you know what abortion procedures are available to you? Do you understand the potential risks of abortion? You have the right to give fully informed consent and to assess risks and side effects.
    • Parenting: Do you know what risks are associated with continuing the pregnancy? What community resources are available for pregnant moms and moms with infants and other children? What are the responsibilities of the father of the baby?
    • Adoption: Do you understand the options available with making an adoption plan? There are now many options for adoption. An adoption can be open or closed. You may get together with your child regularly and send birthday cards and gifts or choose to live life separately. Find out more.
  2. Know your rights: In the state of Wisconsin, you have the right to make this decision. No one else, including your parents or the father of the baby, can legally force you to have an abortion. The decision you make must be voluntary and non-coerced. If you are feeling pressured to get an abortion you don’t want, get help. Contact us or call the police.

As you attempt to cope with the complex emotions associated with an unintended pregnancy, it can become more difficult to think clearly about your options. Come in and talk about how you are feeling. We can help to answer some of the questions that are going around in your head. Text or call us today.

I Can’t Be Pregnant

“I can’t be pregnant. Not right now.”

“I have plans. And I can’t afford a baby.”

Perhaps you or someone you know is having thoughts like these. You may wonder what to do next.

Should I have an abortion? Parent? Or maybe consider making an adoption plan? All of these sound like hard choices. Where do I go from here?

The nurses and patient advocates at First Care Clinic are here to help you sort through your options and create a plan to move forward. Come see us.

To find out more or to make an appointment, call or text us at 608-259-1605.

1 in 7 Feel Blue

It was almost one week after my 21st birthday when I woke my husband up and said, “It’s time to go to the hospital.” I knew I was in labor with our first child.

Twenty years ago, I didn’t know very much about having a baby, but that night, I knew I was going to be having my baby. My husband and I drove through the empty streets to the hospital with mixed feelings of excitement and nervousness.

At the hospital, I wasn’t sure what to do, what to ask, or how to act. I remember the nurses coming in. They said that they were going to do this or that now, and then they would do it without me having much to say about it. I began to feel a little bit out of control of the situation and more anxiety set in.

The birth of my daughter was a little bit difficult. Instead of giving her to me right after birth, the hospital staff took her to the nursery. I didn’t hold my daughter until the next morning.

When they brought my baby to me, I looked at her with some indifference. I felt some shock at myself because my first thought was, “OK, can I go back to sleep now?” I had expected that I would have experienced a huge gush of love and tenderness. I thought any new mother should feel this love when first holding their new baby. That indifference, and the guilt I felt because of it, lingered once we went home for the next few weeks.

My experience is not all that uncommon. We have this myth in our society that “good” mothers gush and cry to prove their love and worth as mothers when they see their babies. This “good” mothering goes on to perform self-care and newborn care. The “good mother” also cleans, does laundry and makes dinner without batting an eye. We somehow believe that if we do not accomplish all of this while physically recovering from birth — and on two to four hours of sleep — we have failed as mothers. I felt like a failure. This soon evolved into feelings of despair and depression.

1 in 7 women suffer from postpartum depression
It is OK to ask for help and to admit this has happened to you. There is help available.

One in seven women experience mental health or mood disturbances after birth. Yet we often don’t give women permission to talk about these feelings. It is time to acknowledge that postpartum blues, depression and even psychosis happen. Nobody is at fault for it. It is OK to ask for help and to admit this has happened to you. There is help available.

It is not a blemish on your character or your worth as a mother or a woman if you are one of the one in seven women who experiences postpartum mental health issues.

I did find the courage to speak to my health care provider about my depression and I was given tools to help. My daughter is a beautiful 20-year-old and we have a strong, secure relationship. I’m thankful that help came for me in a non-judgmental way. Gratefully, I was able to come through that dark time into a loving relationship with my daughter.

If you find yourself in need of speaking to someone about your own experience, please don’t be afraid to speak out. You can talk to your own health care provider, find a support group, or contact us at First Care Clinic. We’re ready to listen and offer support and resources.

Not ready to call? Check out these resources for a first step toward getting the help you need:
Postpartum Support International -Phone Number: 800-994-4PPD (4773)
PPD Moms -Phone Number: 800-PPD-MOMS (800-773-6667)

5 Ways to Help a Friend

What do you say when a friend tells you she might be pregnant? 

Recently I was talking with a woman I’ll call Leslie. Leslie was a client at First Care Clinic a couple years ago.

Leslie told me that she wished more people knew about First Care Clinic. Then she told me why. Leslie has a friend who had been pregnant and ended her pregnancy. Leslie didn’t know how to help support her friend as she was making her pregnancy decision.

5 ways to help a friend who might be pregnantEspecially for situations like Leslie’s, we like to share these 5 Ways to Help a Friend Who Might Be Pregnant.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Listen without judging. Many women who are facing an unintended pregnancy expect that some around them may look down on them for how they got into this situation. A listening ear is invaluable and can be rare.
  • Don’t pressure her. Women facing unintended pregnancies often feel pressure from their boyfriend, parents or friends. Support her and let her know you care without adding pressure.
  • Let her know there’s a place she can go for help in First Care Clinic.
  • Be there for her. Invite her to join you for coffee or to call you whenever she needs to talk to continue the conversation.
  • Keep the news to yourself. Don’t share the news with others. Keep her confidence unless there is a dangerous situation which should be reported.

Here’s how we can help:

  • Medical services
    • Pregnancy testing
    • Obstetrical ultrasound
    • STI testing and treatment for women
  • Education and support
    • Evidence-based medical education about pregnancy options
    • Pregnancy, childbirth and parenting education
    • Support for men from men
    • Healthy relationships education
    • A listening ear and ongoing support
  • Residential maternity program, The Elizabeth House

We offer all of our services confidentially and free of charge.

Don’t keep First Care Clinic a secret! If you know a young woman or man who might be making a pregnancy decision, listen, be there and spread the word that there is help available!

Wondering How You Can Afford a Child?

Raising a child comes with expenses and commitments. Trying to make your budget work to care for a new baby can be a challenge. But there are ways to make it work — even if money is tight.

Here are 7 ways to save money that can help you make ends meet with your growing family:

  1. Open a savings account if you don’t already have one. DO NOT attach your debit card to this account. You can still access the money if you need it for an emergency, but it’s not quite so convenient so it’s easier to save.
  2. Create a budget – and live by it. Plan to put something into your savings account every month, even if it’s only $10 or $20. Aim to save $1,000 for emergencies.
  3. When you have an emergency, don’t put it on your credit card. Instead, use money you have saved.
  4. Limit the number of times you eat out every month. It’s amazing how much money you can save by buying food at the grocery store and cooking your own meals. These meals can be simple and don’t need to take a lot of time. Eating at home for most meals is one of the easiest ways to save a lot of money quickly. When you go to the grocery store, have your shopping list and stick to it. Be sure you’ve eaten before you go shopping so you’re less tempted to pick up extra items because you’re ready for a snack.
  5. Understand the difference between your needs and your wants. Keep this in mind when you make your budget and when you go shopping. Be sure to reserve money for rent, utilities, food and diapers. Don’t buy that adorable baby outfit, pick up that cute pair of shoes or get your hair done unless you have all that you and your baby need taken care of first.
  6. Be aware of your credit score. Run your own credit rating and see what it says. Look for debts that are not yours and file a fraud claim if needed. (The collection agency will walk you through how to do this.)
  7. Accept the resources that are available to you such as WIC, Foodshare or local food pantries. There is no shame in making use of community resources. Consider ways you can also give back to your community, especially as your resources grow.

Saving money to raise a child on a budget may mean making some short-term sacrifices. However, the benefits in the long run are invaluable:

  1. Your budget frees you to spend money where you have already decided you want to spend it. It’s a spending plan. Don’t be afraid to spend what you’ve already budgeted.
  2. When you live within your budget and save a little money each month you will become financially stable. Then you will be able to provide for yourself and your baby.
  3. Being aware of your credit score, getting rid of fraudulent debts and paying your bills on time will make your life easier. It will be easier for you to get an apartment or a home in the future and to handle life’s emergencies.

Parenting, Abortion and What?

Adoption Options and 3 Myths You Should Know — 

Adoption is not for everyone. In fact, fewer than 2% of unmarried women facing an unintended pregnancy choose to make an adoption plan. Contrary to popular opinion, most women who make an adoption plan are in their mid to late 20s or older.

Adoption is never an easy choice. But then, neither is abortion. And parenting can be a difficult choice as well. Especially when life is challenging and resources are scarce.

When making a decision about a pregnancy, a woman has those three choices:

  • Adoption
  • Abortion
  • Parenting

We often talk about abortion and about parenting. Adoption can feel like the forgotten option.

It takes a lot of courage and strength to choose to make an adoption plan. Carrying a child for nine months and then placing him/her for adoption is hard. And there are considerations to be made regarding the father of the baby, who also has legal parental rights.

Fortunately, there are now many options for adoption. An adoption can be closed or open or semi-open. It can include correspondence, regular get togethers or no contact between the birth mom or dad and the child. Birth moms and dads may send birthday cards and gifts. They may communicate via email or Skype or meet in person. Or they may choose to live life separately and possibly reconnect down the road.

In a closed adoption, there is no contact or communication between the birth parents and the adoptive parents and child. Decades ago, nearly all adoptions were closed. But that has changed.

An open adoption involves contact, communication and/or information sharing. Biological and adoptive families share varying degrees of personal information. The type, directness and frequency of contact varies a lot. A semi-open adoption allows for interaction between the families. With a semi-open adoption, the interaction is usually facilitated by a third party such as an attorney or the adoption agency.

A study by the National Institutes of Health indicated that open adoptions “are more likely to result in positive relationships across birth and adoptive family members.”

Contact between adoptive and birth families is becoming more common across all types of adoption. Social media and new technologies are accelerating this interaction. More than 9 out of every 10 women who choose adoption request some form of contact with the adoptive parents.

There are many myths about adoption that are very pervasive in our society. Some of those are about the birth mother. If you’re pregnant, these myths could affect your decision or the thoughts of those around you.

Three myths about adoption and the facts you should know:

  1. Myth: The birth mother didn’t love her baby and is abandoning him or her.
    1. Fact: The truth is exactly the opposite. When a woman places her child for adoption, she is choosing what she believes is in the best interest of her child. Rather than “abandoning” an unloved child, she is recognizing her current situation. She wants a “better life” for her child than she can currently provide. It is a loving, brave and self-less choice.
    2. Fact: Further, 90 percent of adopted children ages 5 and older have positive feelings about their adoption. Most adopted children appreciate the selfless decision their birth parents made for them, and love them for it.
  2. Myth: Birth mothers will experience unresolved grief for the rest of their lives.
    1. Fact: Birth mothers are no more likely to suffer negative psychological consequences, such as depression, than are mothers who rear children as single parents.
    2. Fact: Birth mothers in the NIH study experienced less unresolved grief with open adoptions.
  3. Myth: Adopted children are not loved as much as biological children.
    1. Fact: An adopted child can be loved by both his/her adoptive parents and his birthmother or birth parents.
    2. Fact: Adoptive parents can love an adopted child as fully and selflessly as biological parents. They provide a loving, stable and nurturing environment. Many adoptive parents have longed for a child for a long time. Or they enjoy parenting so much that they want to grow their family through the miracle of adoption.
    3. Fact: Nearly 3 out of every 4 adopted children ages 0-5 are read to or sang to every day. Only half of non-adopted children receive this same attention from their parents.
    4. Fact: Most birth mothers welcome contact with their placed children. According to the NIH study, “80% of the birth mothers felt positively about being contacted. While 5% felt neutral, 15% felt ambivalent, and none felt negatively about a child-initiated search.”

If someone you know is facing an unintended pregnancy, she may or may not be considering adoption. If she talks about adoption, keep in mind the common myths and the facts about adoption. Be a supportive friend. And if she asks, share this information with her too.