Your period is late and you are wondering if you are pregnant. The best thing to do is to take a pregnancy test and find out. If you think you are pregnant you may also be asking yourself if this is a good thing for you at this time in your life. The Calgary Sexual Health Centre offers information and support to folks who want to access information on all of their options (adoption, parenting and abortion) when making a decision about their pregnancy.

Signs of Pregnancy

If you think that you may be pregnant here are some pregnancy symptoms you may experience. Remember these symptoms may vary. You may experience some, all or none of these symptoms. Some of these symptoms might be present for reasons other than pregnancy, i.e. flu, stress or bladder infection. That’s why it’s important to do a pregnancy test to find out for sure.



Missing a period

A missed period is usually the first sign of pregnancy but some people continue to have light periods even when they are pregnant. If your period is late or if you have only light spotting at the time your period is due, continue using birth control, and take a pregnancy test


Some pregnant folks feel nauseated in the morning, but so-called “morning sickness” can happen at any time of the day. Some people have no nausea at all


Bladder pressure and more frequent urination

As the size of the uterus increases it puts pressure on the bladder which makes you pee more often

Fatigue, dizziness or sleepiness

You may feel more tired than usual


Breast tenderness


Some breasts get bigger and feel sore or tender. Some feel a “tingling” sensation or a feeling of tightness in the breasts. Nipples may become very sensitive. You may begin to notice this as soon as two weeks after conception

Breast enlargement

Breasts may enlarge with pregnancy and there is often a darkening and enlargement of the areola (darker area around the nipple)

Secretions from the nipples


Colostrum, a sticky, yellowish, watery fluid formed by the breasts before actual milk is produced, may begin to appear as early as the 11th week of pregnancy

If you think you might be pregnant, it is a good idea to have a pregnancy test, whether or not you wish to continue the pregnancy

How to Get a Pregnancy Test

You can take a urine test about 3-5 days after a missed period. To get the most accurate results, use the pregnancy test the first time you pee in the morning. There is also a blood test available from a doctor. The blood test can detect a pregnancy as early as 10 to 14 days after conception.

If your pregnancy test result is negative, wait a week and repeat the test. The test could show a negative result if you are too early in the pregnancy or the urine was not concentrated or strong enough.

You can buy home pregnancy tests at any drug store and most grocery stores. They are also available free from the Calgary Sexual Health Centre, Family Planning Clinics, walk-in clinics or your family doctor. If you have difficulties interpreting the results of a home pregnancy test call any of the services listed on the resource page for more information.

Options – Deciding What to Do

Finding out you are pregnant is a big deal and it is completely normal to feel a wide range of emotions. Deciding what to do can be stressful as it is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. It is your choice but you don’t have to go through the decision making process alone. The Calgary Sexual Health Centre has counselors available to give you unbiased information and offer their support. Whether or not you seek support at this time, remember that you are the only person who can decide what choice is best for you. No one has the right to try to pressure or force you into parenthood, adoption or abortion against your wishes.

Deciding what to do may require careful thought and consideration. The following questions can help you consider some important issues in making your decision. There are no right and wrong answers to these questions. Your answers may help you in deciding whether you want to become a parent, make an adoption plan or end the pregnancy.

Talk about your feelings with a family member, partner or a friend; or call us at 403-283-5580 to book an appointment with one of our counsellors.

  • How do you feel about becoming pregnant at this point in your life?What feelings have you had about parenting, adoption and abortion? Have those feelings changed now that you are pregnant?
  • What are your current and future plans? How will they be affected by each of the options?
  • What is your financial situation? How would it be affected by each of the three options?
  • What are your educational and career goals? How will they be affected by each of the three options?
  • Do you have any religious or moral beliefs that affect your decision-making?
  • Do you feel like you want or need to tell someone that you are pregnant? What would be the advantages or disadvantages of sharing this information?
  • If you have a partner, how does a pregnancy impact your relationship? How supportive will your partner be of your decision?
  • What role would the support or opinions of family and friends play in your decision making process
  • Imagine yourself a year from now, first as a parent, then after making an adoption plan, and finally having had an abortion. What do you think will be the pros and cons of your life in each of those three situations?
  • How much information do you have about each of the three pregnancy options? What information would you need to make a decision?
  • Do you know about resources that are available to you in the community, such as financial, legal and counselling support?

Making a decision as early in the pregnancy as you can means:

  • You can begin good prenatal care as soon as possible such as eating well, taking vitamins, avoiding alcohol and drugs and accessing medical care
  • You can begin to make an adoption plan by contacting an adoption agency of your choice.
  • You can access abortion services, if that is your choice. Abortion is a safe medical procedure that is most often done in the first trimester but is available up to 20 weeks from the date of your last period (LMP) in Calgary. but usually available up to 20 weeks. Medical risks increase with length of pregnancy.

The Parenting Choice

Parenting can be a positive choice for anyone who feels prepared to take on this role. It is important to consider that the choice of parenting will affect every aspect of your life, from your present social and economic lifestyle to your future goals. Parenting is a lifelong commitment that requires plenty of energy, patience and love.

You may find it helpful to ask yourself some questions about parenting and your ability to be a parent right now. The following self-questionnaire brings up some of the many issues involved in parenting. There is no right or wrong answers — the questions are meant to help you make a decision that will be right for you.

  1. How did I feel about parenting before I became pregnant?
  2. Have those views changed now that I am pregnant?
  3. What do I want out of life for myself? How will parenting affect my own growth, development and goals?
  4. Am I financially able to raise a child at this time?
  5. When I think about being a parent a year from now, what does this vision look like? How close to that vision am I at this time? How close to that parenting ideal do I have to be to choose to parent?
  6. Do I feel like I am ready to parent at this time?
  7. Am I feeling pressured to keep and parent a baby at this time?
  8. What sort of support do I feel I need to parent successfully? Does that support exist in my life right now?
  9. What would make this the best choice for me?

Think about your answers and what they mean to you. You may want to discuss your answers with a family member, your partner, a friend or a counselor.

If you wish to continue the pregnancy it is a good idea to get medical, nutritional and emotional support as soon as you can. This is important both for your own health and the health of the pregnancy. If parenting is an option for you and you would like more support in this area, please refer to the Resource Section below.

Taking Care of Yourself During Pregnancy

It’s a good idea to take care of yourself all the time but it is especially important when you are pregnant. During pregnancy you need extra care and attention because your body is doing some incredible work. Not only is it physically demanding to be pregnant, it can be emotionally taxing as well. Take care of yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for what you need from others. It is perfectly okay to eat more, sleep more, cry more, laugh more, forget things, make noises you never did before and gain weight. Some seem to glow when they are pregnant and others get acne. All that matters is that you love yourself and respect the changes your body is undergoing.

A healthy baby starts with a healthy mother. Here are some basic tips about taking care of oneself during pregnancy:


  • Eat enough good food — this means eating fruits, vegetables, cereals, breads, beans, rice, and dairy products, as well as fish, meat, and poultry. Following Canada’s Food Guide is a good idea.
  • Stay active and get regular exercise.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Do not smoke, or cut back as much as you can. If you feel that you cannot stop smoking, there are organizations who can help you quit.
  • Do not drink alcohol, or drink as little as possible. If you feel that you cannot stop drinking, there are people who can help you quit.
  • Limit drinks with caffeine, like coffee and cola.
  • Do not eat junk food.
  • Take prenatal vitamins with folic acid.
  • Do not take any drugs or medications – not even aspirin – without checking with your health care provider.
  • Do not use saunas whirlpools or hot tubs as heat over 102 degrees farenheit can harm the fetus.
  • Try not to worry.
  • Laugh at least twice a day.
  • Get a massage (a friend, family member or your partner can do this for you).
  • Remind yourself what a fantastic person you are.


  • Do not drink alcohol. Alcohol can harm the basic development of the fetus – changing its appearance, and affecting its brain development in a way that could cause learning disabilities and other complications. If you feel that you cannot stop drinking, there are organizations that can help you quit.
  • Do not take non-prescription drugs, or keep them to a minimum. If you feel that you cannot stop taking non-prescription or street drugs and want to stop, there are organizations that can help you quit.
  • Do not take any medications — even aspirin — without checking with your health care provider.
  • Do not smoke.If you feel that you cannot stop smoking and want to, there are organizations that can help you quit. Quitting ‘cold turkey’ or right away, does not harm the pregnancy in any way
  • Do not use saunas whirlpools or hot tubs. Heat over 102 degrees Fahrenheit can harm the fetus.

For more information about how to have a healthy pregnancy see:

Health Canada’s Sensible Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy

Government of Alberta Health and Wellness – Health Eating and Active Living for Pregnancy

Sexual Intercourse During Pregnancy

Sexual intercourse can be enjoyed throughout pregnancy. In fact, some people find sex even better because they can relax and not worry about getting pregnant! Sexual intercourse should be avoided if:

  • You have a history of miscarriages.
  • You have a history of premature labour.
  • Your water has broken.
  • Labor has begun.
  • There is pain.
  • You cannot find a comfortable position.
  • You are in the final three months of your pregnancy and your partner has herpes.

Even though you are not worried about an unplanned pregnancy, it is still a good idea to wear a condom to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections (STI). Some STIs, like chlamydia, can cause problems for the fetus while in the uterus or during birth. Chlamydia can cause blindness for a fetus undergoing a vaginal birth.

Tests During Pregnancy

During pregnancy your health practitioner may recommend tests to check the health of both you and your fetus. Before you agree to any tests, discuss them with your partner, support people and your doctor or caregiver. Be sure you ask questions and understand:

  • why your health practitioner wants the tests done.
  • what information will be obtained.
  • what risks are involved, if any.

See Alberta Health Services Pregnancy Care website for more details regarding these tests.

The Adoption Choice

Adoption can be a good choice if you do not want to parent and you would like to continue the pregnancy. Making an adoption plan can be done at any time before or after the birth of your child. Although you may make an adoption plan prior to the child’s birth, legal documents cannot be signed until after the child’s birth.

Making an adoption plan can be emotionally difficult. You may wish to seek counseling for yourself, the birthfather (if involved). Calgary Sexual Health Centre and private adoption agencies offer counseling before birth. Private adoption agencies also offer counseling after birth and have no time limit- you can visit them for years after the adoption, if you so wish.

Since it may be a difficult decision emotionally to give a child up for adoption you may wish to seek counselling for yourself, the birthfather (if he is involved) and your family. Private adoption agencies offer counseling before and after the birth.

The following self-questionnaire may help you explore some of your values and feeling about adoption. You might also want to re-read the Options – Deciding What To Do section.

  • What were my views on adoption before I became pregnant?
  • Have these views changed since finding out about the pregnancy?
  • How would I feel about continuing the pregnancy and giving birth but not raising the child?
  • How would carrying the pregnancy to term impact my life?
  • How would making this choice impact my life in the long term?
  • Could I support myself and my child?
  • If I already have one or more children, how will having another impact our lives?
  • Do I need to postpone being a parent myself until later in my life when I am prepared to parent?
  • Could I help the child to have potential parents who are ready to be parents and can love and care for the child throughout his or her life?
  • Do I have the support I need to continue the pregnancy and make an adoption plan? What kind of support do I need to make an adoption plan?
  • How would the father feel about adoption?
  • Do I feel pressured in any way to make this choice?
  • What would make this the best choice for me?
  • What is the best choice to make for my child?
  • What type of adoption would work best for me?

If you wish to continue the pregnancy  and choose adoption it is a good idea to get medical, nutritional and emotional support as soon as you can. This is important both for your own health and the health of the pregnancy

Birthfather Rights

Under the Family Law Act (2005) both the birth mother and the birth father are equally considered to be legal guardians, regardless of their marital or common law status. Both parents are therefore required to sign consent forms prior to the placement of a child in an adoptive home.

If the birth father is not known or cannot be located, Alberta Children’s Services will be notified about the intention to place the child for adoption. The birthmother will have to sign an affidavit outlining why she does not know who the birthfather is. A lawyer must then go to Court on behalf of the adoptive parents to request an Order from the Court to dispense with the need for his consent. All legal costs are covered by the potential adoptive parents.

A birthfather does have the right to contest an adoption placement, though with counselling fathers are often supportive of the plan. In rare circumstances, such as abuse by the birthfather, the need to inform him may be waived.

Adoption in Alberta

There are three ways to place a child for adoption in Alberta: government adoption, private adoption or direct placement. Regulations governing all types of adoption are set by the provincial government and laws vary from province to province.

Government (closed) Adoption

A government adoption or “closed adoption” means the child is placed with a family through government social services. Such placements are “closed” adoptions because the birthparents and adoptive parents are not given identifying information about each other. This means the child does not know who his/her birthparents are while growing up.

There is no provision to provide updated medical information through this type of adoption. Birthmothers can receive basic non-identifying information about prospective adoptive parents and choose from these. Generally the child does not go to the adoptive family directly from the hospital, but may first be placed in a foster home for a few days.

Private (Open) Adoption

Many birthparents who choose adoption work with private adoption agencies. It is called an “open adoption” because there is an open exchange of information between the birthparents and adoptive parents and they negotiate conditions of further contact together. Licensed adoption agencies are licensed by the government to work in the area of adoption.

It is the parent(s) right to choose the agency she wishes to work with. Contacting an agency and going in to talk does not mean that a decision to place the child for adoption has necessarily been made. Many people choose to obtain information about adoption as part of their decision-making.

Through a licensed agency, the birth parents have the right to choose the adoptive family by looking at files, meeting the chosen family and having ongoing contact with the family before and after the placement of her child. The agreement for contact following the placement of the child is not considered legally binding; however, it is mentioned in the court documents. Agencies do consider such agreements to be ethically binding and the vast majority of open adoptions work very well for the child, the birthparent(s) and the adoptive parents.

The birth a birth parent has ten days after consent is signed to change their mind with respect to the adoption.

Direct Placement Adoption

A direct placement adoption means the birthparent(s) place(s) the child with a friend or relative. Generally it occurs when the birthparent(s) know(s) the adoptive parents.

Birthparents have the right to request a home assessment of adoptive parents to be considered in the adoptive process. Adoptive parents can file for adoption on their own with the assistance of a self help kit for direct adoption or go through a licensed agency or lawyer.

In a direct placement a birthparent still has ten days to change their mind from the time the consents are signed.

Click here  here ( ) to find out more about direct placement adoptions in Alberta.

Post Adoption Registry

In Alberta there is a registry where background information, including medical information given at the time of placement is maintained. Through this registry, adopted children who are over the age of 18 can reconnect with birthparents and adult birth siblings (adoptive parents can help children under the age of 18 with this).

As of January 1, 2005, the Alberta Government opened access to identifying information contained in adoption records which mean that birth parents and adoptees over the age of 18 can have access to identifying information about each other. Those parties who want their information to remain confidential must file a disclosure veto with Alberta’s Post Adoption Registry. This veto will prevent the release of any birth registration or adoption information identifying the person.

For more information see Alberta Children and Youth Services



Be careful when looking for information about pregnancy options and abortion. There are agencies and groups that strongly oppose abortion. They may claim to provide abortion counselling but do not support abortion as a choice and will not help with abortion referrals. Check carefully when you are calling for help and ask if the agency is pro-choice and will provide a referral to an abortion clinic.

The Abortion Choice

The option of abortion may be the right choice for you if you do not feel you can parent at this time in your life, you are not comfortable with adoption or you do not wish to be pregnant.

Some people think abortion is a choice that people only choose in certain situations, i.e. the person is young or doesn’t have the income to support a child. The truth is there isn’t one “type” of person who this choice is right for – just like there isn’t one “type” of parent. People of all ages could choose to have an abortion for many reasons. This decision belongs to the individual and you don’t need to justify it to anyone.

The main questions are “Is this the right time for me to have a child?” and “What are my beliefs about abortion?” The following self-questionnaire may help you explore some of your values and feelings about abortion. You might also want to re-read the Options — Deciding What To Do section.

1. What were my views on abortion before I became pregnant?

2. Have my views of abortion changed now that I am pregnant?

3. Do I have spiritual or moral beliefs that may impact my decision?

4. Do I have people in my life that would support me with an abortion choice? Do I feel I need other people to support my choice?

5. How do I think I might feel after an abortion?

6. Do I feel pressured to make this choice in any way?

7. How would making this choice impact my life both in the short and long term?

8. What would make this the best choice for me?

Think about your answers and what they mean to you. You may want to discuss your answers with a family member, your partner, a friend or a counselor.

For Men

Although it is a woman’s right to choose whether or not she will have an abortion, many men have feelings about abortion and wonder how best to support their partners through the procedure. How involved should I be? What should I do for her? How will this change our relationship? Is the unintended pregnancy my fault?

In general, the best thing you can do is be actively involved in the entire process. Talk about your feelings and listen to her without trying to resolve her feelings for her. Show initiative by educating yourself about abortion and be prepared to support your partner physically and emotionally. You can accompany your partner to the hospital or clinic and make sure she is well taken care of after the abortion procedure. Some men experience a lot of feelings before and after the abortion procedure. It can help to talk with your partner, but she may be dealing with her own feelings. If you want to speak with someone talk to someone you trust such as a sibling, good friend or parent, or contact us at 403-283-5580 email:

Accessing an Abortion

In Canada, abortion is legal. Access to abortion procedures varies from province to province. The large majority of abortions take place in the first trimester of pregnancy or up to 12 weeks from the date of her last period (LMP). In Calgary, a woman can access abortion until 20 weeks past the LMP. After 20 weeks, you will need to travel to Ontario or outside of the country. If you think you are past 20 weeks of pregnancy please call the Calgary Sexual Health Centre or Canadians for Choice.

Before abortions were legal in Canada, folks tried various methods to give themselves abortions or went to unqualified people. These “back-alley” abortions were very dangerous because they were often performed under inadequate and unsanitary conditions, and many women died from bleeding or infection. Today abortions are performed either at a hospital or a clinic by qualified doctors. It is a safe procedure with very few physical health risks.

Importance of a Test for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

If you are considering abortion, it is wise to be checked for sexually transmitted infections (STI) before having the procedure. Abortion involves dilating or opening the cervix and if an STI is present, it could move up into the uterus. This may cause more serious complications like infection or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). STIs can be present with few or no symptoms so you may not be aware you are infected.

STI tests are available at STI Clinics, your doctor’s office and at many health units. Because individual clinics may require other tests before the procedure, and may offer some tests at the time of the procedure, you may want to inquire about testing beforehand.


Consent for an abortion in Alberta is based on a person’s capacity to understand the procedure. There is no age limit for access to abortion. If the doctor or clinic staff feels you understand the procedure and its risks, you may sign your own consent form.

It’s a good idea for young people to talk with their parents prior to the procedure if they are able to. Most often parents are sympathetic and supportive and feel glad that their daughter came to talk to them. A counsellor can help you plan the conversation.

If you are reluctant to talk with a parent, you do not have to. You may want to think about bringing a partner, friend or other family member for support. People 12 or younger who don’t have a supportive parent they are communicating with will be connected with a community social worker for support.

Abortion Methods

Surgical Abortion

Vacuum aspiration is the most common and safest abortion procedure. It is performed up to 20 weeks from the first day of your last period (LMP).

A surgical abortion will take between 10 to 15 minutes. A doctor will start an intravenous (I.V.) with a small needle in the arm or hand and give some medication to make her feel sleepy and relaxed. You will be drowsy but not completely asleep during the procedure. Once these drugs have taken effect, the doctor will put some freezing in the cervix and gently dilate (open) the cervix.

There are two methods that are used to dilate a cervix: rod dilation and laminaria dilation.

1. Rod dilation is early in the pregnancy, generally 13 weeks and under. Just prior to the abortion, tapered metal rods are inserted into the vagina and used to gradually open the cervix.

2. Laminaria dilation is used for later term abortions. This will require two visits to the clinic or hospital. A laminaria (it looks like a small stick) is inserted in the cervix usually the day before the procedure. The laminaria absorbs moisture in the body and gently opens the cervix. You return to the clinic the next day for the procedure.

Once the cervix is opened the doctor will then insert a small tube to gently remove the contents of the uterus (womb). You may notice a feeling of pressure and some cramps in her lower abdomen. Most do not feel any pain at all. Afterwards, most people do not remember very much about the procedure because they will be very drowsy from the medication.

Medical Abortion

If your pregnancy is 7 weeks or less, counting from the first day of your last normal menstrual period, you may wish to consider a medical or medication abortion. Medication abortion is done using a combination of medications, together called Mifegymiso.

Before you receive the medication you will receive an ultrasound to confirm you are no more than 7 weeks (49 days) pregnant. If you are eligible for a medication abortion, you will meet with our counsellor to discuss the procedure in detail. You will then meet with the physician who will take your medical history and start the treatment.  It is essential that you are able to return to the clinic for a follow-up ultrasound or go to a laboratory for a blood test that will determine if the abortion is complete. You must also be willing to have a uterine aspiration procedure (D&C) if the medication fails to end the pregnancy, as there is some evidence that the medications can cause fetal damage.

Day 1: You will take the first medication, mifepristone, in the clinic. Mifepristone will destabilize the lining of your uterus and end the pregnancy. Once you take this medication these effects are not reversible. You will be given the misoprostol tablets to take home with you along with other medications to help you with possible side effects. You will be given an appointment to return to the clinic for an ultrasound in 10-14 days or a requisition to have a laboratory test to determine if your pregnancy has ended.

Day 2-3: You will insert the misoprostol tablets into your vagina or into the cheeks of your mouth. You may choose the time of day you take the misoprostol, but be aware that you will start to bleed within 1-4 hours. As you can expect to have heavy bleeding and strong cramping you should choose a time when you are able to stay home for the rest of the day. The bleeding and cramping may continue for several hours. After that, lighter bleeding may continue off and on for 1-2 weeks or more.

Day 7-14: You will either return to the clinic for an ultrasound or go to a lab for a blood test to determine if your pregnancy has ended. If it is determined that the abortion is complete, then no further treatment or appointments are necessary. There is a 2% failure rate with these medications and if they have failed to induce an abortion it is recommended you return for a uterine aspiration to complete the procedure as the medications are known to cause fetal damage..

Side Effects: Most women will need pain medications such as ibuprofen and Tylenol to help with the pain associated with medication abortion. Heavy bleeding resulting in soaking 1-2 large pads every hour may occur for several hours. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills, headaches and fatigue are common side effects of the medications. Some women will find these side effects can be intense. If you are unsure you are can manage these symptoms at home, you should choose an aspiration abortion instead.

Medication Abortion vs Aspiration Abortion

There are pros and cons to each type of procedure. You are at home for a medical abortion so this may seem more private or feel more natural to you. As well, you can choose to have someone with you or you can be alone if you prefer. You also avoid shots, anaesthesia or instruments in your body.

On the other hand, an aspiration abortion is over in a few minutes, can be done later in the pregnancy and medical staff are with you during the abortion. However, the provider will put instruments inside the uterus and you will be given anaesthetics and other pain medications which may cause side effects. You must have someone to drive you home as you will be legally impaired by the medications.

Although there is bleeding and cramping with both aspiration and medication abortions, bleeding and cramping will be more intense and of greater duration with a medication abortion. Please consider carefully which type of procedure best suits you. Our staff will be happy to assist you and answer your questions and concerns before you make your appointment. However, if you book for a medical abortion and change your mind and decide you would prefer an aspiration abortion when you get to the clinic, you will have to rebook an appointment on another day.

Source: Kensington Clinic Website

Before You Leave the Clinic

When the abortion is done, a client can expect to remain at the clinic for about 30 to 45 minutes until the effects of the drugs wear off. You can expect to be at the clinic for 2 to 3 hours in total for the procedure. A nurse will check blood pressure and give her something small to eat and drink. As soon as you feel well you can go home. It is important to arrange a ride home from the clinic (either from a support person or a taxi). DO NOT drive yourself home; the drugs from the procedure may affect your ability to drive for up to 24 hours following the procedure.

What to Expect After the Procedure

Some clients feel light-headed and tired on the day of the abortion.

Signs of pregnancy (such as nausea or breast tenderness) should stop within about 4 to 5 days.

You can expect to have vaginal bleeding similar to a period for about one week. Small blood clots may also be passed. Use sanitary pads until bleeding stops. Avoid using tampons as this can lead to an infection.

Some people experience abdominal cramps. Medicine such as an acetaminophen or an ibuprofen product can be taken to alleviate any discomfort.

Because of the medication given during the procedure, judgment and memory may be affected for up to 24 hours. Do not drive for 24 hours.

Most people feel well enough to go back to work or school the next day. It is recommended that people try to avoid strenuous exercise for a few days and try to get lots of rest.

You can shower or bath after the procedure. It is recommended to use plain soap, not bubble bath and do not douche as this could lead to infection.

To avoid an increased risk of infection and to give the body time to heal, avoid having sexual intercourse for three weeks after the abortion.

A check-up should be arranged with a doctor 2 weeks after the abortion.

You can expect to get their next normal period in about 4 to 6 weeks.

A pregnancy test may remain positive for about 2-4 weeks after an abortion while the body readjusts.

Although surgical abortion is a safe and relatively short procedure, it can be stressful and emotionally draining. Some people have lots of support while others keep the abortion very private. Regardless of your circumstances, we suggest you take some time to rest and take care of yourself after having an abortion.

Potential Risks

Abortion is a very safe procedure, but all medical procedures have some risk. The most common problems are hemorrhaging (bleeding), infection and drug side effects. This happens to fewer than 1 in 100 women.

Warning Signs

If someone experiences any one or more of the following symptoms within a few days of an abortion, you should call the clinic where she had the abortion performed, a doctor or go to an emergency department.

Fever over 37.8 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit).

Pain in your abdomen that is worse than period cramps.

Bleeding heavier than a normal menstrual period (i.e.: soaking a large pad in less than one hour).

Discharge from the vagina that smells bad.

Prolonged signs of pregnancy such as continuing sore breasts or nausea.

No period after 6 — 8 weeks

Birth Control

It is possible to get pregnant soon after an abortion. It is wise to plan for birth control and have the supplies needed before having intercourse again. If you plan to start using birth control pills, you should take her first pill the day after the abortion. Condoms are also recommended to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Your Feelings

People generally have a lot of different feelings both before and after an abortion. You might feel sad, relieved, angry, happy or all of these feelings at once. It is important to honor your feelings and acknowledge them. They are normal. It also helps to realize that after an abortion, the body’s hormones are rapidly adjusting to the new reality of non-pregnancy. If you would like to talk about your feelings, speak to someone you trust, or contact us at 403-283-5580 or email:


Abortion is used as a method of birth control

This is not true. The factors influencing a decision to have an abortion are complex and it is a decision that is not made lightly. In countries like the Netherlands where contraceptives and abortions are both readily accessible, the abortion rate is very low due to extensive use of contraceptives confirming the fact that abortion is only used as a last resort.

If a woman has sex she has to pay the consequences

This statement is really saying that motherhood is punishment for having sexual intercourse. Forcing a child to be born in order to punish its mother devalues both childhood and motherhood. This statement places guilt on a woman when compassion is needed.

Abortion causes psychological problems

There is no evidence to support the existence of a ‘post abortion syndrome’. People who have had an abortion don’t experience any more psychological difficulties than those who carry an unwanted pregnancy to term. Many negative feelings are related to an unwanted pregnancy. An abortion can bring negative feelings as well, but usually brings feelings of relief. People  who choose an abortion and are denied one or are pressured to carry the pregnancy to term have a greater risk of psychological problems. Calgary Sexual Health Centre provides post abortion counseling services for those who are experiencing psychological difficulties following the procedure.

Abortion increases the risk of breast cancer

The Canadian Cancer Society reports that abortion is NOT associated with an increase in breast cancer risk.  Click here for more information.

Abortion increases the risk of infertility

Abortion is now a safe medical procedure that poses no risk of infertility, future miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.  There was a far greater risk of infertility when the procedure was not legal or safe.

Unwanted children can become wanted

This is true in some cases but unfortunately not all. Parenthood should be a choice.

Adoption is preferable to abortion

This is a personal choice. Some choose adoption but many more choose single parenthood. It is not fair to demand that someone choose adoption.

Abortion is killing an unborn child

The Canadian Medical Association and the Supreme Court of Canada support the difference between the “potential” life of an embryo and personhood that begins at birth. An embryo does have the potential to become a person, but it is not a person yet. There is a legally recognized distinction between an unborn fetus and a baby.

Abortion is available for up to 9 months

According to Statistics Canada 90% of abortions in 2003 were performed in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy with only 0 .7% performed after 20 weeks. Of those abortions performed after 20 weeks, most would have been for fatal or serious birth defects in the fetus.

For more information about abortion see Canadians for Choice, the Pro-Choice Action Network or Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada

Resources for Pregnancy Tests

Calgary Sexual Health Centre

304, 301 14 Street NW
Calgary, AB
Phone: 403-283-5580 TTY: 403-283-5541

Free pregnancy tests available during office hours:
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm


Alberta Health Services
Sexual and Reproductive Health Clinics

Downtown: 1213- 4th St SW Sheldon Chumir Health Centre

Phone: 403-955-6500

Mon-Thurs 1-5:15pm
Fri-Sat: 12:00pm-3:30pm


Sunridge Clinic

406, 2675-36 St N.E.

Phone: (403) 944-7666

Mon to Thurs: 1 – 5:15 p.m.
Fri: 12 – 3:30 p.m.


South Clinic

31 Sunpark Plaza S.E.

Phone: (403) 943-9510

Mon: 1 – 5:15 p.m.
Tues: 4 – 7:30 p.m.
Fri: 1 – 3:30 p.m.



4715- 8 Ave SE

Phone 403.955.1431

Tue and Thurs 12:00pm-4:30pm


Pregnancy and Parenting Resources

If parenting is an option for you and you would like more support please check out the resources listed or call Calgary Sexual Health Centre for information, support and referrals.

Family Physicians:

If you need a family doctor, please register online:

The following have lists of doctors in the Calgary area who are accepting new patients.


Calgary Phone: 403- 943-LINK (5465) or Toll-Free 1-866-408-LINK (5465)

Midwifery and Birth Centres

If you are looking for a midwife for your birth, please contact

The Alberta Association of Midwives:

Prenatal and Postnatal Classes

Child Birth and Parenting Education

Health Link Alberta – 1-866-408-LINK (5465)


Alberta Breastfeeding Committee

Alberta Medical Association

Alberta Breast Feeding Support Services Directory



To find out more about government adoptions visit:

Calgary and Area Child & Family Services Authority
Alberta Government Local Adoption Office Intake
Municipality / First Nations Reserve: Calgary

Region #: 3 – Calgary and Area
Calgary and Area  Child and Family Services Authority

#300, 1240 Kensington Road NW
Calgary , Alberta   T2N 3P7

Telephone: 403-297-6100
Fax: 403-297-7214


Municipality / First Nations Reserve: Edmonton
Region #: 6 – Edmonton and Area
Edmonton and Area  Child and Family Services Authority

6th Floor Oxbridge Place
9820 – 106 Street
Edmonton , Alberta T5K 2J6

Telephone: 780-427-2250
Fax: 780-427-0601



The following are licensed private adoption agencies in the province of Alberta:

Adoption By Choice

Calgary Phone: 403-245-8854
Edmonton Phone: 780-448-1159


Adoption Options

Calgary Phone: 403- 270-8228
Edmonton Phone: 780-447-4763


Abortion Providers

Kensington Clinic

2431 – 5 Avenue N.W., Calgary, AB T2N 0T3

Calgary Phone: 403-283-9117

Medical abortions up to 7 weeks; surgical abortions up to 20 weeks; pre-abortion counseling


Peter Lougheed Centre Women’s Health Clinic

3500 26 Avenue N.E.

Calgary Phone: 403-943-5716

Surgical abortions up to 20 weeks


Post-Abortion Counselling

Calgary Sexual Health Centre

304, 301 14 Street NW, Calgary, AB T2N 2A1

Calgary Phone: 403-283-5580


Kensington Clinic

2431 – 5 Avenue N.W., Calgary, AB T2N 0T3

Calgary Phone: 403-283-9117