why free pregnancy testing

3 Reasons to Get Free Pregnancy Testing

If you think you might be pregnant, you’re probably wondering about the next steps. Even if you haven’t yet missed a period, Care Net Pregnancy Centers of Albuquerque can validate your pregnancy status with our free pregnancy testing service.

With four convenient locations in and around Albuquerque, we make it easy to book an appointment to get tested. Walk-ins also are welcome at any of our sites, including our medical mobile unit.

How can you tell if you’re pregnant?

There are many signs that can point to pregnancy. Although women can experience different symptoms of pregnancy, some early warning signs are common. If you’re having any of the following symptoms, it’s worth exploring whether you’re pregnant.

  • A missed period can be one of the first indicators to alert you to a possible pregnancy.
  • Frequent urination happens in the early stages of pregnancy as your body ramps up production of the pregnancy hormones progesterone and human chorionic gonadotropin.
  • Fatigue can signal your body’s hormonal changes to support an early pregnancy.
  • Nausea and vomiting can happen anytime during your pregnancy but are most likely during the first trimester.
  • Tender breasts are another sign your hormones are fluctuating in early pregnancy.

There are some other less common symptoms that you might experience. Women unfamiliar with these as signs of pregnancy can overlook them.

  • Bloating.
  • Changes in mood.
  • Changes in the skin.
  • Food cravings.
  • Headaches and dizziness.
  • Light bleeding, spotting, or period-like cramping.
  • Metallic taste.

What are 3 reasons to get free pregnancy testing?

The symptoms of pregnancy can be linked to other illnesses. It’s important to confirm your intuition that you’re pregnant. If you discover you’re not pregnant after free pregnancy testing with Care Net, then you should schedule a follow-up appointment with your primary care doctor to explore other reasons for your condition.

Once pregnancy is confirmed, you’ll need to make an appointment with your doctor so you can get started taking prenatal vitamins and following other recommended regimens for a healthy pregnancy. 

free pregnancy testing confirming pregnancy
Confirming your home pregnancy test results is one of the many reasons why you should consider free pregnancy testing with Care Net.

Confirm your home test results

The first reason to get free pregnancy testing is to confirm you are, indeed, pregnant. While home pregnancy tests have come a long way and can be mostly accurate, they still don’t guarantee 100 percent accurate results.

Some home pregnancy tests differ in their ability to detect pregnancy in women who have recently missed a period. Other factors also can cause a false-negative or false-positive result.

False-positive results happen if you had a recent pregnancy loss or were taking a fertility drug containing HCG. They can also be caused by taking a home pregnancy test too early, testing with diluted urine, or not waiting the full period before reading the pregnancy test results.

An ectopic pregnancy, menopause, and ovary issues can produce incorrect pregnancy test results when testing at home. Care Net’s free pregnancy testing process uses hospital-grade kits to provide accurate results.

Explore your pregnancy options

Once your pregnancy is confirmed with a free pregnancy test, you can begin to explore your pregnancy options. Care Net’s knowledgeable staff can provide information about all your pregnancy options, including:

You can trust us to give you accurate details about each of your pregnancy options. While we do not refer or perform abortions, we do refer for adoption services, see our community referrals page for programs that can further assist you.

Provide proof of pregnancy

Whichever pregnancy option you choose, you must first have confirmation that you’re pregnant. It’s the first step toward getting pregnancy care from a medical professional who can guide you through the process associated with your pregnancy decision.

If you choose to work with an adoption agency, one of the primary requirements before they begin the placement process is to confirm your pregnancy. In addition to free pregnancy testing, adoption agencies might also request a free limited pregnancy ultrasound which can be done free of charge at one of our four locations.

free pregnancy testing adoption
Adoption is one of the pregnancy options you can choose once you confirm your pregnancy with free pregnancy testing.

What are my pregnancy options?

Sometimes a pregnancy confirmation is a joyous occasion – an awaited result of a planned pregnancy – with the soon-to-be parents anxious to raise their child. However, this is not always the case. A pregnancy confirmation might leave you surprised, worried, or wondering what to do next.

An adoption is a beautiful option. You can give others the opportunity to become parents when they haven’t been able to conceive on their own. Care Net can help you explore adoption, giving you the tools, resources, and guidance needed.

If you decide to explore parenting, we have pregnancy and parenting education resources that can help you prepare. Our parenting education classes and support groups make sure you’re up to the task of providing a healthy and safe environment for your baby.

Sometimes expectant parents decide abortion is the best choice for their situation. Care Net doesn’t provide or refer for abortion services. Our caring staff makes sure you have the most accurate and medically-sound information about abortion.

Where can you get free pregnancy testing?

Care Net is a safe place for women to confirm their pregnancies and explore their pregnancy options. We can provide free pregnancy testing and guidance in choosing the best pregnancy option for your situation.

Contact us today to begin your journey.

pregnancy ultrasound

Why You Need a Pregnancy Ultrasound

A pregnancy ultrasound can be an important part of your pregnancy. Whether your pregnancy was planned or unplanned, getting a pregnancy ultrasound can help you determine your next steps. Prenatal ultrasounds show you a picture of your baby as he or she is developing inside your womb. They can help your healthcare provider determine if you and your baby are both healthy.

If you’re on the fence about whether you should have one, read on to learn more about pregnancy ultrasounds and when you should consider requesting one.

What is a pregnancy ultrasound?

A pregnancy ultrasound, sometimes called a sonogram, uses sound waves to produce a picture of your developing baby. You also can use one to see your ovaries and uterus. Ultrasounds don’t use ionizing radiation, so they are perfectly safe for both your baby and you.

Some women get one ultrasound to confirm their pregnancy during the early part of the first trimester. Your doctor also might suggest having another one before 24 weeks of pregnancy to ensure the baby’s development is on schedule and that there are no other complications.

Standard pregnancy ultrasounds are what most women have, but there are more advanced options that provide 3-and-4-dimensional imaging for a more comprehensive examination of the fetus.

Who needs a pregnancy ultrasound?

Every woman should have at least one pregnancy ultrasound to confirm their pregnancy, especially if they’ve taken more than one pregnancy test and gotten different results. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women get at least one sonogram between weeks 18 and 22 to detect any genetic abnormalities or other issues that may require immediate intervention.

Sometimes, parents ask for a pregnancy ultrasound for non-medical reasons, such as to determine the gender of their baby. While sonograms are safe, most healthcare practitioners discourage their frequent use if there is no medical purpose for performing one.

A second pregnancy ultrasound may be recommended between 18 and 22 weeks to check on the health of the baby.

What happens during a sonogram?

Sonograms done early in your pregnancy must be done transvaginally because the fetus is only about 2 centimeters long and may not appear on a regular ultrasound. Your ultrasound technician takes extra precautions to ensure your health and safety and that of your developing baby during the procedure. While it can be a little bit uncomfortable, a transvaginal sonogram should never be painful.

You may be asked to have a full bladder during your pregnancy ultrasound. It can seem like a bad idea to have a full bladder, but it helps produce a better sonogram image because it puts your uterus in an ideal position.

During the first sonogram, you can expect your technician to be looking for the following information:

  • Confirmation of pregnancy.
  • Fetal heartbeat.
  • Fetal size.
  • Single or multiple pregnancies.
  • Viability of fetus.

If you have any questions before the ultrasound, be sure to ask your sonographer or other trusted healthcare provider. Some pregnancy ultrasound providers offer free counseling to expectant mothers before the procedure.

Should you get a genetic screening ultrasound?

Later in your pregnancy, your OBGYN may offer you a genetic screening pregnancy ultrasound. You’re not required to have it, but you may find the information useful. Here are some questions to ask yourself before deciding if you want to go through with genetic screening.

  • Do I have a family history of birth defects/disorders?
  • Would I terminate my pregnancy if there was a risk of a genetic disorder?
  • Would knowing about any genetic defects make it easier to prepare for parenting emotionally and physically?

There are no right or wrong answers to any of these questions. Talking them through with a trusted healthcare provider or pregnancy counselor can help you come to a resolution.

Where can you get a pregnancy ultrasound?

Care Net Pregnancy Centers of Albuquerque offers free limited pregnancy ultrasounds. Our team uses a pregnancy ultrasound to confirm your pregnancy 6 weeks from the first day of your last menstrual period. You can use our free limited ultrasound to determine gestational age and the viability of your pregnancy. We do not offer additional pregnancy ultrasounds during your pregnancy, but we can refer you to a healthcare provider that does.

You can share the pregnancy ultrasound we perform with your regular healthcare provider if you have questions or require additional care or services that we don’t provide at Care Net. To schedule your free limited pregnancy ultrasound, contact any of our convenient locations.

pregnancy options mental health

Pregnancy Options: Protecting Your Mental Health

Facing an unexpected pregnancy can leave you sorting through your pregnancy options. You might feel alone, confused, and overwhelmed throughout the process. Nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned, but that doesn’t make it any easier to navigate through the situation when it happens to you.

If you find yourself with a positive pregnancy test and unsure of your pregnancy options, Care Net Pregnancy Centers of Albuquerque can help. We offer free pregnancy testing, free STD/STI testing, and free limited pregnancy ultrasounds.

One of the things our staff emphasizes is protecting your mental health as you explore your pregnancy options. Here are some helpful suggestions for safeguarding your emotional health.

Don’t let your thoughts consume you

It’s perfectly normal to feel a bit panicked if you discover you’re pregnant. You may start thinking about all the things you have to do until your thoughts literally consume you. Negative thoughts about your pregnancy options can be the most difficult – but not impossible – to overcome.

Losing the judgment about your situation can help you clear your head and start down the path toward making the best decision for your pregnancy. Care Net can help. We never judge you, shame you, use scare tactics to force you into a pregnancy option that is not best for your situation.

If you find you’re struggling to control your negative thoughts, we can refer you to support groups and other community resources you may find helpful during this time.

Getting help from the right sources while you explore your pregnancy options can help safeguard your mental health and well-being.

Get help from the right sources

Dealing with stressful situations is just a part of life. An unplanned pregnancy is about as stressful as it gets for some women. If you find yourself stuck in panic mode, getting help from the right sources can make all the difference. That’s where Care Net comes in.

Our team of caring professionals helps you navigate through all your pregnancy options. We can discuss adoption, abortion, and parenting. We never try to sway your decision-making process. You can feel safe and secure exploring your pregnancy options with us, knowing we give you access to the most accurate and medically-sound information for each of your choices.

You can schedule an appointment or walk-in at any of our locations to get the help you need.

Never ignore physical symptoms

Your body is a great indicator of how you’re feeling emotionally. When you’re stressed out and trying to make an important decision about your pregnancy, your body might send you signals that you’ve become overwhelmed and need help. Here are some of the physical signs you should never ignore about your mental health:

  • You have difficulty sleeping. Consistently getting less sleep can be a sign you’re not handling your emotions or your stress well. It’s normal to be a bit restless while exploring your pregnancy options. However, if you’re struggling to get a restful night’s sleep continuously, it’s time to speak with your doctor.
  • You get sick when you eat. Nausea can be a normal part of pregnancy. It also can be a sign that you’re suffering emotional distress. The longer you go without proper nutrition, the more you hurt your health and well-being.
  • You get terrible headaches. Pregnancy hormones can trigger headaches, but so can emotional stress. If you’re having headaches that are interfering with your sleep or other daily living activities, it’s time to seek help.

These are just a few of the most common physical symptoms of emotional stress. Speaking with a counselor or other medical professional can help you sort out what’s normal and what requires immediate intervention.

Seek help when needed

One of the things we repeat often here at Care Net is that you’re not alone. You don’t have to go through an unplanned pregnancy by yourself. Our team is here to help you through every step of your journey. We’ll explore all your pregnancy options with you and support whatever decision you make.

Care Net Pregnancy Centers of Albuquerque is a no-judgment zone. You can share your fears and goals for your pregnancy. We’ll be right there helping you with the resources you need to make the right choice for your situation. Drop by any of our center locations or contact us online to set up an appointment with one of our team members.

options when pregnant test

What Are My Options When Pregnant?

Finding out you’re pregnant when you weren’t planning it can be terrifying and overwhelming. Knowing your options when pregnant can help calm your anxiety and help you cope with the decisions you must make moving forward. Whether you choose to keep your baby, place him or her for adoption, or have an abortion, requires careful consideration.

Any decision you make impacts you for the rest of your life. That’s why the compassionate staff at Care Net Pregnancy Centers of Albuquerque provides the guidance you need to make the right choice. You can make an appointment with one of our team members to discuss your options when pregnant. We never judge, only offer helpful advice and support.

Our team of advocates and licensed medical professionals provide information on the following options when pregnant:

Abortion clinics in Albuquerque

Care Net is not an abortion provider. We do not refer to abortion clinics in Albuquerque. However, our staff provides accurate, updated information about abortion if you determine that is how you wish to deal with an unplanned pregnancy. From pre-abortion care to post-abortion trauma therapy, we’re here for you every step of the way.

Services abortion clinics in Albuquerque offer

Most abortion clinics in Albuquerque offer chemical and surgical abortions. If you are less than 10 weeks pregnant, a chemical abortion using separate doses of Mifeprex and Mifepristone is usually recommended. You take the two medications 48 hours apart, then follow up with the abortion clinic or other healthcare provider.

If you decide to have a chemical abortion and change your mind before the second dose, our staff can provide you with information about the reverse abortion pill during your consultation with us.

A surgical abortion happens if you’re more than 10 weeks pregnant. There are several kinds of surgical abortion methods. Which one you receive depends on several factors, including how far along you are in your pregnancy.

Abortion costs and risks

How much an abortion costs depends on which kind you receive (chemical or surgical). Most insurance plans do not cover elective abortions. A 1998 ruling by the New Mexico Supreme Courts requires Medicaid to cover the costs of medically necessary abortion services.

While abortions are relatively safe, they are not entirely without risk. You may have a reaction to the anesthesia or develop blood clots or heavy bleeding after the procedure. Damage to the cervix and uterine wall also can happen.

Placing your baby for adoption with a loving family is one of your options when pregnant.

Placing your baby for adoption in Albuquerque

Another option when pregnant includes placing your baby for adoption with a loving family in Albuquerque. If adoption is a possibility for you, our staff can review how the process works. Care Net doesn’t provide adoption services, but we can refer you to community organizations that do.

If you realize you’re not ready for the responsibility of parenting, but having an abortion is not on your list of options, adoption can be a reasonable choice. Adoption agencies in Albuquerque offer different kinds of adoptions. You can find one that correlates with your preferences.

Open adoptions allow the birth mother and adoptive family to stay in touch. Semi-open adoptions give the birth mother the chance to meet the adoptive family before finalizing the adoption agreement. If you wish to maintain your privacy and anonymity, a closed adoption protects your confidentiality.

Parenting can be scary. That’s why we offer parenting education classes to help you prepare.

Becoming a parent

You may decide that even though your pregnancy was unplanned, you’d still like to become a parent. Parenting is a huge responsibility, chock full of challenges and uncertainties. Care Net helps you prepare with parenting education classes.  Our classes are free and include the following:

  • How to provide for your baby’s basic needs. Parenting skills aren’t inherent. They’re learned. Our parenting education programs teach you all about food, shelter, and protection and how to ensure your baby thrives from birth throughout childhood.
  • How to provide emotional support. Babies need more than food, shelter, and protection to thrive and survive. They also need love. Emotional support is a crucial component in a child’s mental health development. Learn the best tips for helping your child develop cooperation, self-control, and other social-emotional skills.
  • How to provide a safe environment. Babies are helpless. They need you to make sure they survive infancy. Part of keeping your baby safe means providing a secure environment.

Care Net for Options When Pregnant

Discussing all your options when pregnant helps you make the choice that’s right for you. Care Net’s staff never judges you or tries to guilt you into picking a solution that makes you uncomfortable. We’re here to listen and help, no matter what you decide. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation or to discuss the other services we provide.

proof of pregnancy

How to Get Proof of Pregnancy

Finding out you’re pregnant when it wasn’t in your plans can be a shock to women and their partners. Sometimes they receive the news with joy and begin planning their future as parents. Other times, they may decide they are not prepared to take on the responsibilities of parenthood and explore adoption. Regardless of which path you choose you may require proof of pregnancy for several reasons. A pregnancy verification form can be provided by a healthcare professional or pregnancy verification testing site as evidence of pregnancy. Care Net Pregnancy Center of Albuquerque offers free pregnancy testing and free limited pregnancy ultrasounds that can be used as part of the pregnancy verification process.

What are some reasons to have proof of pregnancy?

There are several reasons why you might need proof of pregnancy. One of the most important is to receive Medicaid healthcare insurance under the Centennial Care program. Like most states, New Mexico’s Medicaid program provides healthcare coverage to low-income pregnant women who meet the earnings threshold requirements.

Medicaid requires specific documentation at the time of application for services. Verification of pregnancy form is among them. Specific guidance on how the information must be presented accompanies the application instructions. Applicants must present their proof of pregnancy results on official letterhead from any doctor, midwife, nurse, or other approved pregnancy testing location.

Other government assistance programs may require proof of pregnancy beyond Medicaid. They include:

Another reason you might need proof of pregnancy is when working with an adoption agency. Birth mothers must submit to a series of screenings before an adoption agency agrees to help them find adoptive parents for their children. Along with medical history and drug testing, birth mothers may be asked to provide verification of their pregnancy. Sadly, there are scammers who try to take advantage of people who want to become adoptive parents. Most reputable adoption agencies require proof of pregnancy before agreeing to represent birth mothers in their search for adoptive parents.

Making an appointment with your doctor or a testing facility once you receive a positive home pregnancy test is the next step in getting proof of your pregnancy.

Steps to take to confirm pregnancy

Most pregnancy verification forms require three separate steps to confirm pregnancy. From employers to health insurance providers, this multi-layer process protects birth mothers by providing ample evidence of their pregnancies. Here is each step and how to perform it.

Step 1: Take a home pregnancy test

As soon as you miss your period and suspect you are pregnant, take a home pregnancy test. While a personal test alone is not sufficient evidence of your condition, it is the first step most doctors and other pregnancy testing facilities require before conducting more thorough exams and tests to confirm or refute pregnancy.

Step 2: Schedule an appointment

If you already have a trusted healthcare provider, they should be your first call after receiving a positive home pregnancy test. Making an appointment and receiving confirmation of the visit serves as further documentation of your pregnancy. If you don’t have an established relationship with a medical practitioner, you can visit any one of our Care Net Pregnancy Centers of Albuquerque sites or our medical mobile unit to receive free pregnancy testing.

Step 3: Get verified

Following your visit to a healthcare provider or another pregnancy testing center to confirm your pregnancy, ask for the pregnancy verification letter on official letterhead. Alternatively, you also can download a pregnancy verification form and ask the medical professional to sign it and include evidence of their credentials. Either is accepted by most places that require proof of pregnancy.

Scheduling an appointment with Care Net

Care Net Pregnancy Centers of Albuquerque makes it super easy to schedule your free pregnancy testing or free limited pregnancy ultrasound. You can call any of our five physical locations or our medical mobile unit to arrange to test. Contact information for each of our sites is available on our website. Our caring staff conducts confidential testing and provides the documentation you need to get the help necessary for supporting your pregnancy.

drugs while pregnant

The Risks of Drug Use During Pregnancy

Drug use during pregnancy comes with many risks, including the potential for birth defects among the most serious. Illicit drugs like cocaine, ecstasy, heroin and other hallucinogens can do damage to both the mother and the developing fetus. However, they are not the only drugs that pose a hazard. Alcohol and some over-the-counter medications can contribute to birth defects and other developmental issues. Women who are abusing drugs or alcohol when they become pregnant must seek immediate care to protect their health and well-being, and that of the baby.

How do drugs cause birth defects?

More than half of all pregnant women take prescription medication or nonprescription medications during pregnancy. Another 5 percent admit to using social drugs (like alcohol) and taking illicit drugs at some time during their pregnancies. Almost all drugs eventually cross the placenta, which makes taking any medications during pregnancy risky.

Drugs that can do the most damage to the fetus are those that cross the placenta. Scientists have determined the most likely drugs – prescription and illicit – to cross the placental barrier include the following characteristics:

  • They have a low molecular weight.
  • They are fat soluble.
  • They lack binding properties.

Anesthetics, narcotics, and steroids are among the prescription drugs which fit into this risk category. Alcohol and all illicit drugs easily pass the placental barrier.

What kind of drugs carries the most risk?

One of the most dangerous drugs for pregnant women is isotretinoin, sold under the brand name Accutane. A powerful drug used to treat acne, Accutane increases the chances of your baby being born with serious birth defects by 35 percent. The drug is closely monitored by the FDA and prescribing doctors to ensure women prescribed the medication do not continue use if they become pregnant.

Other prescription drugs that pose the highest threat to a developing baby include:

  • Anticonvulsants for controlling seizures (Depakote, Dilantin, Lamictal, Tegretol, Topamax).
  • Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.
  • Anti-nausea medications (Zofran).
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

The safety of some over-the-counter medications is unknown, making them risky to use during pregnancy. Clinical recommendations from the American Association of Family Physicians provide insight into which non-prescription drugs pose the most threat to a developing fetus.

All illegal drugs can cause serious harm to your baby. You must avoid them during pregnancy, or seek help if you have an addiction, to protect your health and that of the developing fetus.

Graphic courtesy Merck Manual for Gynecologic Professionals.

How drugs affect child development

Nonprescription, prescription, and illegal drugs can cause visible birth defects. They also can cause behavioral, emotional, and social disorders. Children born to mothers addicted to alcohol and other substances have higher rates of anxiety, depression, and oppositional behavior. Certain drugs, especially illicit substances, can impact the brain’s development in the womb, which can lead to later deficits in short-term and long-term cognitive functioning.

In addition to birth defects, the greatest risk of using drugs and alcohol during pregnancy is the chance of stillbirth. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the likelihood of stillbirth increases with the following:

  • Marijuana use – 1.8 to 2.8 percent increase.
  • Prescription pain medications – 2.2 percent increase.
  • Stimulant use – 2.2 percent increase.
  • Tobacco use – 2.3 percent increase.

Symptoms of drug withdrawal in newborns

Newborns subjected to drug or alcohol use while in utero can display signs and symptoms of withdrawal up to 14 days after birth. Some of the most common indicators include:

  • Abnormal sucking reflex.
  • Blotchy skin tone.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Excessive crying.
  • Fever.
  • Hyperactive reflexes.
  • Poor feeding.
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Seizures.
  • Sleep difficulties.
  • Sweating.
  • Trembling.
  • Vomiting.

These effects can be long-lasting, even when treated by medical professionals immediately after birth. Doctors can test babies to determine if they suffer from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). Testing can reveal the severity of withdrawal symptoms, which are used to determine the best course of treatment. Babies may require medication to treat severe withdrawal symptoms, plus fluids to keep them from becoming dehydrated.

Risks with using drugs during breastfeeding

The risk for developmental delays and other harm does not end once the baby is born. Mothers who plan to breastfeed can pass along drugs and alcohol in their breastmilk. Some substances pass through your milk at higher levels than others. Premature babies, newborns, and babies born with poorly functioning kidneys are most at risk for complications of drugs or alcohol in their mother’s breastmilk. Some prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs are safe to take while breastfeeding. Your medical provider can offer guidance.

Help for pregnant mothers using drugs or alcohol

Care net Pregnancy Centers of Albuquerque offers free pregnancy testing and free limited pregnancy ultrasounds to pregnant women struggling with addiction. All appointments and testing are confidential. Our staff can refer pregnant women to community resources to help them overcome addiction during pregnancy. Contact us today to schedule your free and private consultation at one of our convenient locations.

sexual abuse pregnancy

Sexually Abused and Pregnant? We Can Help.

Sexual abuse victims who become pregnant have some tough choices ahead of them. For some women, the thought of giving birth after being raped causes further emotional trauma. Others may struggle with personal convictions about life that convince them they should carry the pregnancy to term. Whether they then choose to parent or place their baby for adoption after birth also is part of the decision-making process.

No matter which scenario applies to your personal situation, Care Net Pregnancy Centers of Albuquerque is here to help. Our team does more than guide sexual abuse victims through the process of handling a pregnancy. They also can test for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and sexually transmitted infections (STI) to ensure the baby and mother are healthy. Care Net connects pregnant abuse victims with the resources they need to recover emotionally and physically.

How many women are sexually abused?

Sexual abuse and violence affect one out of every six American women in their lifetime. Pregnancy resulting from sexual abuse happens in 6 percent of rapes of women of reproductive age (12 to 45). Women can be sexually abused by a stranger or someone who is known to them. In some cases, they are raped or sexually coerced by an intimate partner.

Rape-related pregnancy is similar across racial and ethnic groups, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Choices for sexual abuse victims who become pregnant

Sometimes sexual assault victims who become pregnant from the abuse feel victimized twice. These feelings are normal and never should be ignored or minimized by healthcare professionals or others providing care to the victim. Care Net Pregnancy Centers of Albuquerque is a no-judgment zone. Our primary concern is your health and safety. Whether you choose abortion, adoption, or parenting, our caring staff is here to help you through every step of the process. We also connect you with the resources you need to help you heal from sexual abuse trauma. If you choose abortion or adoption, we have support services in place to help you through the normal feelings and struggles you may have afterward. Whatever you choose, we are here for you.

Sometimes sexual abuse victims who become pregnant are forced by their abusers to have an abortion to hide the abuse. Victims who have been forced to terminate their pregnancies can suffer long-term emotional and physical trauma. Our team can connect victims in this situation with the resources they need to heal emotionally and physically from sexual abuse and trauma.

Spotting the warning signs of sexual abuse

Many sexual abuse victims suffer in silence because the people around them have no idea they are victims of something so horrific. There are behavioral, emotional, and physical signs of sexual abuse. Learning to spot them can mean the difference between a victim getting the help they need and continued suffering.

Some of the most common warning signs include:

  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Emotional outbursts.
  • Extreme objection to odors, sounds, or specific people and situations.
  • Fear of being alone.
  • Inability to establish healthy boundaries.
  • Memory loss.
  • Restlessness or sleeplessness.

If you suspect someone is the victim of sexual abuse, reach out to the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline toll-free at 800-656-4673. The trained staff members can connect you with services in your area that can investigate and provide support to the victim of sexual abuse if it is confirmed.

How sexual abuse sabotages a healthy pregnancy

Beyond a woman becoming pregnant because of sexual abuse or other sexual violence, being sexually abused also can affect future pregnancies. Women who later choose to become pregnant with their partners can suffer the unwanted emotional side effects of their earlier trauma. All victims have triggers that can remind them of the crime to which they were subjected. For sexual abuse sufferers, one of those triggers can be their bodies. While they chose to become pregnant and are happy about their decision, that does not mean their pregnancy won’t generate unwanted feelings.

Pregnancy and childbirth can generate unwanted feelings during:

  • Routine prenatal care and exams.
  • Invasive delivery interventions.
  • Power struggles between the patient and her doctor.

Any of these scenarios can trigger a fight, flight, or freeze response in a pregnant woman who previously suffered from sexual abuse. Pregnancy – even one that is planned and perceived as a joyous occasion – can trigger higher levels of anxiety and fear in sexual abuse survivors.

Turn to Care Net for help

Victims of sexual abuse can seek help at any of our locations directly, no questions asked. We protect your confidentiality and will connect you with the resources you need to heal from the trauma. If you are pregnant, we can ensure you have the guidance needed to make the best decision about your pregnancy. Contact us at any time to learn more.

low-cost free prenatal care

How to Find Low-Cost or Free Prenatal Care

Finding low-cost or free prenatal care is a priority for women who choose to become parents. It can be a deciding factor in the choice a woman makes about how to handle her pregnancy. Sometimes pregnancy happens when you least expect it. Missing out on the ability to obtain reasonable healthcare and wellness checks throughout their pregnancy can have devastating results. A lack of prenatal care in the U.S. continues to impact how healthcare is delivered to women, including pregnant women. Gaining access to prenatal care and affordability of prenatal care are two aspects most pregnant women say need improvement in the U.S. If the only thing influencing whether a woman continues with her pregnancy is accessibility and cost, Care Net Pregnancy Centers of Albuquerque can help.

How prenatal care works

Most women do not need their first prenatal checkup until 10 to 12 weeks into their pregnancy. This first appointment follows a pregnancy confirmation visit between 5 and 8 weeks when most women first realize they may be pregnant. Women can expect a comprehensive examination during the first prenatal care appointment. Most obstetricians conduct an exam, listen for a heartbeat, and order routine physical and prenatal labs.

Pregnant women can expect other prenatal visits on this recommended schedule:

  • Weeks 12-27 – one prenatal visit per month.
  • Weeks 28 to 36 – one prenatal visit every two weeks.
  • Weeks 26 to 4 – one prenatal visit every week.

Weekly prenatal checkups continue until labor begins. Women who are pregnant with twins or who have any complications may need more frequent visits.

Risk factors that influence the frequency of prenatal care

Recommended prenatal care is not set in stone. Some risk factors can increase the number of times a pregnant woman must be seen. Additional fetal monitoring may be part of the process under certain conditions. Here are a few of the times when pregnant women may need more frequent prenatal care.

  • Age. Women older than 35 have an increased chance of having a baby with a birth defect. There also is a higher risk of complications during delivery.
  • Multiples. Women who are pregnant with twins have a higher risk of complications and must be observed carefully by medical providers throughout their pregnancies and deliveries.  
  • Pre-existing health conditions. Women with a history of diabetes or high blood pressure are among those at higher risk during pregnancy. Close monitoring of these and other pre-existing health conditions can ensure the health of the mother and the baby.
  • Pregnancy-induced complications. Some risk factors only happen after a woman becomes pregnant. They include gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and preeclampsia. Women who develop any complications require additional monitoring.
  • Preterm labor. Pregnant women showing signs of going into early labor must be monitored more closely during pregnancy, which can mean more frequent visits and additional testing.
Ultrasounds may be part of a pregnant woman’s prenatal checkup.

How to find affordable or free prenatal care

Care Net Pregnancy Centers of Albuquerque offers free pregnancy testing and free limited pregnancy ultrasounds to pregnant women. Confirming a pregnancy is the first step in the decision-making process. Women who decide to continue with their pregnancies have two options: adoption or parenting. Choosing to work with an adoption agency means an expectant mother receives prenatal care and any other medical attention needed throughout her pregnancy and delivery. Ensuring a healthy baby for adoptive parents is a priority for most adoption agencies. While Care Net does not handle adoptions, our staff can make community referrals for programs that can assist if a woman chooses to go this route.

Women who want to become parents but need help finding low-cost or free prenatal care have options as well. Among their choices:

  • Medicaid. Most (but not all) states provide low- or no-cost medical coverage through their Medicaid insurance programs for pregnant women. Eligibility factors can include household size, income, and residency. New Mexico is one of the states that provides comprehensive medical coverage to pregnant women. Our team at Care Net can help connect pregnant women with their local assistance office to get started with this process.
  • Affordable Care Act. Pregnant women who do not qualify for Medicaid because of income levels or other criteria that makes them ineligible can shop for insurance plans on the New Mexico state-run exchange. Women at certain income thresholds qualify for government subsidies that can significantly reduce the cost of healthcare through the exchange.
  • Prenatal care clinics. New Mexico offers several free prenatal care clinics for women who are uninsured or underinsured. They charge based on income levels and need. Care Net can help connect pregnant women with these resources.

Care Net for affordable pregnancy care

The caring staff at Care Net Pregnancy Centers of Albuquerque wants to support women in their pregnancy decisions. Helping pregnant women gain access to low-cost or free prenatal care is part of the services we provide. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation with our knowledgeable staff.

homeless and pregnant

Homeless and Pregnant? How to Get Help.

Finding out you are pregnant can be scary enough without the added complication of homelessness. Maybe you already were displaced when you became pregnant. Or maybe you were thrown out of your home once you revealed you were pregnant to family members or your landlord. Regardless of the reason, homelessness poses a health and safety risk for both the mother and her unborn child. Pregnant homeless women are more likely to face complications than their sheltered counterparts, according to a study published by Health Affairs. Among the most common health issues for homeless pregnant women were anemia, early labor, hemorrhaging, and hypertension.

Homeless women who are pregnant have options beyond homeless shelters, which also can pose certain risks to them and their babies. A pregnancy help center can offer alternatives.

Exploring your unplanned pregnancy options

Before you make any decisions about your pregnancy, it is a good idea to confirm you are pregnant and how far along you are in your pregnancy. Care Net Pregnancy Center offers free pregnancy testing and free limited pregnancy ultrasounds. Our results are quick and accurate, so pregnant women have the facts they need to move forward.

Homeless women who did not intend to become mothers have unplanned pregnancy options: abortion, adoption, and parenting. Whichever options you choose, Care Net Pregnancy Center is here to help you through it.

Abortion

It is never an easy decision to terminate a pregnancy. Women who wish to pursue this pregnancy option can find help and support at Care Net Pregnancy Center. From pre-abortion care to post-abortion trauma therapy, our team is here to help you through every step of the process. Our center does not perform or refer for abortions. Women who opt for abortion must find their own abortion provider.

Adoption

Adoption is a good alternative for women who are not yet ready to be parents, but who also cannot make the decision to have an abortion. There are four different types of adoption: open, semi-open, semi-closed, and closed. The one you choose depends on whether you wish to remain in contact with your child and their adoptive family. Care Net Pregnancy Center offers pre-adoption and post-adoption education services.

Parenting

Women who decide to raise their babies have all help and encouragement they need with free parenting education classes and support groups through Care Net Pregnancy Center. Our Earn While You Learn program provides resources like maternity and baby items and other necessities.

Find homeless shelters for pregnant women

Until you decide what you want to do about your pregnancy, you will need shelter. Even after you decide that you want to adopt or parent, accessing housing is a priority for your health and that of your baby. Pregnant women are considered a priority need for housing. Agencies will work diligently to find you a suitable shelter. National programs like the Homeless Prenatal Program can assist with finding women’s shelters designed to accommodate pregnant women. If you decide to work with an adoption agency, your liaison with the agency can assist in finding you a suitable shelter. Some adoption agencies have housing options for pregnant homeless women who are their clients to ensure their health and well-being until delivery.

If you were evicted from your home after revealing you were pregnant to your landlord, you may have legal recourse. The Federal Fair Housing Act makes it illegal for a landlord to evict you based solely on the fact you are pregnant. If you have been evicted for no other reason than pregnancy, you can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Financial help for pregnant homeless women

Medicaid offers certain benefits for homeless pregnant women. Several government organizations assist pregnant women, including those who are without adequate shelter. Here are some resources that can help:

  • Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program offers nutritional food and education. Some screening services also are provided for women during pregnancy and through six weeks after birth. Breastfeeding mothers qualify for assistance that can last from six months to a year after birth.
  • Pregnancy Medicaid is a state-administered program. The federal government established general guidelines for medical assistance, but each state determines specific requirements.
  • Section 8 Housing, also known as the Housing Choice Voucher Program, helps with rental expenses.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also provides several grant programs to assist the homeless, including pregnant women.

Secure housing for all pregnant women

Care Net Pregnancy Center is committed to helping all pregnant women find secure housing. Our community referrals program connects homeless pregnant women with resources designed to find the best housing solution. Walk into any of our clinic locations or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

one-night stand

The Dangers of One Night Stands

Casual sex. Those two words sound so harmless until you realize they are not. There is nothing casual about sex with a person you have just met. Whether you are out for a night on the town with friends or using a dating app to find potential partners, hooking up can have devastating consequences. When alcohol is involved with the decision, it increases the likelihood both parties will make poor choices, like engaging in unprotected sex. Bad decisions lead to serious outcomes, like contracting sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancy. Yet, nearly 60 percent of men and women in the U.S. admit to having a one night stand at least once in their lifetimes.

Before you make the decision to be intimate with someone you have just met or barely know, take a few moments to read up on the lifetime of consequences you may face from that one choice.

Why do people have one-night stands?

There are several reasons why you may feel compelled to have a one-night stand. Some people like the anonymity of it, feeling freer to engage in sexual acts with a stranger they likely will never see again. Others may have just left a long-term relationship and do not want to jump right back into anything serious, so casual hook-ups seem like a better alternative to them. Still, others may have done it before, enjoyed it, and sought out that same feeling again. Research shows 35 percent of women and 20 percent of men regret the decision to have a one-night stand, even if they do not suffer serious consequences from their actions.

One-night stands and STDs

One of the biggest risks of having a one-night stand is the increased risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or sexually transmitted infections (STIs). According to the STD Center, the risk of acquiring specific STDs from one instance of unprotected sex depends on the type of STD. Here is the breakdown:

TYPE OF STDVAGINAL SEXANAL SEX
HIV0.05-0.1%Receptive Sex: 1.4% Insertive sex: 0.06-0.16 %
Herpes0.3-0.7 percentNo exact data available
Gonorrhea20 percentReceptive Sex: 84% Insertive sex: 30-60%
Chlamydia4.5%32%
Syphilis51-64%30-60%
HPV4%Receptive Sex: 33.7-85.7% Insertive sex: 0.8-14.2%
Chart showing the risk for contracting an STD after a one-night stand.

Syphilis carries the highest risk for both vaginal and anal sex, with Gonorrhea the second most common type of STD contracted during one-night stands where safe sex practices were not used.  Even when partners use condoms, they can still spread certain sexually transmitted diseases like genital warts, herpes, and syphilis because those diseases are contracted through skin-to-skin contact.

If you had unprotected sex or have concerns about your health following a one-night stand, you can talk with one of our staff members. Care Net offers free STD/STI testing at select locations throughout Albuquerque.  Contact us to schedule an appointment at one of our four locations. When you receive free STD testing with us, you must make a follow-up appointment within 2 to 7 days to discuss your test results. If you test positive for any of the STDs/STIs we test for, our staff will refer you to the appropriate treatment center.

One-night stands and pregnancy

STDs and STIs are not the only unfortunate consequence of having casual sex. Unplanned pregnancies also can occur after hook-ups. Statistical evidence backs up the claim that women can be more reckless about their sexual choices when they are ovulating. Because women can feel more driven to have sex around the time they ovulate, it increases their chances of having an unintended pregnancy if they satisfy their hormonal urges with a casual hook-up that forgoes protection.

Becoming pregnant after a one-night stand can leave you with some difficult choices. If alcohol or drugs were part of the hook-up, your baby could be born with birth defects or other abnormalities. If your partner had an STD or an STI, that could pass to you and the baby. Certain STDs and STIs come with a higher risk for birth defects.

If you are concerned about the possibility of pregnancy after casual sex, Care Net can help. We offer free pregnancy testing. Appointments last between 30 and 60 minutes, and you know before you leave our offices if you might be pregnant. If your pregnancy test comes back positive, our staff will refer you for additional services.

Recovering from one-night stands

One poor choice does not have to define the rest of your life. Having a one-night stand does not mean you are a bad person. Care Net is a judgment-free zone. Our caring staff will never try to make you feel bad for your situation or any choices you make. Call any of our four locations or contact us online to schedule your confidential appointment today.

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DISCLAIMER: THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL or LEGAL ADVICE
The information and graphics contained on this site are for informational and educational purposes only. This site is designed to promote broad knowledge of various pregnancy or sexual health topics and general understanding concerning pregnancy. It is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice, or professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Pregnancy and other health issues need to be diagnosed by your physician or other qualified health care provider in person. Home tests and online discussions do not qualify as diagnosis or advice for treatment. Make an appointment with one of our center medical team or with your physician to discuss any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment, and before undertaking a new health care regimen. Follow your medical provider’s instructions and never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on a website or social media.