5 Tips To Let Your Partner Know About An Unplanned Pregnancy

According to a 2022 report by United Nations Population Fund, nearly half all of pregnancies in the world are unintended. That's approximately 121 million unintended pregnancies a year. Reasons for these pregnancies can be sexual assault, lack of sex education, irresponsibility by not using a condom and not having a backup method of birth control, or sometimes a broken condom. No matter the reason, an unplanned pregnancy can shake a woman to her core, especially if she lives in a place where her only option is forced motherhood.


The shock that comes with finding out that you're pregnant and you didn't plan to be can come with an abundance of issues. A 2017 study in "Maternal and Child Health Journal" found that unintended pregnancies contribute to stress, depression, and poor mental and physical health (via National Library of Medicine). Basically, for those who find out they're pregnant and are either not ready to be a parent or have zero intention of ever being a parent, a lot of issues can be caused by this news — and that's before you even tell your partner that you're pregnant.

Of course, you're not under any obligation to tell your partner you're pregnant, especially if you have no intention of continuing with the pregnancy. But if you're in a committed, healthy relationship, it's best to be as honest as possible and not try to hide it.


Tell your partner in person

Finding out you're pregnant is a big deal, and even more so if the pregnancy is unplanned. If you're still in school, have just started your dream career, or have other things you want to accomplish first, an unintended pregnancy can throw a whole wrench into your plans. But it's important to remember that, should you decide to tell your partner, you don't wait too long, and you find the best setting and timing to do it.


"Tell your partner about the pregnancy face-to-face so you can see each other's facial expressions and body language," relationship expert Beth Sonnenberg, LCSW tells Cosmopolitan. "If you send a text, you won't know his tone of voice or what his true emotions are unless he's right in front of you."

Not only can the intended tone be lost via text, but your partner might think you're playing a messed-up joke on them. That's the last thing you want.

Be direct and honest

Even if it is your nature to sort of beat around the bush about things before eventually coming clean with the facts — any facts, not just unplanned pregnancy facts — this isn't the time to be coy. It's also not the time to ask questions like, "What would you do if I were pregnant?" or "Do you think you're ready to have kids?" These are leading questions that will either get you nowhere or get you a response that you absolutely aren't prepared to hear. 


So, don't take this route. Sugar-coating anything or talking around it as if it's hypothetical is going to do more harm than good. Instead, be direct and honest, according to American Adoptions. Tell your partner that you're pregnant and, if you know exactly how far along you are — which is likely to be a follow-up question, especially if there isn't an intention to keep it. 

Let your partner share their feelings

Although it's your body that's pregnant and whatever you decide to do is your call, your partner should still be given the opportunity to share their input on the topic.

"Ask him how he feels about the news and why he feels the way he does. Don't assume, and don't put words in his mouth... don't base how he feels on his initial reaction to the news," marriage and family therapist and psychologist Dr. Reeshemah Langham tells Metro UK. "It's also important that you be patient and allow your partner to also come to terms [with the news]. Try not to continually interrupt him while he is speaking... Be respectful and allow him to talk – even if it hurts."


As they say, it takes two to tango, so each of you should be given the opportunity to share your thoughts and, if necessary, make a plan of how you're going to handle it.

Be emotionally prepared for their response

When you tell your partner that you're pregnant, it can go in any direction. Even if it's unplanned, your partner could be really excited about it and the thought of becoming a parent. Or it could go in a direction that maybe you just don't want to hear. But you chose to tell your partner, so now you need to listen to what they have to say and process their response.


"There may also be anger, so if a person is worried about a reaction, it's best to have a trusted family member or a close friend nearby," psychoanalyst Babita Spinelli, L.P. tells Mbg Relationships. Even if your partner doesn't mean to get irrationally angry, the chance is always there, so it's not a bad idea to have another person, whom you both know and trust, to diffuse anything that may get out of hand. 

Make the right choice for you

After you've told your partner about your unplanned pregnancy, it's time to make a decision. According to a 2022 report by United Nations Population Fund, 60% of all unintended pregnancies end in abortion. Additionally, roughly four percent of women with unwanted pregnancies will put the infant through the adoption process — the remaining women either keep the baby because they want to or because they have no other choice (via Adoption Network).


If you decide you want to terminate the pregnancy or put it up for adoption, and your partner isn't on board with that, then you need to remind them that while, yes, you're pregnant because of their sperm, you're the actual pregnant person, you're the one who will be affected the most if you decide to keep it, and because it's your body, it's also your choice. Certain things, like bodily autonomy, aren't up for debate. And if your partner loves you and respects you, they'll agree and let you make the right choice for you and your future.