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J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2005 May-Jun;34(3):373-9.

Providing options counseling for women with unintended pregnancies.

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MGH Institute of Health Professions, Boston, MA, USA.


Nearly half of the pregnancies in the United States are unintended, and nurses frequently encounter women with unintended pregnancies in the clinical setting. Nurses may be responsible for counseling these women on how to explore and decide between the options of parenting, adoption, and abortion. To date, little has been written about options counseling, despite the fact that unintended pregnancy is one of the most common health conditions that women face. This article presents epidemiological data on prevalence, outcomes, consequences, causes, and prevention of unintended pregnancy. It examines the conflicts that nurses may experience when providing care to women with unintended pregnancies and discusses the intersection of professional responsibilities and personal values. Finally, the article presents general strategies and specific suggested steps for providing options counseling.

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