Pregnancy Options

Planned Parenthood Ottawa provides non-judgmental information regarding various pregnancy options.

Abortion

Abortions are ending of a pregnancy by a healthcare provider removing the contents of the uterus (the uterus is the part of the body where a pregnancy grows).

What is the difference between a medical and in-clinic abortion?

Medical abortion (Medication abortion)

Is available in Ottawa up to 10 weeks of pregnancy. This method uses the combination of two medications, mifepristone and misoprostol (together called mifegymiso) that empty the contents of the uterus over the course of 6-8 hours after the second pill is taken.

 

In-clinic (surgical) abortion

This method is performed by a trained health care provider  in a hospital or clinic. The health care provider removes the contents of the uterus with a suction device while the patient is under local or general anaesthesia. The procedure itself typically only takes around 5-15 minutes, but the appointments can last 3-4 hours due to anaesthetic prep, blood work, ultrasound, etc.

How long will I have to wait to get an abortion appointment?

In Ottawa, the wait to get an abortion (medical or in-clinic) is usually between 1-2 weeks.

Where can I get an abortion?

In Ottawa, abortions can be done in several places. We would be happy to provide you with contact information for abortion providers over the phone by calling us

613-226-3234 ext 100.

We only provide information for our abortion providers over the phone for the confidentiality and privacy of our healthcare providers and the clients who see them.

Are abortions common?

Yes. It is estimated that 1 in 3 people will choose to have an abortion at some point in their lives.

Are abortions safe?

Yes. It is a very low risk procedure, especially in the 1st trimester, and has one of the lowest complication rates. 97.9% of all abortion procedures occur with no complications. Of the procedures with complications, only a small 0.23% are considered major. 

For more information, click here

Will anyone find out if I have an abortion?

This is a common fear that we hear from people who want an abortion. No one, outside the healthcare team who provide you with abortion services, will know about your abortion unless you choose to tell them. Health care providers are required by law to keep your information confidential (in other words to keep all your information private).

Do I need partner’s consent to have an abortion?

This is a good question. No, you do not need the partner in pregnancy to agree in order to access abortion services.

At what age can I get an abortion without parent or guardian consent?

According to the Canadian Pediatric Society, in Ontario, there is no specific age at which everyone can get health care services without parent or guardian consent, whether that be getting antibiotics for strep throat, or abortion care services. However, people can consent to health care services without a parent or guardian’s involvement so long as they understand the risks and benefits of that healthcare service. Therefore, since abortion is considered a low risk medical procedure, people as young as 13 or 14 can often access abortion without parent or guardian consent.

How much does the procedure cost?

In Ontario, if you have an Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) card, the cost of a medical or in-clinic abortion is completely covered, which means you don’t pay anything!

What if I don’t have an OHIP card?

The short answer? It’s a little complicated. You might be insured (or have the costs covered for you) if you are travelling from a different province, or you have some other type of insurance. If you call us, we can help you brainstorm ways to have abortion costs covered.

Will my healthcare provider be trans-competent?

Health care providers are still not adequately trained to support trans clients,  and sometimes cause harm to their clients by using women focused language that excludes non-binary and trans people who also deserve supportive sexual and reprodcutive health care services.

At PPO, our team is dedicated to creating a space that uses inclusive language and supports trans and non binary clients. We also try to refer our clients to health care providers that align with these ideas, but some of these providers work in “women’s clinics.” In short, not all healthcare providers have shifted to trans inclusive language and practices, but we are here to help you navigate these systems, and advocate for the care you deserve. If you have questions about what our abortion providers are like, and want to talk through some ways in which we can help you make your abortion experience be as inclusive as possible, we are here to chat.

Will there be any protesters outside the place of my procedure?

In Ontario, the “Safe Access to Abortion Services Act” was passed to protect individual’s access to abortion services without harassment or interference. This act states that abortion protesters are banned from protesting within 50 metres of the abortion facilities.

Click here for more information

How do most people generally emotionally feel after an abortion?

Some people feel relief after their abortion and some feel sad or emotional. One study found that within a group of 667 people who had an abortion, over 95% of participants ultimately believed that it had been the right decision for them and after 5 years passed, the vast majority (84%) reported feeling positive or neutral about their decision.

You can read more here.

However you feel, we are here to support you. We provide free options counselling services before, or after a pregnancy decision. To book a counselling appointment, feel free to contact us.

ppottawa@ppottawa.ca

Adoption

How do I place a child for adoption?

Children can be placed for adoption in one of two ways. When someone plans to place for adoption, the most common way to do this is to use private adoption services which are handled by a private agency or licensed individual. Alternatively, public adoptions are done through government funded Child Services Agencies, which is the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) in Ottawa.

More information on adoption

List of private adoption agencies

How much contact could I have with a child that I place for adoption?

The openness of an adoption refers to the amount of contact the adopted child(ren) can have with the birth parent(s). This level of “openness” can be decided by you and the adoptive parents. It can include photos, letters, phone calls, and regular in-person visits. While you have the option to be involved in the child’s life in some ways, the adoptive parents are still responsible for all parenting responsibilities.

How much contact could I have with a child that I place for adoption?

The openness of an adoption refers to the amount of contact the adopted child(ren) can have with the birth parent(s). This level of “openness” can be decided by you and the adoptive parents. It can include photos, letters, phone calls, and regular in-person visits. While you have the option to be involved in the child’s life in some ways, the adoptive parents are still responsible for all parenting responsibilities.

Am I required to pay any fees for placing my child up for adoption?

No, in both public and private adoption, there is no cost to the birth parent(s). For public adoption, there is also no cost to the adoptive parents. For private adoption, the adoptive parents can be required to pay between $15 000 – $25 000 in adoption fees.

What do adoptive parents have to do before adopting?

Adoptive parents have to do a “home study” where an adoption worker assesses the ability for an adoptive family to care for children through interviews, home visits, and police checks. Home studies often take 3-8 months to complete. Most families who are looking to adopt are also required to take educational classes that give information about the adoption process and parenting.

Read more

What if I change my mind and want to parent instead?

As the birth parent, you must wait 7 seven full days after birth to sign the consent documents for the adoption. Then, you are permitted to withdraw adoption consent up to 21 days after signing the consent documents. If 21 days have passed and the child has already been placed with an adoptive family, you must go to family court and explain your reasons for changing your mind. The judge will listen to you and decide what plan is best for the child.

Is it required to identify / contact the partner in pregnancy before choosing adoption?

Not necessarily. If your partner in pregnancy is a parent “in the eyes of the law,” meaning if you have lived together and they support you financially, or they are listed as parent on the birth certificate, then they will have to consent to the adoption.

If you are worried for your child’s safety or your own safety, contact a lawyer for options on how to protect yourself and your child.

Placing for adoption without the partner in pregnancy’s consent is sometimes complicated, so it’s best to contact a lawyer or visit this website for more information.

Parenting

Am I ready to be a parent?

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question. Ultimately, always trust yourself and know that you are the only person who can make the decision that is best for your own needs.

However, below are a few questions you can ask yourself that might help with the decision-making process:

  • What do I want out of my life?

  • How will having a child change my plans and goals?

  • Am I willing to adjust my personal life to changing responsibilities?

  • Do I like children, and will I enjoy doing the activities children do?

  • Do I expect my child to make my life happy? Is this a fair expectation?

  • Do I have the patience to deal with noise and the mess that sometimes comes with children?

  • When I do become stressed, what are some things I can do to cope?

  • Will my partner in pregnancy be supportive and involved in this pregnancy and in parenting? Is this important or necessary for me to make this decision?

  • Who else am I counting on for support? How much support can they give me?

  • Am I comfortable with the changes that will happen to my body during pregnancy and after birth?

What kind of healthcare provider should I get?

There are a few different types of healthcare providers you can choose from to help support you through your pregnancy and birth. You can work with an experienced family doctor, an OB-GYN (otherwise known as an obstetrician and gynecologist), or a midwife.

People who are pregnant will work primarily with one of these healthcare providers, but not often all three. To learn more about the three options, check out the descriptions below.

Midwife

A midwife is a healthcare provider whose expertise is centered around pregnancy, labour, birth, and six weeks after birth. Midwives are highly skilled and will only need to transfer clients to a hospital if there are major concerns or complications. One does not require a referral to have a midwife, meaning you can contact midwives directly and start working with them on your health during your pregnancy. Midwives are also often able to meet with the pregnant person more regularly than other healthcare providers because they focus only on pregnancy. For more information on booking midwifery services in Ottawa, visit the following links:

https://www.midwiferycollective.com/

https://www.ontariomidwives.ca/

 

Obstetrician-Gynecologist

An OB-GYN (obstetrician-gynecologist) is a medical doctor who specializes in uterus health and pregnancy care. OB-GYNs perform a wide range of services and procedures such as pap-smears to check for cervical cancer, tubal ligations, and child delivery (both vaginally and cesarean section (c-section)).

For more information on booking OB-GYN services in Ottawa, visit:

https://www.ottawahospital.on.ca/en/clinical-services/deptpgrmcs/departments/obstetrics-gynecology-and-newborn-care/having-a-baby/clinics/

To access these services, you are required to have a referral. However, you can obtain one by making a request at a walk-in clinic.

A family doctor can sometimes  be available to provide support during pregnancy. However, not all family doctors are trained in prenatal care. A family doctor is a good option if you already know a family doctor who is trained in this kind of care and you feel most comfortable with this trusted individual. A family doctor can support you in creating a birth plan that transfers you to the hospital for the birth and for any major complications.

What is a doula?

A doula is a trained professional that provides information and emotional support to a pregnant person before, during, or after childbirth. While health care providers can be doulas, doulas are not always health care providers.

Hire a doula

Birth and parent companion program

When should I start telling people I am pregnant?

This decision is entirely up to you! Some people may choose to wait at least 12 weeks as the risk of miscarriage decreases after this point. However, it is perfectly okay to do this right away or much later in pregnancy.

What should I expect physically when being pregnant?

The physical symptoms of pregnancy vary for many different people. However, the most common symptoms include nausea (morning sickness), fatigue (tiredness), breast/chest changes (breasts/chest may feel swollen or tender), frequently needing to pee, cramping (particularly in the legs), backaches, and sometimes heartburn.

Can I continue working while pregnant?

Most pregnant people are able to continue working during pregnancy unless their workplace is particularly strenuous or hazardous. For example, consult your healthcare provider if your work involves a high amount of bending, climbing ladders, standing for long periods of time, lifting heavy objects, or working with chemicals or fumes. If not, most people are able to work up until labour begins, but this decision is up to the pregnant person.

Am I eligible for parental leave pay?

In Canada, you are eligible for parental leave if you meet the following criteria:

  • If you have employment insurance (EI) with your workplace

  • If you have worked at least 600 hours of insurable employment in the 52-week period before starting your EI.

  • If you are the biological parent of the child

  • If your average weekly earnings are reduced by 40% or more during pregnancy or after childbirth. (For example, if you have one full-time job and another part-time job, but you only choose to go on leave for one of them, you can still be eligible for EI if  your weekly earnings have decreased by at least 40%.)

Read more

If you have more questions about abortion, adoption, or parenting feel free to contact our options line.

ppottawa@ppottawa.ca
613-226-3234 ext. 100