Unintended Pregnancy

Overview of Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a common experience, but it’s not always a simple path from conception to birth. Nearly half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned and whether expected or not, pregnancy can bring up lots of feelings. Many people also struggle to get pregnant, experience pregnancy loss, miscarriage or stillbirth. Whatever your feelings or experiences with pregnancy are, this pregnancy options page aims to provide you with options and resources. We specifically provide information on abortion, adoption and parenting. We’ll also include helpful resources that are specific to UC Davis undergraduate and graduate students. Hopefully this page will provide a starting point to move forward in the way you want and feel will work best for your life.

Pregnancy Testing

*Disclaimer

If you have had sex in the last 72 hours (three days) that was either unprotected, or a contraception method failed and you would like to avoid pregnancy, emergency contraception (EC) aka “the morning after pill” might be a good option for you. If you would like to use emergency contraception, use it soon rather than later to reduce the possibility of becoming pregnant. EC may be used up to five days after intercourse, but the efficacy decreases after three days. 

EC contains hormones to prevent ovulation (the release of an egg from the uterus). If there is no egg for the sperm to join with, than pregnancy cannot occur. This is why it is important to take EC as soon as possible after unprotected sex. 

EC is cheapest at the UC Davis Student Health and Wellness Center and can be bought without a prescription. You will need to show your Student ID to ensure that you are a student at UC Davis. You can have EC charged to your student account and the charge will show up as “Pharmacy” or “OTC”, but will not specify that you bought EC. If you would rather pay with cash or check, after visiting the pharmacy, you will be directed to the front desk of the Student Health and Wellness Center to make payment. EC can also be purchased at local drug stores. Check the UC Davis Sexcess Map for more information about store location and hours.

If you have further questions, please contact the Advice Nurse Hotline (24 hours) at (530) 752-2349.

Pregnancy Tests

Pregnancy tests detect whether or not there is hCG in your urine. If you are pregnant, hCG will be most detectable around the time that you are supposed to get your period (about two weeks after ovulation) so this would be the ideal time to test for pregnancy. 10-14 days after intercourse is also another measure you can use for deciding when to use a pregnancy test. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t find out if you are pregnant the day after you have sex—sometimes it can take up to 7 days after sex for conception to actually occur because it can take a while for sperm to swim up the vagina and into the uterus to fertilize the egg.

Some pregnancy tests are more sensitive than others—the pregnancy tests that are most sensitive will be able to detect the hCG in your urine at an earlier time. When choosing a pregnancy test to use, look at the sensitivity level that the test advertises. They will range from 10mlU/ml (milli-International Unit per milliliter) to 40 mlU/ml. The lower the number, the more sensitive the test and the earlier you will be able to test for pregnancy. Also, check the expiration date of the test to ensure accuracy.

Where can I get a Pregnancy Test in Davis?

Home pregnancy tests are available to graduate and undergraduate students at the UCD Student Health and Wellness Center over the counter at the pharmacy or at local drugstores. These tests are home pregnancy tests and are accurate. If you would like to have the test administered by a provider, you can make an appointment with an SCHS provider at the Student Health and Wellness Center or in one of our primary care clinics by dialing (530) 752-2349. Blood pregnancy tests also test for the hCG hormone and can detect pregnancy a bit earlier than a home test would. However, you do have to wait for the results to come back and the test must be done in a medical provider’s office or clinic.

Early Signs of Pregnancy

Symptoms that often occur during early pregnancy:

  • Missed Period
  • Breast tenderness and swelling
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to smell
  • Frequent urination
  • Mood swings
  • Unusual food cravings

If you are experiencing some of these symptoms and concerned about pregnancy, please contact the Advice Nurse Hotline (24 hours) at (530) 752-2349.

Abortion

On this page, we’ll cover the two categories of abortions available to patients—in-clinic abortions and abortion pills. Abortion is an option that is available to you if you find that you are pregnant and do not want to continue the pregnancy. It is a very safe procedure if performed by a trained health professional—fewer than .5% of people experience complications. 

California is one of the most liberal states when it comes to abortion laws. If you are a student that is under the age of 18 and are in California, there is no parental involvement or consent required to receive an abortion. The state of California may not deny or interfere with a person’s right to choose or obtain an abortion prior to viability of the fetus (the ability of a fetus to survive outside of the uterus, determined by physician, generally after 23 weeks of gestation or more), or after viability when the abortion is necessary to protect the life or health of the pregnant person.

If you decide that abortion is the right option for you, it’s vital that the abortion is done by a trained health professional.

Abortion Pill

If you have been pregnant for less than 9 weeks, an abortion pill may be an option for you.

The process for taking an abortion pill in California can be found here.

In-Clinic Abortions

There are two types of In-Clinic Abortions—Aspiration, and Dilation and Evacuation.

If you have been pregnant for 5-14 weeks, Aspiration may be an option for you.

Find more information about the procedure here.

If you have been pregnant for more than 14 weeks, Dilation and Evacuation may be an option for you.

Check here for more information.

Where can I get an abortion near Davis or Sacramento?

Abortions are not performed at the UC Davis Student Health and Wellness Center, but if you are considering an abortion, you may want to meet with a provider here at SHCS so they can refer you to Sutter Davis Hospital or a provider in your insurance network. The price of the abortion will depend on what type of insurance you have. Call the appointment desk at (530)752-2349.

Planned Parenthood in Sacramento on B Street also offers abortions; check out their page here to find information about how much an abortion might cost for you there with your insurance.

Please contact Planned Parenthood to talk about transportation to and from the clinic.

Who can support me before, during, or after my abortion?

A doula is a person that can provide support to anyone. They are most commonly known as people who provide emotional and informational support during pregnancy--however, there are also full spectrum doulas who can provide support during other points in a person’s life. Find information about doulas who can provide support during abortion in the Sacramento area here.

If you would like to talk to someone over the phone, Backline, an organization that promotes unconditional, judgment free support for people in all of their decisions relating to pregnancy, abortion, parenting and adoption, can be reached at 1-888-493-0092 or check out their website here.

If you would like to talk to the Advice Nurse, a registered nurse who can help you make informed decisions about your health situation, or a counselor from SHCS Counseling Services, call (530) 752-2349 and follow the prompts to get to either professional. 

Exhale is a post-abortion support hotline 1-866-4-EXHALE.

Men and Abortion offers factual, spiritual, and emotional information and support for men.

Adoption

Considering the possibilities of placing a child for adoption can bring many complex emotions. Adoption is the process where a birth parent gives legal rights to their child to another person or couple. There are a wide variety of options if adoption is the best choice for you. Here, we’ll briefly cover open adoptions, semi-open, and confidential/closed adoptions.

Open Adoption

A form of adoption where the birth parent(s) and adoptive parent(s) meet one another, share full identifying information, and have direct access to ongoing contact over the years. Even though the adoptive parents will legally become the parents of the child, the birth parent(s) could have an active part in the child’s life.

Semi-Open Adoption

Semi-open adoption is similar to an open adoption but may not involve the sharing of identifying information; the adoption agency will likely act as an intermediary in the contact between the birth parent(s) and the adoptive parent(s). The benefit of this is that confidentiality can be maintained if desired, but the sharing of important medical information can still be given if necessary, as well as pictures of the child and other basic information.

Closed Adoption

During a closed adoption, identifying information about the birth parent(s) and adoptive parent(s) is kept sealed. An adoption agency can act as an intermediary, sharing information between parties if appropriate.

Safe Haven Law

This is a law that decriminalizes leaving an unharmed infant with a state sanctioned person or institution, and the infant comes under the legal guardianship of the state. In California, the law specifies that “you can leave your baby, up to 3 days old, with an employee at any safe surrender designated hospital or a location designated by the board of supervisors in a county in California.” Anyone can call the 1-888-510-BABY safe haven hotline to receive counseling and get information on the address and directions to the closest safe haven in your state.

This website reviews laws governing guardianship in California.

This website goes over steps of the adoption process.

Parenting

Things to consider before giving birth:

Who will be my child’s doctor?

You will be bringing your child to the doctor at least six times in the first year for routine well-baby visits. Some parents will choose a pediatrician, a doctor who specializes in the care of children. Other parents might prefer a family practitioner, a doctor specializing in family medicine who can treat the whole family. When choosing a doctor that works for you and your child, you can ask for recommendations from friends and family, your obstetrician or midwife, and check out the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to get referrals to certified practitioners.

What car seat should I choose?

If you are giving birth at a location other than your home and you need to transport your baby in a car, its legally required that you have a car seat for your baby. Check out this buying and installation guide for car seats.

UC Davis Medical Center Trauma Prevention and Outreach team provides resources with their Car Seat Safety classes and check up events, check out the locations where they offer this free service here.

Clothing, Diapers and Other Supplies for My Child (Free or low cost):

Sacramento County Family Health Line
1 (888) 824-2229
Free assistance in finding infant health insurance and a doctor for your infant and answers your breastfeeding questions.

Folsom Cordova Community Partnership
10665 Coloma Road, Suite 200, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670 
(916) 361-8684
Safety-Net Services include FREE emergency supply of free diapers, baby formula, transportation assistance and more.

Chicks in Crisis
Elk Grove, CA 
(916) 441-1243 | Toll-free (888) 208 -8086
Chicks in Crisis works with the community in many different ways if you are pregnant or have children and need guidance, diapers or clothes. No fee.

Birth and Beyond - Offers eight locations of services throughout Sacramento, CA
Parents given diapers, some baby formula and a home visitation opportunity with pregnant and parenting Parents. Recently opened Medical and dental services. Targeting children 0-5 years of age. Soon to come pre-natal for women. We accept Medi-Cal and can Family Resource Center-arrange of parenting classes/Car seat safety workshop/Kids clothes closet/Healthy habits/etc. School readiness Liaison - Intervention Specialist – Transportation - Home Visitation services - Mental Health services - Assist families with Medi-Cal applications. Walk ins accepted. All services are free.  
6015 Watt Avenue, Suite 2, North Highlands, CA 95660 
(916) 326-5830

Parent Education - A program of Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services
3308 Third Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95817 
2469 Rio Linda Boulevard, Sacramento, CA 95815 
(916) 313-7622. Call for next orientation date. 
"Open to expectant, parents or legal guardians with children 0-5 years old in the greater Sacramento area. Supportive parenting courses, referrals, mentoring, access to parent resource center and more. After completion of each course, parents will earn credits for diapers, formula, baby food, clothing and additional items."

Trading Cradles
Buy gently used baby supplies on their website.

UC Davis Breastfeeding Support Group
Find their website here.

Short-term aid to people in Yolo County (miscellaneous aid)
Learn more here.

Free food/meals to students and their babies right on campus
Learn more about The Pantry.

Lactation services
Find more information here.

Housing & Accommodations

Housing is a necessity and the university provides options for students that plan to continue their education while pregnant and parenting. If you are a freshman living in the dorms, check out Residence Hall: Cancellation Process to find out who to contact about either moving to a different location from the residence hall or cancelling your housing contract. UC Davis Housing would consider pregnancy as a reason for termination of dorm contract, if you choose. UC Davis Housing can help accommodate your needs and move you to another location if need be.

If you are pregnant, call the UC Davis Student Disability Center (530) 752-3184 to see what services you are eligible for as a pregnant student or a student with children. They can work with you if you will need services like exam accommodation etc.

On-campus childcare is also available. Learn more here.

If you need to increase your budget due to gaining a dependent, you can fill out this form from the financial aid office, and potentially receive loans.

There are numerous on-campus housing options that give priority to students with families. Learn more here.

UC Davis SHIP Insurance Coverage

Almost all pregnancy services are currently covered under Davis SHIP. Prenatal office visits, the delivery, hospitalization and provider fees are covered at 100%. Ultrasounds are currently covered at 80% once the student has met their $300 annual deductible.

Students can enroll their dependents in the Davis SHIP dependent plan. Newborn children must be enrolled within the first 31 days after their birth.

You can find the costs of dependent children enrollment on the enrollment forms here.

If you have specific questions, check out the Student Insurance Advocate Program.

Pregnancy and Birth

Here we will explain some of the experiences people may have when pregnant, and resources to help them feel supported. Below we have some information about the pregnancy experience.

Pregnancy Support

You can get professional pregnancy support in the form of a doula. A doula is someone who provides emotional, physical and informational support to people during their pregnancy, labor and post pregnancy. There are a number of doula services in the Davis-Sacramento area. Learn about local services here.

Birthing Classes

UC Davis Medical Center offers birthing classes. Learn more here.

Sutter Davis also has an online system to help you find birthing classes wherever you are located in the Sacramento region. Check it out here.

Midwife or Obstetrician?

You also have more than one option when it comes to who you would like to help you deliver your baby. A midwife is a professional with an advanced nursing degree who is trained to provide care during pregnancy and delivery. An Obstetrician is a medical doctor that has been trained to provide care pre-, during and post-pregnancy and they are certified to intervene with drugs and surgery if necessary. Some midwives work in a team with an obstetrician.  Here is a checklist to help you decide what might be a good option for you.

You also potentially have the option of having an in-home birth over a hospital birth if you would like a midwife to be the one assisting you with labor and birth.  Here is a resource if you would like information on in-home vs. hospital births. Prenatal care is not available at the Student Health and Wellness Center; you will be referred to an outside Obstetrician. 

The 3 Trimesters of Pregnancy

1st Trimester of Pregnancy: Weeks 0-13

During this time, you will notice some changes in your body. You might feel tired, your skin may change and you may become sensitive to certain smells. Morning sickness can sometimes start around week 6, but contrary to the name you could potentially experience it at any time of the day. You also might experience “spotting”, which is implantation bleeding. This is usually harmless, but it’s always a good idea to get checked out by your doctor, particularly if the spotting is bright red or you are experiencing pain.

You should also meet with your physician or midwife during the 1st trimester to make plans for your pregnancy and get your first scan. Check out our guide below on deciding whether having a physician or midwife is a good choice for you.

2nd Trimester of Pregnancy: Weeks 14-26

In the 2nd Trimester, your body will change more and you may have a visible bump by this point. Your breasts may feel significantly heavier at this point, so it may be helpful to get fitted for a maternity bra to give you more support. It might be helpful to eat smaller portions, more frequently if you are experiencing heartburn at this point in your pregnancy. You may also be offered a blood screening test to check for Down’s Syndrome in your baby between weeks 15 and 20.

3rd Trimester of Pregnancy: Weeks 27-40

During this stage, you baby will likely be moving around a lot. The baby will be quite developed at this point and will be able to see and hear although their lungs are still developing and they won’t be able to breathe on their own until they reach 36 weeks. You may feel Braxton Hicks Contractions at this point. These contractions can start in the first trimester of your pregnancy although you may not feel them then. Sometimes it can be hard to distinguish Braxton Hicks Contractions from regular labor contractions once you get to 37 weeks. It is best not to diagnose yourself so if you are experiencing more than 4 contractions an hour, call your provider so they can diagnose you. Walking, drinking water, or doing other, slow exercises can help if contractions become painful.

The 3 Phases of Labor

Phase 1: Early (Latent) Labor

This stage is the longest. During early labor your cervix will thin out and dilate (open) to about 3 centimeters--some people will dilate overnight and for some people it will take up to a month. You might experience mild to moderate contractions that last 30 to 45 seconds and are spaced 5 to 20 minutes apart--although you may not notice them until the final two to six hours when labor starts in earnest. During this time, contact your practitioner if discharge becomes bright red and you think you’ve release more than two tablespoons. Bleeding could indicate a problem with the placenta. 

Phase 2: Active Labor

Contractions will become stronger, this face will potentially last 2 to 3 ½ hours. You will ideally be in the hospital/birthing center or with your midwife at your home at this point. The cervix will dilate to 7 centimeters and contractions will come every 3 to 4 minutes lasting between 40 and 60 seconds. You might notice a distinct peak halfway through each contraction. If you would like to receive an epidural, an numbing agent that numbs you from the waist down after 10 to 20 minutes, this would be a good time to ask for one, although you can request it at any stage of labor.

Phase 3: Transitional (Advanced) Labor

This is the shortest, most intense part of labor, generally lasting 15 minutes to an hour, your cervix will dilate to about 10 centimeters at this point. Contractions will be strong, between 60 to 90 seconds, with intense peaks and spaced only 2 to 3 minutes apart. During this phase, your baby will be born.

Delivering the Placenta:

After the baby is out of your birth canal, the placenta, an organ that connects the developing fetus to the uterine wall to allow nutrient uptake etc. through the mother’s blood supply and is also known as the afterbirth, will come out. This stage lasts between 5 to 20 minutes, and you might experience mild contractions that last about a minute each--or you might not feel them at all. After the placenta comes out, you may experience a bloody vaginal discharge which is considered normal.