Friday, September 15, 2017

How to Support a Friend Experiencing a Crisis Pregnancy


Serving women and their families in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Michigan, Real Alternatives partners with these states’ social service agencies to offer free crisis pregnancy counseling and support. With close to 150 centers spanning the three states, Real Alternatives provides safe, empathetic, and non-judgmental advice. The organization also offers food, clothing, shelter, and ongoing parenting education. 

Many people will, at some point in their lives, know of someone who is considering an abortion. Knowing how to be supportive and helpful can be difficult, given the mixed messages that society and popular culture relay about the subject. 

Experienced pro-life counselors generally suggest that you remain loving and accepting of a friend who is experiencing a crisis pregnancy. They advise that you focus on the woman’s need to be heard, understood, and treated as an individual who is capable of making her own decisions. 

Other ways to help include offering practical assistance with activities such as household chores, transportation, and shopping, so that a woman can concentrate on caring for herself and her family.

Friends can also show that they care by staying positive and affirming through their words and actions the value of every human life, including those begun under less-than-ideal circumstances.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Early Pregnancy Symptoms


As the nonprofit administrator of parenting and pregnancy support services for Michigan, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, Real Alternatives has served over 275,000 women since it launched in 1996. Real Alternatives offers free pregnancy test kits at each of its 144 centers in the three states. 

Although the only way to be certain of pregnancy is by seeing a doctor, there are several early symptoms. One of the earliest signs is implantation bleeding, which can occur as early as eight days after conception when the unborn child starts to implant itself into the uterine wall. As a result, some women experience cramping and spotting. 

Other signs, which can appear as early one to two weeks following conception, include fatigue, headaches, frequent urination, swollen or tender breasts, and darkening of the areolas. The most common early sign is a delay or difference in menstruation. 

Typically, women miss their next period if they become pregnant, although some women have a lighter or shorter-than-normal period. If you're experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, visit a doctor or call 1-888-LIFE-AID.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Resisting Pressure to Have Sex as a Teen



Based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Real Alternatives teams up with government agencies in three states to assist pregnant women considering abortion. The organization offers empowering pathways to overcome those challenges associated with unexpected pregnancies. Real Alternatives provides free support and counseling that enable expecting women to choose life for their preborn baby.

The organization also provides a host of educational resources focused on preventing and treating STDs, as well as saying “no” should sexual pressure occur. This is particularly important during the teen years, when peer pressure is at its highest and romantic partners may have strong expectations of having sex. 

When under pressure, the best response is to assert one’s personal identity. Emphasizing that “everybody is doing it” is never a good reason for any activity. Having had sex before is similarly not a valid reason for continuing an activity that is risky and that feels uncomfortable.

If one is pressured to have sex before marriage, the ideal response is that there is a gulf between intention and action. Being married and wanting to marry are two very different things.

Friday, May 19, 2017

How Your Baby Develops in the Final Four Weeks of Pregnancy


From its headquarters in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Real Alternatives coordinates statewide parenting and pregnancy support programs in Indiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. For 20 years, tens of thousands of women haven been helped. Real Alternatives is dedicated to providing educational resources to expectant mothers. In the “Hear the Heartbeat” section of its website, Real Alternatives discusses how pre-born children develop. 
 
At week 35 the baby’s hand has a firm grasp. It is usually at the end of the third trimester that the baby’s head will dip or drop into the pelvis. This change often helps the mother to breathe easier.
 
Between weeks 36 and 37, the baby’s weight can be 6.5 pounds. The baby’s length is about 13.5 inches, from crown to rump. The heart is pumping 300 gallons of blood every day. The baby is fully capable of living outside the womb with minimal intervention. At week 37, the baby’s downy hair and vernix is absorbed into the amniotic fluid and swallowed by the baby. This will produce the baby’s first bowel movement after birth.
 
At week 38, the baby’s heartbeat can be heard outside the uterus. The baby is approximately 19 to 20 inches in length and typically weighs between six and eight pounds. The baby is ready at any moment to come into the world.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Alternatives to Abortion Services Program Helps Women in Pennsylvania




Based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Real Alternatives offers a comprehensive selection of parenting and pregnancy services as alternatives to abortion. In conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Real Alternatives administers the state-wide Alternatives to Abortion Services program with the assistance of a government-provided grant. 

The program serves pregnant women of all ages at no cost, with a focus on confidentiality and compassion. It operates through approximately 100 nonprofit pregnancy centers across Pennsylvania, who provide non- judgmental and nondiscriminatory services. Women experiencing a crisis pregnancy who feel pressured into making a decision to abort their child can turn to the program for counseling referrals in addition to pregnancy, parenting or adoption support. 

A statewide team of 355 pregnancy professionals and trained counselors work with the program, and provide a range of social and education services designed to support pregnant women and their families. Services range from informational resources about parenting and childbirth to access to clothing pantries and housing assistance.

Friday, March 17, 2017

How Can I Help Real Alternatives?


Real Alternatives focuses on helping pregnant women choose adoption or parenting rather than abortion. Along with counseling and awareness initiatives, Real Alternatives provides pregnancy support programs and free parenting classes for parents of infants up to 1 year of age.

Certified as a “Best in America” charity by Independent Charities of America, Real Alternatives is dedicated to providing assistance to pregnant women and mothers by way of its hotline as well as through programs and services offered through its facilities in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Indiana. In 2016 alone, Real Alternatives helped over 30,000 women.

Because Real Alternatives is a registered IRS 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization, all donations to the organization are tax deductible. Additionally, individuals can donate vehicles to help Real Alternatives by going to http://www.realalternatives.org/Support/. To support the organization beyond financial gifts, Real Alternatives recommends spreading the word about its services and toll-free hotline, 1-888-LIFE AID.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Miracle of an Unborn Baby’s Development


Real Alternatives reaches out to women and their families in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Michigan to administer state-funded programs focused on pregnancy and parent education programs. The Harrisburg-based organization works through close to 100 centers in Pennsylvania and dozens of additional locations in the other two states. Real Alternatives’ services include distributing free pregnancy tests, offering compassionate and confidential counseling, and providing extensive connections to information on adoption. 

The organization supports its pro-life perspective by referencing current scientific information on the unfolding of an unborn baby’s development in the womb. 

The gender and genetic inheritance of a baby is determined at the moment of fertilization. As the baby’s body develops, it passes through three distinct trimesters.

In the first month of development, the baby already possesses the outline of a face. Nerve cells have begun to form, and circulation of the blood begins. During the initial trimester, the baby’s fingers, toes, and sense organs develop.

In the second trimester, a medical professional may be able to detect a heartbeat. The muscles and skeleton continue to strengthen, and the skin develops. The baby already has the ability to suck its fingers and can both hear and make swallowing movements. 

During the third trimester, the baby frequently responds to outside stimuli. It often moves frequently, and lungs, brain, and reflexes have become finely developed.