Wednesday, November 29, 2017

An Overview of HPV Statistics in America

Real Alternatives is a not-for-profit health organization that provides women with a variety of services and support during unexpected and crises pregnancies. Real Alternatives also offers a wealth of information regarding related health topics, including sexually transmitted diseases

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 110 million Americans are living with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), at a cost of more than $16 billion annually. Studies have found that of the 20 million newly-reported cases of STDs every year, over 14 million are linked to human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. 

Nearly 80 million individuals of all ages in the United States live with HPV. The infection is incurable, though some symptoms can be managed with medical treatments. In many instances, HPV is passed between partners, and it can remain dormant for years without active symptoms. Some strains of HPV can cause genital warts or even cancer. 

There are a number of ways to mitigate one's chances of contracting HPV. Individuals are advised to get the HPV vaccine, which helps protect against the most common strain but not all of the strains. Practicing safe sex can lower the chance of contracting HPV or other STDs. However, living a chaste lifestyle (abstinence) until committing to a long-term monogamous relationship is the best and the most effective means of risk reduction.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Real Testimonies from Real Alternatives Clients

Real Alternatives provides support and information to women from all walks of life who have been impacted by an unplanned pregnancy. The Real Alternatives website,, features a number of stories from clients who have benefited from the support of the organization. 

The stories come from a host of women of different ages and backgrounds, a testament to the organization’s desire to provide help to any individual who seeks it. Certain accounts highlight the organization’s all-inclusive attitude in regard to age, as opposed to similar agencies that focus solely on helping younger women dealing with unexpected pregnancies. 

Other women have pointed to a lack of support upon learning about their pregnancy, including disapproval from family and friends and pressure to abort, or complete indifference from their partner. The informed support and welcoming approach of the Real Alternatives team, along with a number of approved service providers, helped these women to identify different ways to address their situation.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Sexually Transmitted Diseases Reach Record High in US

Real Alternatives provides easy-to-understand education surrounding pregnancy, parenting, and sexual health. Targeting its services to pregnant women and women of childbearing age, Real Alternatives strives to help its audiences make informed decisions.

According to recent data available through the Sexually Transmitted Diseases Surveillance Report, collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the incidence of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis has reached a record high in the United States. Chlamydia stands out as the most prevalent of these three diseases, the total number of cases having reached 1.6 million, as compared to 470,000 cases of gonorrhea and close to 28,000 cases of infectious syphilis. 

Close to 50 percent of reported chlamydia cases occur in young women, a percentage significantly higher than the incidence rate in other populations. New diagnoses of syphilis are present primarily in men, the percentage being highest in men who engage in sex with other men (MSM). There were also 600 new cases of syphilis reported in infants in 2016, a rate that indicates the widespread failure of readily available screening procedures.

The most dramatic increase in gonorrhea infection also rests with the male population, and particularly with those in the MSM category. Scientists believe that the 22 percent increase in men with gonorrhea is attributable largely to the resistance of the infection to common antibiotics.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Then-Governor Mike Pence’s Support of Indiana’s Real Alternatives

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 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.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Safeguarding Against STDs


Based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Real Alternatives boasts a network of more than 140 social serve centers in three states dedicated to supporting expectant mothers during their unexpected pregnancies and beyond. Real Alternatives also focuses on educating its clients about the best way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Every year, STDs impact the lives of nearly 20 million individuals in the United States. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Institutes of Health has determined that there are more than 26 different forms of these diseases, which makes the need for prevention greater than ever.

We need to be concerned about 26 known sexually transmitted infections that can turn into incurable diseases that cause cancer, infertility, or death. Some may mistakenly think that using a condom completely protects themselves. Though condoms provide some protection, they do not eliminate the risk completely. This is a dangerous and unhealthy situation in the middle of a medically known epidemic of sexually transmitted infections. The possible exposure to sexually transmitted diseases is tremendous. Education is perhaps one of the most powerful tools that can enable individuals to protect both themselves and their partners.

The Healthiest Choice:
Based on the serious dangers of today's sexually transmitted infection dangers, medical science and common sense have shown that the healthiest choice for young adults is to live a chaste lifestyle by abstaining from sexual activity until marriage.

By being informed of the dangers of a risky sexual lifestyle and the advantages of living a chaste lifestyle, you can effectively lower or prevent the risk of an unplanned pregnancy and/or becoming infected with a sexually transmitted infection which can lead to disease. You can do this by:

First, delaying initiation of intercourse;

Second, reduce the number of partners you have if you are already sexually active; and

Third, decrease the frequency of intercourse you have if you are already sexually active.

Accomplishing anyone of these goals logically results in a reduction in the risks of pregnancy, births, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV. Science has shown that there is only one way to prevent an unplanned pregnancy and from becoming infected with a sexually transmitted infection and disease....that is by practicing chastity resistance skills.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Processing of Emotion for Birth Parents

Real Alternatives exists to provide life-affirming options to women working through an unexpected pregnancy. Real Alternatives provides compassionate care to women. Trained counselors discuss parenting, and share information about adoption. By listening to women and understanding a woman’s hopes, fears and dreams, Real Alternatives helps pregnant women at a very vulnerable period in her life.  
Some women dealing with an unexpected pregnancy may not feel as though they are ready to parent a child, some lack resources, some don’t want to be alone in raising a child. For women seeking a way to provide for their child, adoption is a loving choice, another way of parenting their child. Many birth mothers who chose adoption will opt to have an open adoption. The birth mother will have the opportunity to choose the adoptive parents. The birth mother and the adoptive parents will have the opportunity to meet prior to the birth of the baby. This period of getting to know each other greatly eases fears and anxieties faced by both the birth mother and the adoptive parents. It is not uncommon for birth mothers and adoptive parents to be anxious about meeting each another and wanting to be liked. 

Choosing the adoptive family has a very positive impact on the process. The birth mother will find comfort in knowing who is caring for her child. Sometimes, depending on the open adoption agreement, a birth mother may receive pictures of the baby and sometimes post-placement visits. This allows a birth mother to be reassured that her child is thriving in a loving environment. This is exactly what a birth mother wants for her child. 

Adoptive parents often express sincere gratitude to the birth mother and recognize her sacrifice. 

Ultimately, women who choose adoption, do not choose adoption out of selfishness but choose adoption out of selflessness.