Termination of Pregnancy (Abortion)
An abortion is the medical process of ending a pregnancy so it doesn’t result in the birth of a baby. It’s also sometimes known as a termination. The pregnancy is ended either by taking medications or having a minor surgical procedure. Abortions can only be carried out in a hospital or a licensed clinic. To get an abortion you can visit a contraception clinic, family planning clinic, sexual health clinic or contact to a gynaecologist.
Costs for abortions vary depending on the stage of pregnancy and the method used to carry out the procedure also depends on clinic.
An abortion can be carried out after 24 weeks in certain circumstances – for example, if the mother’s life is at risk or the child would be born with a severe disability. The length of your pregnancy is calculated from the first day of your last period. If you’re not sure how long you’ve been pregnant, you may need an ultrasound scan to check. Abortions are simpler and safer the earlier they’re carried out. Getting advice early on will give you more time to make a decision if you’re unsure.
Some women may be certain they want to have an abortion, while others may find it more difficult to make a decision. The decision to have an abortion is yours alone. But all women requesting an abortion should be offered the opportunity to discuss their options and choices with, and receive support from, a trained pregnancy counsellor. Impartial information and support is available from a counselling service at the abortion clinic. You may also want to speak to your partner, friends or family, but you don’t need to discuss it with anyone else and they don’t have a say in the final decision.
There are two options:
- Medical abortion – you take two medications, usually 24 to 48 hours apart, to induce a miscarriage.
- Surgical abortion – you have a minor procedure to remove the pregnancy and normally go home soon afterwards.
After an abortion, you’ll probably need to take things easy for a few days. It’s likely you’ll experience some discomfort and vaginal bleeding for up to two weeks.
Risks of an abortion
Abortions are safest if they’re carried out as early as possible in pregnancy. Most women won’t experience any problems, but there is a small risk of complications, such as infection of the womb, the pregnancy remaining in the womb, excessive bleeding, damage to the cervix, and damage to the womb. If complications do occur, further treatment including surgery may be required.
Having an abortion won’t affect your chances of becoming pregnant again and having normal pregnancies in the future. In fact, you may be able to get pregnant immediately afterwards and should use contraception if you want to avoid this.