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An abortion is when a pregnancy is terminated, it is when the baby is removed from the womb and dies as a result. If you decide you do not want a baby, having an abortion might be the right option for you.

You can get advice on having an abortion even if you are not sure this is what you want to do. The first appointment you have is to assess what’s going on and find out how you feel and tell you what will happen. Having an appointment does not mean you are having an abortion, you can change your mind at any point.

You can come alone or bring your partner or friend with you. It’s a confidential service so it’s whatever you feel comfortable with.

The earlier an abortion is done in a pregnancy the better because it is safer and easier to perform. Most abortions happen before 20 weeks if pregnancy.

The earlier you get advice, the better because it can take a couple of weeks before an appointment can be made at the hospital. Abortion is illegal after 24 weeks unless the baby has a disability or your life is at risk.

Is there a limit to my confidentiality?

  • You are entitled to confidential advice whatever age you are.
  • We will need to make sure that you understand everything that is involved and come to a decision together about what is best for you. We do not have to tell your GP/ parents/ partner.
  • We might discuss these things with you though to try and get a better picture of what you are worried about and see if there is any way we can make the situation more supportive for you.
  • If we think there is any chance of you being at risk for example with sexual abuse, we may have to talk to social services. We will always try and discuss this with you first.

What happens in an abortion?

This depends how many weeks pregnant you are. Most of the time, we will ask you to go for an appointment at the Homerton hospital. If you are uncomfortable with going there, please tell us early on and we can discuss other options.

At the assessment, if you decide to go ahead, they will take a blood test to make sure you are not anaemic, arrange a scan if you are unsure of the dates, get you to have tests for STIs, give you antibiotics to protect against infection and discuss future contraception.

You will need to sign a consent form to say you are happy for the procedure to occur. They will discuss what is going to happen and tell you about all the possible risks.

You can have either a medical abortion or a surgical abortion. The doctor will take you though all of this but you might like to read this information to be prepared.

Medical Abortion

Early abortion (up to 9 weeks)

You will be given 2 appointments after the assessment. On the first appointment you will be given a tablet to take by mouth. The next appointment you will be given a tablet to take by mouth or put into your vagina. You will feel cramping pains like a period and bleed a little while afterwards.

Surgical Abortion

Late abortion (9 -20 weeks)

This is done whilst you are asleep, you will usually be able to go home afterwards. Sometimes people need to stay overnight.

Are there risks?

There are a few risks but they are rare. You might bleed/ get an infection/ get damage to the womb or still be pregnant so you will need to watch out for some things after you have had the abortion. If you feel unwell/ get tummy pain/ get discharge from down below/ get bleeding that does not stop/ have a temperature or still feel as though you are pregnant, you need to come and see us.

What happens afterwards?

You might be given a follow up appointment to make sure that everything has been successful. Come in and talk to us about future contraception as soon as possible. You might feel low and a bit shaken up after you have an abortion. This is normal. Come and talk to us if you feel like it.