Termination of pregnancy
This page gives you information about termination of pregnancy, and the options that are open to you.
You’ve made a decision. So what happens now?
Call us as soon as you can
Your call will be taken by a member of our staff who will offer you an appointment in our clinic to discuss your options. The receptionist will need your name, date of birth and the date of your last menstrual period. All information is treated in the strictest of confidence.
The legal limit for abortion in this country is 24 weeks and so time is very important. An early appointment helps us to talk through all the treatment options available to you and plan the treatment of your choice as quickly as possible. If you do choose not to continue with your pregnancy, we can support your decision up to 20 weeks.
Of course you may not know how many weeks pregnant you are - we will scan you in clinic and confirm this for you. To help us get a clear picture when we scan you, please try to have a ‘full bladder’ when you come to the clinic.
How to find us
Directions to the wardShow [+] Hide [-]
Ward 40 (Day Unit) is situated on level two of Leazes Wing at the RVI. To find us:
- Come through the Main Entrance of Leazes Wing.
- Walk past the reception desk and take the corridor on your right until you reach the lifts and take these or the stairs up to Level 2.
- Ward 40 is clearly signposted from the lifts and is a short walk past the main waiting area.
How to get to the hospital
You will have a scan to confirm how many weeks pregnant you are, usually an abdominal scan, but you may also need a transvaginal scan (an ultrasound scan to examine inside your vagina). During the abdominal scan, one of our nurses will place the scanner on your stomach; this transfers pictures of the pregnancy to the scan machine. During a transvaginal scan, the nurse will put a small probe into your vagina.
Try not to worry - our nurses will explain all about the procedure before sking for your consent and we will respect your privacy and dignity throughout your examination. The Nurse Practitioner will then discuss treatment options with you. She will also need to take some blood samples and discuss future contraception plans with you.
If you are sure
If you are sure you do not wish to continue with the pregnancy, the appropriate treatment options will be discussed with you. Please note that the procedure is not carried out during your first visit. When the best option for you has been agreed, the Nurse Practitioner will give you a full explanation of what to expect, discuss a suitable date for you to come in to hospital and what you should bring with you. We will arrange for you to come in to a safe and supportive environment where our specially trained nurses and doctors will look after you.
If you are unsure
If you feel unsure during your appointment, or the Nurse Practitioner feels you are not completely confident about your decision, she may advise you to see a counsellor. We can arrange this for you and, following this appointment, we will continue to support your decision – whatever you decide. We will ask you to seek support from a family member or your partner, but remember we will always remain confidential and if for any reason we need to contact anyone regarding your treatment, we will discuss this with you first.
How many weeks pregnant you are will determine what kind of treatment we can offer you. Your options will be discussed in full with the Nurse Practitioner to help you make a clear and informed decision. Here are details of the treatments we can offer according to the week of the pregnancy:
1. Up to 9 weeks - early medical abortion
An early medical abortion or the ‘abortion pill’ is available up to 9 weeks of pregnancy and provides an alternative to surgery. Two different medicines are used to cause the pregnancy to abort. Three or four visits are needed to complete the procedure. Please note that not all women are suitable for this treatment - we will discuss your medical history first to see if an early medical abortion is the right option for you.
There is also an option for termination of pregnancy at home.
2. 9 to 20 weeks - medical abortion
Between 9 and 20 weeks of pregnancy you can still have a medical abortion. As described previously two different medicines are given but closer together and so you may require an overnight stay in hospital. Our Nurse Practitioner will give you more details during your initial appointment.
3. Up to 12 weeks - early surgical abortion
Up to 12 weeks of pregnancy,an early surgical abortion can be performed. This involves gentle suction to remove the pregnancy from the uterus. The procedure is quick nd simple to perform, taking no longer than 5 minutes and a general anaesthetic is not always required. Again our Nurse Practitioner will discuss details of this treatment option with you.
4. 13 to 20 weeks - surgical abortion
Between 13 and 20 weeks of pregnancy a surgical abortion can still be performed although the procedure will take a bit longer - around 10 to 15 minutes, as the cervix (the opening of the uterus) will need to be dilated (opened). A general anaesthetic or sedation is recommended for this part of the procedure. If the pregnancy is beyond 15 weeks extra medication may be required to prepare the cervix for the procedure.
We may not be able to offer you an abortion beyond 19 weeks. As we confirm your pregnancy by ultrasound scan, we can still see you if you are unsure of your exact dates. We will scan you and if we cannot support you, we will, with your permission, liaise with bpas who can offer an NHS funded late abortion (up to 24 weeks).
Contact bpas 08457 30 40 30 (24hrs) British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) for more information.
Should you have any questions about what happens following treatment, please ask your Nurse Practitioner.
For free, confidential sexual health service and advice, including pregnancy decision making and emergency contraception, contact the NHS contraceptive and sexual health service, at the New Croft Centre in Newcastle.
You can contact:
- the 24 hour direct appointment line
- tel: 0191 282 9300
You can also get more details about:
The NHS Choices website can also provide useful information.