Gynaecology

Termination of pregnancy - early medical termination at home

This page provides further information about your planned early medical termination at home.


Ward visitShow [+]Hide [-]

The medication that you will be given as part of this treatment is called Mifepristone and is the start of your treatment.

This works by altering the hormone balance needed for the pregnancy to continue. You will need to stay in the hospital for about one hour after taking this tablet to be sure you are not sick. If you are sick during this time you will need to take the medication again.

The effects of Mifepristone

You may have no symptoms, or you may have a few period-like cramps which should be relieved with Paracetamol or Codeine (as prescribed). You may also have some light bleeding like a period. If the bleeding is heavy and you are worried contact the ward and speak to one of the nurses.

Their contact numbers are:

  • tel: 0191 2825618 during office hours or
  • tel: 0191 2825640 during the night or at weekends.

The second visit is scheduled for 48 hours after you have taken your tablet.

Second visitShow [+]Hide [-]

On your second visit we will ask you to insert some pessaries into your vagina. You can do this yourself or the nurse can if you prefer.

You will need to stay in the hospital for 20 minutes at least so the pessaries can dissolve. You must ensure that you are escorted home and have support at home while having this treatment.

Once you get home, you will probably feel period-type cramp-like pains. We will advise you to take some of the pain killers provided for you. You will start to bleed, it maybe light at first and then may get heavier over the next few hours. This bleeding is likely to be heavier than a normal period and you may pass heavy clots. This pain usually eases once the pregnancy has passed.

You may wish to relax once you are at home by lying down or watching television, however some women feel more comfortable walking around. The medication that you have been given may make you feel nauseous, you may experience loose stools and your temperature may reduce ever so slightly sometimes making you shiver. This is quite normal.

BleedingShow [+]Hide [-]

We advise you use sanitary towels and not tampons. If you experience continuous and heavy bleeding ie soaking three or more pads in an hour while resting then you should contact the unit for advice.

Following the procedure you can expect to bleed for up to two weeks although this can sometimes continue for up to one month.

When should I be concerned that treatment may not have worked?Show [+]Hide [-]

Treatment may not have worked if:

  • If you have not bled within 24 hours of receiving the pessaries (MIsoprostol)
  • If you have less than four day vaginal bleeding
  • If you still ‘feel pregnant’ at the end of one week, for example you have tender breasts, sickness, tummy growing.
  • If at three weeks the pregnancy test you were given reads positive 
  • If your next period does not come within 4- 6 weeks of your treatment.

When you go home the nurse on the ward will give you a urine pregnancy test, you should do this three weeks after your treatment to ensure it is negative

When can I start contraception?Show [+]Hide [-]

You can start contraception immediately, but we advise not to have intercourse within two weeks after procedure due to the risk of infection. The nurse will discuss this with you on your first visit to the unit and can supply some methods immediately.

If however you are unsure what your options are or undecided the nurse can advise you where your nearest Family Planning Clinic is for you , or arrange an appointment for you to attend the Newcroft Centre to discuss with our experienced doctors and nursing staff at a later date.

It is important that you have effective contraception in the future to ensure that you do not have another pregnancy unplanned.

Telephone follow upShow [+]Hide [-]

The nurse from the ward will contact you four to six hours after the pessaries have been given, to check that you are ok.

On discharge from the unit, the nurse will arrange with you a convenient time for them to contact you by phone, approximately three weeks after your procedure to check you are well, and to check that you have done the pregnancy test supplied to you and this is negative. The nurse will make no more than three attempts to contact you at this stage.

If we are unable to contact you, we will inform your GP that we are unable to confirm the success of the treatment.

If you find that you will not be available for the telephone contact on the agreed day please contact the unit for the nursing staff to arrange a more convenient time.

It is very important that we follow up. Tell us the best number to contact you. If you miss our call, please contact us using the telephone numbers below.

More informationShow [+]Hide [-]

Please remember, we are here to help you - if you have any questions, doubts or worries please feel free to ask

Contact us and not your GP, who may be unaware of the treatment you are receiving.

Contact details

Royal Victoria Infirmary
Queen Victoria Road
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE1 4LP
  • tel: 0191 282 5618 Ward 40 (24 hours)
  • tel: 0191 2825640 Ward 40 Day Unit (Monday to Friday, 9.00am – 5.00pm)

For further information

The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) can offer on-the-spot advice and information about the NHS. You can contact them on:

Useful websites

If you would like further information about health conditions and treatment options, you may wish to have a look at the NHS Choices website. On this website there is an information prescription generator which brings together a wealth of approved patient information from the NHS and charity partners which you may find helpful

Leaflet to print

You can download a PDF document to print the information on this page.pdf.

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