Termination of pregnancy - Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA)

Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA) is suitable for women who are less than 10 weeks pregnant.

This information explains what happens to you when you are in hospital.

Before the procedureShow [+]Hide [-]

You will be admitted to the unit on the day of your procedure. You will meet the doctor performing the operation. They will answer any questions you have.

Two to three hours before the operation you will be given some tablets (prostaglandin) to insert into the vagina to (soften) the neck of your womb. The nurse can insert them if you prefer.

One hour before the procedure you will be given a pain killer such as Paracetamol or Diclofenac. Immediately before your procedure you will be asked to empty your bladder.

The nurse caring for you will take you into the examination room

Please note: you may eat and drink as normal while waiting for the procedure to take place.

During the procedureShow [+]Hide [-]

A nurse will stay with you throughout the procedure. She will provide reassurance and support

In the examination room you will be transferred onto the examination couch and your legs suspended in stirrups

The doctor will gently insert a small speculum into the vagina to see the neck of your womb (as if you were having a smear.) An injection of local anaesthetic is then given into the cervix. This rarely causes pain, if it does tell the nurse.

Following the injection the cervix is dilated. This sometimes causes a little discomfort. If necessary ‘gas and air’ is available.

The pregnancy is then removed. There is no noise during the procedure which takes less than five minutes.

For whatever reason, and at any time if you feel that you can’t continue with the procedure, let the nurse/doctor know. They will then discuss further treatment with you.

After the procedureShow [+]Hide [-]

Within one hour of finishing the procedure you may feel ready to go home.

Sometimes you experience some crampy tummy pains after the procedure. Pain killers are available if you need them.

The risk of the procedureShow [+]Hide [-]

If the bleeding is excessive, you may need a blood transfusion.

A small number of women may develop an infection; this is easily treated by antibiotics

There is a small risk the uterus is perforated during the operation, if the doctor suspects that this has happened; you may possibly need to say overnight on the unit for further treatment. This happens in less than 1% of cases.

Future contraceptionShow [+]Hide [-]

It is very important to have effective contraception for when you leave the ward. The nursing staff will be happy to discuss this with you, and can provide further information about the options available.

More informationShow [+]Hide [-]

For more information about MVA, please contact:

  • Royal Victoria Infirmary, Queen Victoria Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 4LP
  • Tel: 0191 282 5618 Ward 40 (24 hours)
  • Tel: 0191 282 5640 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 freephone:

Useful websites

For further information about health conditions and treatment options, click onto the NHS Choices website. On this website there is an information prescription generator which brings together approved patient information from the NHS and charity partners which you may find helpful.

Leaflet to download

You can also download the information on this page as a PDF to print.

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