Termination of pregnancy - medical

This page gives you information about medical termination of pregnancy.

First visitShow [+]Hide [-]

During this treatment, the medication you will be given is a tablet called Mifepristone - this is the start of your treatment. This works by altering the hormone balance needed for pregnancy to continue.

You will be asked to remain in hospital for approximately one hour after taking this tablet to be sure you are not sick. If you are sick during this time you will be required to take the medication again.

The effects of MifepristoneShow [+]Hide [-]

You may have no symptoms, or you may have a few ‘period –like’ cramps which should be relieved with Paracetamol or other similar pain killers (not Aspirin).

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, they will be happy to help.

Their contact numbers are:

  • tel: 0191 282 5618 or
  • tel: 0191 282 5640 during the night or at weekends.

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

Second visitShow [+]Hide [-]

On the second visit you will be admitted to the unit. You may bring someone with you who will be able to stay with you. You can expect to be there at least six to eight hours. In some circumstances you may need to stay in over-night, this will be discussed with you by the nurse on the unit at time of admission. You must arrange an escort home by car or taxi.

On the unit you will be given some pessaries, these are small tablets that you place high up into the vagina to make the womb contract, (a nurse can do this if you are unsure).

If the pregnancy is less than nine weeks you maybe given two more tablets to swallow approximately four hours after the vaginal pessaries. If the pregnancy is over nine weeks you may need to take more tablets over three hours until the pregnancy aborts.

During this time you will have some bleeding and period like cramps will develop. Most women will only need simple pain killers, but if your pain is more severe please ask the nurse for some stronger pain killers. The nurse will encourage you to mobilise as this helps relieve some of the discomfort.

You can eat and drink as you wish.

Once you have started to bleed you will need to use bedpans so that the nurse can observe for the pregnancy to be passed (the nurse will explain this to you on admission).

What to bring in with youShow [+]Hide [-]

It is advisable to wear comfortable clothing and may be advisable to bring in a change of clothes for you.

In some cases on overnight bag maybe necessary (the nurse can advise during you first visit).

What are the risks?Show [+]Hide [-]

Bleeding and pain, although a usual part of the process, does not always mean that the treatment has been a total success. If the bleeding is excessive, you may need a blood transfusion and in a small group of women it may be necessary to have a minor surgical procedure to complete the treatment.

A small amount of women develop an infection (antibiotics will be given to you on the unit to try and reduce the risk)

In early pregnancies less than nine weeks gestation if the pregnancy has not been identified you will be allowed home, but it is vey important that you return to unit after three weeks for an assessment to ensure the treatment has been successful.

Future contraceptiveShow [+]Hide [-]

It is very important to have effective contraceptive for when you leave the ward.

The nursing staff will be happy to discuss this with you and can administer some contraceptives but if not can guide you to the nearest service to where you live.

Options in brief

  • The Pill should be started within 24 hours of the procedure. An initial supply will be given to you and repeat supply can be obtained from your local family planning clinic/GP
  • The Injection (Depo) can be given to you on discharge from the unit and needs to be repeated every 11-12 weeks.
  • The Implant can be fitted immediately after your procedure.
  • The IUD/ IUS (coil) can be inserted within 14 days of your procedure. This can be carried out by your GP surgery or local family planning clinic 
  • The CAP (diaphragm) can be supplied and fitted within one to two weeks after your procedure at your GP surgery or local family planning clinic
  • Sterilisation: You can be referred to see a Gynaecologist at the RVI to discuss this or via your GP to your local unit.
  • Condoms should always be used to reduce the risk of sexual transmitted infections.

Please remember that we are here to help you. If you have any questions, doubts or worries please feel free to ask.

More informationShow [+]Hide [-]

You can get more information about medical termination of pregnancy from:

Contact details

Royal Victoria Infirmary
Queen Victoria Road
Newcastle upon Tyne
  • tel: 0191 282 5618 Ward 40 (24 hours)
  • tel: 0191 282 5640 Ward 40 Day Unit (Monday to Friday, 9.00am – 5.00pm)

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

For more information about health conditions and treatment options, click on the NHS Choices website. On this website there is also 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 also download a PDF version of the information on this page for print.pdf

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