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Medical abortion

An abortion that uses medication to end a pregnancy.

We offer medical abortions in all of our clinics.

The treatment involves taking two types of medicine at two different times. It is the safest treatment option up to 9 weeks and 3 days of pregnancy for most women.

Not all women are suitable for a medical abortion, although if that’s the case, you may still be able to have a surgical abortion with us.

Ask your GP about medical abortion.

Or call us any time to discuss your options with one of our nurses

0345 300 8090

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What is medical abortion?

Medical abortion involves taking two different medications.

The first medication that is taken, called mifepristone, blocks the hormone needed for pregnancy to grow.

Either on the same day, 24, 48 or 72 hours later, a second medication is taken called misoprostrol, which causes the body to expel the pregnancy from the womb. Misoprostol causes the softening and opening of the cervix (neck of the womb) and contractions of the womb, so that the pregnancy can pass through the vagina.

This two-stage dose of medication is a very safe way to terminate an early pregnancy.

What to expect on the day

When you arrive at one of our clinics, you'll have a consultation (if you've not already had a phone consultation) and medical assessment with one of our specialist nurses.

They'll check how many weeks you have been pregnant with an ultrasound scan. They’ll also discuss your medical history, talk about contraceptives, and go through the medical abortion process with you in detail.

You’ll take two sets of pills as part of your abortion. The first pill - mifepristone - is swallowed with water, and once you’ve taken it you can leave the centre as soon as you want. You’ll then come back to see us to take a second set of pills – misoprostol – either on the same day, or up to three days later.

There are two different ways to take misoprostol, either by mouth (dissolved between the cheek and gum) or by inserting the pills into your vagina. The method will depend on the amount of time taken between your first and second appointment. After taking the second medication, you’ll go home to pass the pregnancy.

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What happens during a medical abortion

During a medical abortion it's likely you'll experience strong cramping and heavy bleeding for a few hours, although this varies for each person. As part of your consultation we’ll give you advice on painkillers you can take.

The abortion will usually begin within 2 - 5 hours, and is usually fully complete within 1 - 2 days. During this time it would be expected for you to pass the pregnancy tissue and blood clots that may range in size from small (the size of a pound coin) to quite large (the size of a lemon) – this is a normal part of the abortion process.

Every person is different, and will experience different levels of pain and bleeding. We will let you know when to take further pain relief at your appointment. Once the pregnancy has been passed, your bleeding will usually become less. It may continue to be quite heavy for a day or two as the womb needs to return to its normal size.

Our nurses will be there to answer any questions and to help you feel relaxed and comfortable during and after your treatment.

Our nurses can answer any questions you have after your treatment, and are available on our 24-hour aftercare line - 0345 122 1441.

Contact us

Looking for more information about medical abortion?

You’ll find answers to the questions people ask most about medical abortion here. If you can’t find out the information you need, please call us on 0345 300 8090.

A client from England shares her story

Although this was not a situation I ever wanted to be in, I cannot fault any of the staff from start to finish.

A client from Galway shares her story

I really wanted to share my story as the experience was as positive as it could be given the circumstances

Jessica's story

The nurse in charge of my care was so caring and understanding and made everything a whole lot easier for me.

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    Speak to someone today to learn more about your options.

    If you’re pregnant and want to discuss your options, get in touch with our friendly call centre staff for a confidential chat.