Sedation information

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Please read this guide carefully and ask us if you have any questions.

Types of anaesthesia

The type of anaesthetic you choose may depend on:

  • The type of procedure you are having
  • The clinic where you are having your procedure
  • Any medical conditions you may have
  • Your personal preference.

Local anaesthetic

An injection is given to numb part of your body. You will be awake and aware of what is happening. You may experience some discomfort during the procedure.

IV sedation

A needle is used to put a thin plastic tube into a vein in the back of your hand or arm. Small amounts of medicine are given to make you relaxed and sleepy.  In most cases, you will not be aware during the procedure, or remember it afterwards.

Conscious sedation

Sometimes a lighter level of sedation is needed or preferred. You will still be sleepy, but not unconscious, and may have some awareness of what is happening. This is the only level
of sedation available at our Penrith clinic.

General anaethesia

This is where you are unconscious and won’t feel pain during a procedure. Medicines are given in the same way as with sedation or breathed in as gases. You will need help breathing by a mask or breathing tube. We only use this type of anaesthesia for tubal ligation (tying tubes).

IV sedation and risks

This is the most common anaesthesia for surgical abortion. It is also sometimes used with IUD insertion and vasectomy.

A specially trained doctor will check your health and discuss sedation and any risks. This doctor will give you your sedation and look after you during your procedure.

Please tell your doctor if you have ever had any problems with previous anaesthetics.

Modern sedation is generally very safe but there some risks.

Allergic reaction

You may have an allergic reaction to the sedation medicines. This is rare. Please tell the doctor about any previous allergic reactions.

Airway spasm

Your airway may get tight making it hard to breathe. Tell the doctor if you smoke, have asthma or have recently had a cold or chest infection as these may increase risk.


You may vomit and inhale fluid from the stomach. This can affect your breathing and cause pneumonia. It is very important that you follow the fasting instructions given. This will lower the risk of aspiration when under sedation.

Important note

There may be other rare risks that affect the heart or lungs. There may also be risks specific to you. Your doctor will discuss any other relevant risks with you.

Preparing for IV sedation

Important note

Remember: If you choose to have IV sedation, a support person must take you home and stay with you until the day after your procedure.

Fasting guidelines:

If you’re having IV sedation, you must follow these rules.

If you don’t follow these rules, we will have to delay or cancel your appointment.

Preparing for your appointment:

  • 24 hours before your appointment
    • Do not drink alcohol
    • Do not take illegal drugs
  • 6 hours before your appointment
    • Do not eat anything (including lollies and gum). You can continue to drink 1 small glass of water per hour
  • 2 hours before your appointment
    • Do not drink anything

You can take your regular medication with a small glass of water unless one of our staff have asked you not to.

After IV sedation

You cannot have IV sedation unless you understand and have arranged the following:

  • After your procedure:
    • Your support person must come to the clinic to collect you
    • Your support person must take you home (you cannot take a taxi/Uber home alone)
  • Overnight after your procedure:
    • Your support person needs to stay with you overnight after your procedure
  • For 24 hours after your procedure:
    • Do not drive or operate machinery
    • Do not drink alcohol
    • Do not make any important or legal decisions

Breastfeeding after sedation

If you are currently breastfeeding, ensure that you have prepared enough in advance to cover the time that you will be attending the clinic. For the medications used in our clinics, no waiting times or discarding is necessary. After your procedure you can continue breastfeeding as normal.

Free 24/7 aftercare

Our 24-hour aftercare phone service connects you to experienced registered nurses, at any time of the day or night.

Call our aftercare nurses on 1300 888 022 if you have any concerns.

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This HTML document was last updated on 14 September 2020.