Surgical abortion: what to expect

Eleonore Bridier Abortion

Surgical abortion is a safe and straightforward day-surgery procedure performed by a fully trained doctor, who is an expert in termination of pregnancy and family planning.

How long will I have to stay at the clinic?

A few factors influence how long you will have to stay at the clinic.

  • Overall, expect to spend a total of 4-5 hours at the clinic. This includes the time it takes to be admitted, see the doctor, have the procedure, and recover from anaesthetic.
  • If you’re in your first trimester, the procedure itself can take less than 10 minutes.
  • If you’re beyond your first trimester a longer time is required to complete the procedure. You’ll be advised what to expect when you book, based on your gestation.
  • The time you spend in recovery will vary depending on the type of anaesthetic you have chosen.
  • When you’ve recovered you will be discharged. However, we do require you to have someone there to take you home.

What type of anaesthetic will I have?

  • In consultation with your doctor, you can choose between local anaesthetic, where you are fully awake and aware, or to be sedated: which means you’ll feel drowsy and unaware.
  • If you think you’d prefer to be sedated it’s important to ensure you do not eat anything (including lollies or gum) for 6 hours before your appointment, or any fluid up to 2 hours beforehand.
  • If you’re not sure about which method would suit you best, you can always make a time to speak with one of our nurses over the phone before your appointment.

How should I prepare for my appointment?

  • Carefully read your booking confirmation email and the patient pack attached.
  • Plan how you will get to the clinic, and who will pick you up, keeping in mind our clinics are typically discreetly located.
  • For compassionate reasons young children and babies are not permitted at our clinics, as some patients may find this distressing. We do apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Cancelling or running late?

As a courtesy to others, we ask that you please provide us with at least 24 hours’ notice of any changes or cancellations, and please let us know on the day if you are running late.

Can someone stay with me at the clinic ?

  • You’re welcome to have your companion wait for you at the clinic. However, some clinics have small waiting areas, so it may be more appropriate if they come to collect you when you’re ready to go home.
  • In consideration of other patients, we don’t allow visitors in the procedure or recovery rooms.

What kind of support is available before and after my procedure?

  • Whilst every person will feel differently, for some terminating a pregnancy is a complex decision that causes a lot of anxiety.
  • To assist, we offers a free counselling service for all patients. You can book a counselling appointment by calling our national support centre before or after your procedure.
  • You can also talk to the doctor at your appointment about any concerns you might have, or call our 24/7 aftercare service at any time.