When faced with the difficult situation of an unplanned pregnancy, abortion can seem to be the obvious choice, but many people know very little about it and may want more information to be able to make that decision.

How is abortion done?

  • Abortions are free under the NHS and are carried out through a hospital or at a private clinic.
  • Early medical abortions can be carried out if you are less than 9 weeks pregnant. By this method you take a tablet and 48 hours later use a second medication. The pregnancy is then lost through bleeding.
  • Between 7 and 15 weeks of pregnancy, most abortions are done using the suction method under local anaesthetic (area is numbed) or general anaesthetic (where you are asleep).
  • Medical abortions are carried out from 9 – 20 weeks of pregnancy and involve the same medication as Early medical abortions. However the abortion will take longer and more than one dose of the second tablets may be needed.
  • Abortions over 15 weeks can involve surgical dilation and evacuation under general anaesthetic. After gently stretching and dilating the cervix, forceps and suction are used to remove the pregnancy.
  • There are two options for late abortions from 20 – 24 weeks.  They involve either the surgical dilation and evacuation method with a general anaesthetic or a medical abortion using medication.  Either method will require an overnight stay in hospital.

What are the risks?

  • No clinical procedure is without risk, but abortion has a low risk particularly during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy
  • Infection can be a risk. This can be treated with antibiotics but if not can lead to pelvic inflammation
  • Heamorrhage (bleeding), damage to cervix or womb

Everyone varies in their reaction to their abortion, and some can experience:

  • An immediate sense of relief
  • A sense of loss, grief, guilt or regret
  • Emptiness and numbness
  • Tearfulness and depression
  • A strong desire for another baby
  • Relationship problems
  • A problem being near other babies

These kind of problems are more likely to happen if:

  • You don’t feel comfortable with the idea of abortion
  • You feel pressurised into the decision and feel you have no choice
  • You have suffered with depression previously
  • You have strong maternal feelings

If you would like to talk to one of our trained counsellors to help you think this through, do contact us at CedarOak. We are able to direct you to local abortion providers.

Or read an NHS document about how an abortion is performed.

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