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What to expect

A guide to abortion consultation and treatment

We want you to feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible when you come for an abortion.

So our team will be there to support you at every stage.

When you book your appointment with us, you'll be given the option of having a consultation over the phone, or face-to-face. During the consultation we will talk you through your abortion care options.

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What happens during your consultation

We will ask about your medical history to make sure that treatment is safe for you. It’s very important to tell us about any health problems you may have, as well as any drugs or medication you are taking.

In order to fulfil legal requirements, we will ask what your reasons are for wanting an abortion. If at any time you are uncertain about your decision we can arrange an appointment for you with one of our counsellors. Continuing with treatment is your decision only, and we will support you whatever you decide. Any information you give will be confidential.

Your consultation is a good time to discuss contraception too, as you could get pregnant again almost immediately after your abortion if you’re not using contraception. We can talk through different options with you and help you find something that works well for you.

Learn more about Contraception

What happens during your medical assessment

During your consultation, your health will be assessed to make sure you are well enough to go ahead with your treatment.

This assessment may cover an ultrasound scan (if needed), your general health, blood pressure check, blood tests, and tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). During your appointment we'll explain these tests to you, how you will receive your results, and answer any questions you may have.


Ultrasound scan

We maye need to assess how many weeks pregnant you are using ultrasound scanning. Scans use sound waves to build a picture of the inside of the body. Scans are completely safe and painless, and are usually done on the abdomen, although if you've been pregnant for 6 weeks or less, we may need to insert a small ultrasound probe into your vagina for clearer imaging. We will not show you the scan images on screen during this process, however if you feel that you would like to see the images you are welcome to ask.

MSI UK nurse measuring blood pressure to a woman in clinic

Blood pressure and pulse rate

Before a surgical abortion, we will check that your blood pressure and pulse rates are at a safe level. We understand that times of stress or anxiety can affect blood pressure and pulse rate. If your pulse and blood pressure are high, we may suggest that you can have a little walk or a sit down to try to relax. When you feel more relaxed we can assess your blood pressure again.

Blood tests

During your abortion treatment appointment we might screen you for the following blood conditions:

  • Rhesus negative
    We might test your blood to see if it is rhesus negative (RhD negative). If you are RhD negative you will be offered an injection of anti-D immunoglobulin and this will be explained to you in more detail at your appointment.

  • Anaemia
    We will test your blood for signs of anaemia (fewer red blood cells than normal). This is to see if a referral is needed before the abortion, for example to be prescribed iron supplements.

  • Sickle cell
    If you're identified as being at risk of sickle cell disease, your blood sample will be screened for this. Sickle cell disease is usually detected during pregnancy and is a blood disorder which affects blood cells. We take this into account when making sure treatment is safe for you, and to see if a referral is needed before the abortion.

STI testing

If you’ve had sex without a condom, you could be at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

During an abortion appointment you may be offered tests for:

  • Gonorrhoea
  • HIV
  • Syphillis
  • Chlamydia

If we offer you these tests, we strongly advise that you have them as a precaution.

Some STIs do not have any symptoms, but even STIs without symptoms can be passed on to sexual partners. 

Testing for STIs is important so that you can treat any infection as soon as possible to avoid any long term effects.

Looking for more information about our abortion services?

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

Consenting to your abortion

Before consenting to your abortion, we will explain all of the known side effects, risks, and possible complications of your abortion treatment to you.

If you have any questions, a nurse will be able to answer them for you, so please feel free to discuss anything.

You'll be asked to read a consent form to say that you understand all potential risks and what the treatment will be like.

We will not proceed with abortion treatment unless you are certain of your decision. We have counsellors that you can speak to on the telephone ahead of your appointment if you would like.

If there’s anything worrying you after an abortion – either physically or emotionally – we’re here to help. You can call our aftercare line any time on 0345 122 1441.

Learn more about Aftercare

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