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Medical abortion  

MSI Reproductive Choices UK 20230605_0529

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We offer at-home abortion pills (telemedicine) 

At-home abortion pills (or “abortion telemedicine”) means that eligible clients will be able to take both pills for medical abortion up to 9 weeks and 6 days in their own homes, without attending a clinic.

If you meet safety criteria to allow for medical abortion without a scan, the abortion medication can either be collected by you from one of our clinics or posted to your home address after your phone or face-to-face consultation. 

At-home abortion pills: NHS-funded treatment 

98% of our abortions treatments in the UK are funded by the NHS. This means that there will be no cost to you for your abortion. 

During your initial telephone consultation, we will discuss your pregnancy options and which treatment suits you best based on your unique circumstances. 

You can book online or call our advice line to arrange a consultation. 

NHS logo

What is a medical abortion: the abortion pill 

Medical abortion (or the abortion pill, as it’s sometimes called) involves taking two types of medication at different times to end a pregnancy. 

At MSI Reproductive Choices UK, medical abortion is available up to 9 weeks and 6 days of pregnancy. It is the safest treatment option for most people.  However, not everyone is suitable for a medical abortion, and you may be offered a surgical abortion.

How does a medical abortion work 

A medical abortion uses medication to end a pregnancy. The treatment involves taking two types of medicine at two different times. It is the safest treatment option up to 9 weeks and 6 days of pregnancy for most people. 

Some clients may need to take the two types of medicine at the same time; if this applies to you, the nurse will discuss this with you during the appointment.

For full and detailed guidance on how to take abortion pills, please read our Medical Abortion Treatment and Aftercare Booklet.

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

You will receive a package containing your abortion tablets. Once you receive the pack, take your first tablet (1 mifepristone tablet), swallowing it with plenty of water. Most people can continue their daily routine as normal after taking mifepristone. Occasionally, you may experience some bleeding and pain.

The second medication, misoprostol, 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.

24-48 hours after completing step 1, place all 4 misoprostol tablets either vaginally (which we recommend as there are fewer side-effects), or if you prefer in your mouth between your gum and cheek.

The tablets work best if you leave 24-48 hours between the first and second steps, but you can take them up to 72 hours after (please note that if more than 72 hours pass and you have not taken the misoprostol tablets you may need to come back to the clinic to repeat the treatment).

Please remember that if you are 9 weeks and 6 days gestation on the day of taking the first tablet (mifepristone) you must take this second set of tablets (misoprostol) no more than 24 hours later.

You can take your chosen method of pain killers 10 minutes before you plan to take the misoprostol.

If you are sure that you have already passed the pregnancy after completing step 2, you do not need to follow step 3. If you are not sure (which will be most people), please take the remaining 2 tablets of misoprostol 3 hours after completing step 2.

You are likely to experience strong cramping and bleeding which can last a few hours, but pain and bleeding is different for each person. For more detailed information on pain and bleeding during a medical abortion – and our guidance on pain relief – visit our medical abortion aftercare page.

It is important that you take the pregnancy test included in the medical abortion pack 3 weeks after you have completed Step 3. Please use the pregnancy test we have provided as it is different to the shop bought tests. 
The pregnancy hormone can be present for up to two months after an abortion. This means that a shop-bought pregnancy test may remain positive for up to two months, even though you are no longer pregnant, which is why you need to use the special one we provide. 

If your pregnancy test is positive, call our aftercare line on 0345 122 1441 to speak to a healthcare professional. Our team can help you to book an appointment for an assessment, and further treatment if needed. 

A guide to taking abortion pills

In this short video, Dr Yvonne Neubauer explains what to expect when you take medical abortion pills: what is in the pack that you will receive, how to take the pills and how to do the pregnancy test (included in the pack) 3 weeks after the treatment. 

Your medical abortion treatment and aftercare booklet 

This booklet will give you information about what to expect during treatment and the provide advice for your recovery after a medical abortion.  It is important that you read this information. 

Your abortion consultation 

A consultation is the first step when accessing abortion care. It usually takes place over the phone, but if you prefer to, you can also have a face-to-face consultation in one of our clinics. 

During your initial consultation, we will assess your eligibility for abortion telemedicine (pills by post). This means that if you need a scan to assess your exact gestation, we will invite you to one of our clinics across the UK for a face-to-face appointment. 

Nurse showing client how to take abortion pills

What to expect during your abortion treatment 

This page includes a timeline of each stage of accessing abortion care with MSI UK, to help you know what to expect. 

What happens during your appointment at one of our clinics

When you arrive at one of our clinics, you will have a medical assessment with one of our specialist nurses. They may need to confirm how many weeks you are pregnant with an ultrasound scan. 

Our specialist nurses will discuss your medical history, talk about contraception, and go through the medical abortion process with you in detail. 

Our specialist nurses will advise you on how to take your abortion pills and give you aftercare advice. 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

Get in touch 

We are here if you’d like to talk through your options with someone. Call us to talk to an advisor.  

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.  

Everybody is different, but the abortion usually starts within a few hours and is usually completed within 1 – 2 days. Occasionally, it can take up to 2 weeks to fully pass all the pregnancy tissue, and you may continue to bleed for up to 8 weeks. 

You are likely to experience strong cramping and bleeding which can last a few hours, but pain and bleeding is different for each person. During the abortion, it would be expected for you to pass the pregnancy tissue and most people will pass blood clots which can be as large as a lemon. 

What to expect after a medical abortion 

Recovery time after an abortion will be different for everyone, but you’ll usually feel better within a few days. However, if you would like to talk to a nurse after your treatment, we’re here to help. You can call our aftercare line 24 hours a day and talk to one of our friendly, experienced nurses. You can always call our dedicated aftercare line: 0345 122 1441

Looking for more information about medical abortion? 

We are here to answer your questions and help you throughout the process. We are here for you. 

Learn more about abortion 

Visit the pages below to read medical abortion stories from our clients, to learn about UK abortion law and to find a calculator to help you find your gestation (how many weeks pregnant you are). 

MSI Reproductive Choices UK 20230612_0680

Medical abortion stories 

Abortion stories from our clients to feel reassured that you are not alone. 

MSI – United Kingdom – 20230605

Gestation calculator 

A useful tool to calculate your gestation (how many weeks pregnant you are).   

MSI Reproductive Choices – United Kingdom – 20230605

Abortion and your rights 

Learn more about abortion law in the UK and your rights.