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How to prepare for your abortion 

MSI Reproductive Choices UK 20230612_0722

Home      What to expect from an abortion      How to prepare 

How to prepare for your treatment 

At the end of your consultation, your abortion treatment will be arranged and you can begin to prepare for your abortion treatment. 

On this page, you will find information about what to bring with you, how to arrange travel and childcare, and guidance on eating and drinking before your treatment.  

Arranging travel  

It’s important to arrange your return travel before you come to your appointment as you won’t be able to drive yourself home if you have had medical abortion treatment or a surgical abortion with sedation or general anaesthetic. We advise against using public transport after your abortion treatment. 
We strongly recommend that you have someone available to travel home with you after your appointment, and stay with you for the next 24 hours. 
For clients traveling from overseas, we know you will have travelled some way to get to your appointment. You will want to return home as soon as you can, but we strongly recommend you stay overnight locally with friends or family if possible. 
By contacting us ahead of travelling we can answer any questions you might have on treatment options, prices, travel, how long you should stay in England, and if you should be accompanied on your trip. Call us on 0345 300 8090 to speak with one of our advisors. 

Overseas client arriving at abortion clinic
MSI UK West London abortion clinic

Arranging childcare 

Unfortunately, you won’t be able bring any children into the centre with you.  This is so we can be as sensitive as possible to others who may be in the waiting areas. Please arrange childcare if you can, as your appointment may take a number of hours. Please note that as some of our centres may be within a GP practice there may be babies/children in shared waiting rooms. 

If you’re breastfeeding 

Small traces of the abortion medication could pass into your breast milk but only
temporarily. You do not need to stop breastfeeding during the medical abortion. Although it is unlikely, some drugs may cause nausea and vomiting or drowsiness in the infant.

Bringing someone with you to your appointment 

You can attend your appointment with one person: however they will need to wait in the waiting area during your appointment. 

Guidance on eating and drinking before your treatment 

48 hours after treatment – do not drink alcohol until 48 hours after treatment

48 hours after treatment – do not drink alcohol until 48 hours after treatment  

For your safety, it’s very important that your stomach is empty before you have a procedure under general anaesthetic or sedation.  
– 6 hours before treatment – stop eating (you must not eat anything for at least 6 hours prior to your appointment. You can drink clear liquids such as water)  
– 2 hours before treatment – stop drinking (you can drink clear liquids, such as water, only up to 2 hours before your treatment)  
– 48 hours after treatment – do not drink alcohol until 48 hours after treatment  
Please avoid heavy meals as they may not have passed through your stomach in time for your appointment.  
You can chew gum and suck boiled sweets up to when you get called through for your procedure.  
Anything you drink before your procedure should be a clear liquid, such as water or clear apple juice. Please do not drink milk or anything milk-based.  
You will be able to eat and drink as normal after your treatment. 

What to take with you to your appointment 

We’ll ask you to bring the following things with you to your appointment:  

  • Any medication you’re taking (including inhalers).  
  • Any information you have from your doctor about any medical conditions. 
  • Your referral letter from your doctor or family planning clinic, if you have one. 
  • Any notes from a previous consultation. 
  • An extra pair of comfortable underwear.  
  • Sanitary pads suitable for a heavy flow, not tampons or menstrual cup
  • Your glasses and contact lens kit if you wear contact lenses. You may need to remove your contact lenses before your treatment.  
  • Your payment method, if you’re having private (non-NHS) treatment. 
Nurses helping clients in abortion recovery

Abortion counselling at MSI UK 

We are here to support you as you prepare for your abortion. We provide free, confidential counselling services as part of abortion care. Our counselling team is available any time you need to talk before, during and after your treatment. Call us on 0345 300 8090 to arrange a counselling appointment.  

What to expect when accessing abortion care 

Visit the pages below to learn about what will happen on the day of your treatment appointment, to read abortion stories from our clients and to learn about what to expect from abortion recovery and aftercare.  

MSI Reproductive Choices – United Kingdom – 20230605

On the day of your appointment  

Learn more about what to expect on the day of your appointment. 

MSI Reproductive Choices UK 20230612_0680

Abortion stories 

Read abortion stories from our clients to find out what to expect.


Abortion recovery and aftercare 

Learn more about what to expect following an abortion and how to support your recovery.