I’ve read about ‘spontaneous abortions’ and ‘natural abortions’ online, couldn’t I just do that?
'Natural home abortions' don’t mean that they are a safe abortion method.
We strongly advise that you don’t try any method described in this way at home. As well as the health risks from not having specialist clinicians guide you through the process, you would also be breaking the law by self-inducing a miscarriage at home. This fact stops some who try these methods from seeking urgent medical help if something doesn’t go to plan for fear of being accused and charged.
We don’t want women risk their health, or risk prosecution, so please call us and we can talk you through accessing safe and legal abortion care in England.
I’ve seen the abortion pill for sale online, couldn’t I just do that?
Some abortion pill(s) that can be bought online may not be the same as the tablets that would be part of a medical abortion treatment in an abortion clinic. You may therefore be putting yourself at risk if taking these pills without a medical pre-assessment like you would receive in clinic. Some of the risks of taking the pill(s) without a medical assessment are:
- If your pregnancy is ectopic it would be dangerous to take the abortion pills
- You could also be at risk of complication if you have existing health conditions such as asthma or if you suffer from migraines
- If you are on medication, these could interact with the abortion pills
- There could be a risk of infection if you are not supplied with anti-biotic tablets following the abortion pill(s) like you would be in clinic
- If your blood group is Rhesus D negative, you would receive an Anti-D injection in our centre which will stop your immune system from developing antibodies which would harm future pregnancies. This service would not be available if you were buying the abortion pill(s) online without supervision
- If ordered online, the pills you receive may not be abortion pills
This would all be covered in a medical pre-assessment within a centre to ensure your safety.
Buying and taking the pill(s) online to induce an abortion at home is also against the law. Women have been prosecuted for this. The risk of prosecution can make it difficult to ask for help if you feel unwell after taking the pills. When you access abortion care through the legal, regulated channels such as Marie Stopes UK clinics in England, we have nurses on the phone 24 hours a day to speak to you if you have any health concerns after your abortion. You would also be able to receive aftercare in Ireland and visit A & E if you felt like you were becoming very ill without the worry about being prosecuted.
I think I have an ectopic pregnancy, can I still have an abortion?
An ectopic pregnancy is when the embryo starts to develop outside of the womb, usually in the fallopian tubes. When the embryo develops in an abnormal place, the pregnancy will not survive. Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy are:
- Sharp or stabbing pains in your lower abdomen or shoulder area – usually on one side of the body
- Feeling weak and dizzy or fainting
- Vaginal bleeding that could be watery and a dark brown/red color – it tends to be different than your normal period
- Discomfort when going to the toilet If you suspect you have an ectopic pregnancy, it won’t be suitable to have an abortion. It’s lawful for you to have treatment for ectopic pregnancy across Ireland, so please seek medical guidance and help from your GP
Treatment for an ectopic pregnancy includes:
- a medicine to stop the pregnancy growing
- keyhole surgery or open surgery
If an ectopic pregnancy grows large enough, it could split the fallopian tube, this is known as a rupture. This is very a serious emergency situation and will need surgery.
Symptoms of a rupture are:
- Sharp and intense abdominal pain
- Felling sick and looking very pale
- Feeling very dizzy or passing out
If you have these symptoms of a rupture, call for an emergency ambulance immediately.
I’m from Northern Ireland, can I get an abortion on the NHS?
The UK Government have committed to cover the cost of abortion care for women from Northern Ireland. This was announced on 30th June 2017.
The government has not yet confirmed details of the funding, however we will no longer ask women from Northern Ireland to pay for abortion care. We are working with the Government to make sure this funding is agreed with all English providers as soon as possible.
To receive funded abortion care you will need to:
1. Live in Northern Ireland (have a BT postcode); and
2. Provide a Health and Care Number (HCN).
Women from Northern Ireland who have visited a Marie Stopes UK Centre or Clinic and paid for abortion care since 30th June 2017 will be contacted to have their consultation and treatment costs refunded. If you have any question regarding this, please call us.
Is it risky to have abortion?
When abortion is performed in a clinic registered by the Department of Health and the Care Quality Commission like Marie Stopes UK clinics, where premises will be clean, abortion will be less risky than having a penicillin injection and less risky than carrying a pregnancy to term.
Though abortion in legal clinics are extremely safe with rarely any problems, as with all medical treatment, there are possible risks that you should know about. We outline these risks in detail here for both medical abortion and surgical abortion.
I have children, can I bring them with me?
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to bring any children with you to the clinic or centre. We ask this to be as sensitive as possible to others who may be in the waiting areas. It is best to arrange childminding back home if you can as you will be in the clinic or centre for quite a while.
Can I pay the fees in instalments?
We can’t take payment in instalments but your payment can be in two parts. If you have booked a medical pre-assessment over the phone, you’ll need to pay the assessment fee only before we call you back to start the assessment.
If you’re having a face to face pre-assessment, scan and treatment altogether in England, then the overall treatment price is payable when you arrive at the Marie Stopes UK Centre.
Our Abortion Costs page tells you all you’ll need to know to arrange payment.
Does the fetus feel anything?
A fetus cannot feel any pain before the nervous system has developed. Research shows that this development does not start to occur until at least the 24th week, which is the legal limit for abortion in the UK.
You can find out more about this research in our Common Abortion Myths page.
Do all abortions hurt?
Everyone experiences pain differently, and the spectrum can range from feeling discomfort to feeling very strong cramps. The pain or discomfort you will feel after an abortion will depend on the type of abortion you have chosen, (the medical abortion causes more cramping pains than a surgical abortion), and if you have opted for sedation or general anesthetic.
You know your own body, trust that you know if a pain is feeling too severe, and if you are worried call our 24-hour aftercare line to speak to a nurse.
How long will I be in surgery for?
The surgical abortion procedure itself is very quick but you may have to be in the centre for between 3 and 5 hours. This is because we may need to do all your medical pre-assessments including your scan on the day of your visit. If you are opting for sedation or general anaesthetic, it may take some time for the effects of anaesthetic to wear off, our clinical staff will monitor you to make sure you’re ok to leave the centre. In the meantime, you can relax and have some refreshments while you recover.
What happens to the fetal tissue after the abortion?
If you don’t have any special requests, we always make sure that all fetal tissue is managed in a manner that is respectful and dignified. We also comply with all relevant UK legislation and follow The Human Tissue Act (HTA) which has a clinical framework for fetal tissue storage and disposal. If you would like to keep the fetal remains for burial or cremation, please let us know when you book your appointment. We can advise you on how to make preparations.
How much bleeding will there be after an abortion?
The amount of bleeding after treatment varies from woman to woman, and will depend on the type of abortion you have chosen.
After a surgical abortion, you may experience a little irregular bleeding or spotting for a few weeks. You can wear a sanitary pad for your comfort. But, if you find you are soaking more than two pads in an hour for two hours in a row please call us to speak to an aftercare nurse.
If you’ve had a medical abortion you will bleed more heavily as you pass the pregnancy. Bleeding may be accompanied by heavy cramping for 2-5 hours. Once the pregnancy has passed, the bleeding should be lighter and become like a heavy period for a further 2 to 10 days and may come and go over a period of 2-4 weeks.
Can I use tampons after an abortion?
Please don’t use tampons or menstrual cups for 4 weeks after your abortion treatment, or after your first period following the abortion. This to reduce the risk of infection. Sanitary pads are fine to wear. After a surgical abortion, a normal pad will do. After a medical abortion, it’s best to use the more absorbent night time pads for a heavy flow.
Can I have sex after an abortion?
We advise that you don’t have sex for 2 weeks after your abortion. This is to minimise any risk of infection. When you do have sex again, be sure to have effective contraception in place. You can speak to our staff about what type of contraception will best suit you and your lifestyle.
When should I start using contraception after the abortion?
Fertility returns quite soon after an abortion so contraception is essential. We recommend that you leave our clinic with a form of contraception in the knowledge that you are protected against an unplanned pregnancy.
We can offer a range of contraception methods, please be aware that this might depend on the abortion treatment you choose. For instance, we would not be able to fit an IUD (Coil) or an IUS, if you have chosen to have a medical abortion, but we can if you are having a surgical abortion. The best and most effective methods are Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) such as an IUS, IUS, implant, injection (more effective than the oral contraceptive pill or condoms).
Will God judge me for having an abortion?
We believe that no one should be judged for having an abortion, though we understand that there may still be some stigma attached to abortion within religious communities, or from peers who have religious views.
However, there are many religious pro-choice organisations who disagree with stigma and voice that victimising people for accessing treatment is not in line with their overarching religious values. These organisations believe that abortion can be a moral option. Catholics for Choice ; Christians for Choice ; Muslims 4 Choice ; Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice are just some of the organisations who promote being part of a faith community and being pro-choice.
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