An abortion is the removal of a pregnancy and is often called termination of pregnancy”. The procedure of termination of pregnancy (surgical) itself is a “dilatation and curettage” procedure, which means that the cervix (entrance to the womb) is gently opened with a series of dilators, and the contents of the uterus emptied through gentle suction and cleaning. The procedure is the same whether the pregnancy is viable (when you choose to terminate a pregnancy) or due to a missed miscarriage, where the embryo is no longer alive, and the womb needs to be cleaned out. The whole procedure takes about 10 minutes during which time you are under sedation, so you don’t feel any pain or have any recollection of the actual procedure.
There will inevitably be some slight discomfort after the procedure, as the uterus (womb) contracts down. This can be treated with simple medicines such as ibuprofen, naprosyn and/or paracetamol. There will also be some bleeding, though this shouldn’t be more than a period. Sometimes the bleeding can start and stop over the 2 week recovery period, or there may be some slight continuous bleeding. If you have any concerns about your experience after the procedure, and if what you are experiencing is normal, you can contact us on the on-call phone which the doctors carry 24/7.
A medical termination of pregnancy is undertaken using oral medicines, with no need for an anaesthetic. First there is a tablet which stops the pregnancy ( mifepristone). After 36-48 hrs, the second medication is taken ( misoprostol) which causes the uterus to contract and expel the contents. There may be quite intense pain and bleeding, which can be managed with over the counter medication and a heat pack. The advantages of a medical termination are that no anaesthetic is required and you can miscarry the pregnancy at home in privacy. The disadvantages are that in some instances, approximately 7% of cases, it might be unsuccessful and you may need to have a surgical procedure ( D&C) to complete the process. If you dont have a Medicare card, you will need to pay full price for the medications ( as they are listed on the PBS). Medical termination is best carried out in early pregnancy ie . 7 weeks gestation or less.
For a surgical termination, we will make sure you are comfortable and have made a good postoperative recovery before you go home. For a medical termination, we will be in touch, to ensure you have made a complete recovery, though the follow up may be longer for a medical termination.