Preparing for an abortion

You have decided to have an abortion and to undergo this via the NHS or at a private abortion clinic. Whatever your choice, the preparation can be more nerve wracking than the actual procedure!

This is an intensely emotional time but it can be made easier if you have plenty of support and guidance. If you can enlist the support of your partner and/or family then so much the better: but if not then try and find someone you trust to confide in.

If you have chosen a private abortion then they will offer this advice and support. They have specially trained staff and counsellors who are experienced and sympathetic to your situation. In some cases it can be easier to talk to a member of the clinic staff than someone in your own family.

It is natural to feel apprehensive at your decision or even relieved but nevertheless, it is a major decision to make which is why we would advise you to talk to your partner, family or a counsellor. It will help you to come to terms with your decision, the abortion procedure and afterwards.

In fact, what happens after an abortion can be more frightening than the actual procedure, but constant support and advice can help to ease those fears.

It is natural to feel apprehensive before any medical or surgical procedure and abortion is no different in this aspect. Plus the type of abortion you are having can affect how you feel afterwards which is where support and counselling can help.

The private or NHS clinic will ask you about your medical history and any previous pregnancies as well as reviewing your current circumstances. Counselling will be offered which you will be strongly advised to accept.

You will also have an ultrasound scan which is important in that it can assess the condition of the foetus as well as determine the stage of your pregnancy. It can also help to detect any serious medical conditions such as an ectopic pregnancy which is potentially fatal if left untreated.

Other tests include a cervical smear and a vaginal examination.

You may undergo a series of blood tests and possibly, a check for sexually transmitted diseases such as Chlamydia but this is optional.

The clinic or hospital will also provide you with a set of instructions on how to prepare for your abortion. These differ between medical and surgical abortions. Follow these and any other instructions you may have been given.

If, for example, you are having a surgical abortion then you will be given instructions on when to have your last meal (if you are having a general anaesthetic), what to bring with you and the procedure itself.

This is covered in greater detail in our surgical abortion section.

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