Medical abortion: what to expect

Eleonore Bridier Abortion

If you are up to 9 weeks pregnant, medical abortion is a safe, non-invasive method of terminating your pregnancy.

Overall, this method is a low risk option, with up to 98% of medical abortions ending in a successful termination.

Medical abortion is available at Dr Marie clinics following a face-to-face consultation or, if you cannot access a clinic, you may be eligible for a medical abortion via teleconsultation.

What does it involve?

Medical abortion is a two-stage process.

Stage one involves a medical consultation and ultrasound, to confirm gestation. You will also be given the first dose of medication and instructed on how to proceed.

Be aware that a few women experience mild side-effects and occasionally light bleeding, but most are able to go about their normal activities between stage one and two.

Stage two: You will then need to complete the second stage of treatment at home, taking the second tablet not less than 24 hours and not more than 48 hours after the first tablet.

As general guidance, expect to start experiencing other symptoms within one to four hours of taking the second tablets, as the medication starts to take effect. We recommend having a support person with you during this stage.

What are the next steps?

You will need to come back to the clinic for a check-up 2 weeks after your initial appointment, to ensure the termination was successful and no complications have occurred. If this is not convenient for you alternative arrangements can be made.

Your check-up will be arranged at your first appointment.

In the case the termination was not successful, you and your doctor would discuss further options at this stage – if required, we would provide any additional in-clinic care at no cost.


Does it hurt?

During a medical abortion you can expect bleeding and cramps that are usually heavier and more painful than a normal period.

You can take over-the-counter pain relief medications as indicated, or as prescribed by your doctor at your consultation. A hot water bottle or wheat pack can also bring comfort.

How long will I need to take off work?

You will need to be at home and keep activity to a minimum in the hours after you take the second medication.

Depending on how you feel, you may also need an additional day of rest or low activity to recuperate fully.

What if I have questions or need advice after I leave the clinic?

At any time, you can call our 24-hour aftercare hotline and speak to a nurse. We also have experienced counsellors who can talk to you at any stage before or after your procedure. Both services are offered free of charge.

How do I prepare for my medical abortion?

There are a few important things you need to do before you arrive at your appointment.

Before your appointment, please read your booking confirmation email and the patient pack attached carefully, as these contain important information about your procedure.

Plan how you will get to the clinic, keeping in mind our clinics are typically discreetly located.

Please be aware you will need to allow sufficient time to be admitted, have an ultrasound, and see the doctor.
As you will not require an anaesthetic, you won’t need to fast, and can drive yourself home afterwards.

Please note: for compassionate reasons young children and babies are not permitted at Dr Marie clinics, as some patients may find this distressing. We do apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

What if I wish to change or cancel my appointment?

As a courtesy to others, we ask that you please provide us with at least 24 hours’ notice of any changes or cancellations, and please let us know on the day if you are running late.