What Happens when I attend for a TOP 

How do I make an appointment for a termination of a pregnancy?

Once you have been given the opportunity to discuss your options with your GP or a sexual health nurse, and you have decided that you do not wish to continue with pregnancy, an appointment will be made at either Perth Royal Infirmary or Ninewells Hospital clinic. If your doctor/nurse has given you a letter, please take it with you to the hospital.

What happens when you arrive?

When you arrive at PRI or Ninewells you will be seen by a nurse, they will ask you a few questions, followed by a scan to confirm your dates. The appointment will last approximately 1 hour.  You will have blood taken and a screen for sexually transmitted infections as a routine before you have the termination. After the scan there will be a further discussion and if you decide that you wish to go ahead you may be offered a medical or a surgical procedure depending on length of gestation (pregnancy)

Early medical TOP (up to 9 weeks gestation)

This involves two visits

  • First appointment : You will be given medication to swallow which will stop your body producing the hormones that are keeping the pregnancy going. This is the start of the termination of pregnancy process. You may go home straight afterwards. Some women have vaginal bleeding and a few women discharge the pregnancy tissue at this point.
  • Second appointment: This visit will be arranged 24-48 hrs after taking the medication. In the privacy of a treatment room, you will be given further medication to continue the termination process.

You may then go home, with someone responsible for the journey home. The medication cause the uterus to contract and push out the pregnancy. This may start quite soon or may take 2-3 hours to begin. Most women say that this process feels like strong period pains. Usually the pregnancy will come away by 4-6 hours after taking the medication.

During the process it is normal to:

  • Feel sick or vomit
  • Have diarrhoea
  • Feel hot and shivery

You should expect to have bleeding and cramps and pass clots and pregnancy tissue. Once the pregnancy has passed the bleeding and cramps will reduce.

It is important to have a responsible adult with you at all times in case you need to contact the hospital. If you become dizzy or your bleeding is heavier than a heavy period please telephone the Gynaecological Assessment Unit (GAU)

What next?

You will be given a date and time to do a pregnancy test. You will be given the kit before you leave the ward. The GAU will provide you with all the support and information you need.

Medical TOP (up to 18 weeks and 6 days gestation)

This involves two visits

  • First appointment:  You will be given medication to swallow which will stop your body producing the hormones that are keeping the pregnancy going. This is the start of the termination of pregnancy process. You may go home straight afterwards. Some women have vaginal bleeding and a few women discharge the pregnancy tissue at this point.
  • Second appointment : This will be 1-3 days after the first visit and requires admission to a the ward. You will be shown to your room & made comfortable. A nurse will take you pulse, blood pressure and temperatue.

You will be given medication to continue the termination process. These are the tablets that will cause you to pass the pregnancy, usually in the next six hours. These will cause period type cramps which can be strong, and bleeding.

During the process it is normal to:

  • Feel sick or vomit
  • Have diarrhoea
  • Feel hot and shivery

You will remain on the ward for up to six hours.

Surgical TOP  

This is offered only if less than 12 weeks gestation and is carried out under general anaesthetic either at Ninewells or PRI. It is carried out under a general anaesthetic, which means you will be asleep throughout the whole procedure.

You will be admitted to hospital on day of surgery, and given medication  2-3 hrs before surgery as a pessary into your vagina.. This softens the neck of the womb.  You will be discharged home same day if surgery uneventful

UNDER 16 

If you are under 16 and considered competent to consent to your own medical treatment, you can consent to an abortion.

If you are aged between 14-16 you do not need to take someone with you for your clinic appointment, but it is requested that if returning for the procedure you have someone over 16 with you. You are encouraged to try to involve a parent or another adult, for example another family member or friend.

Support after TOP

Having a termination can be an emotional and traumatic experience for some women, and counselling can help support you through this time. Post termination counselling is available through the NHS or through independent organisations. You will be given this information either at Ninewells or PRI