With medication, termination can be performed up to 63 days after the start of your last menstrual period.
Comparing the methods, medical termination usually has few side effects (such as nausea, diarrhoea, fever) but if these occur they are very transient and generally only last a few hours. The degree of bleeding and pain can vary. Bleeding is usually heavy for 2-4 hours and then subsides like a period over the next 7 days. With appropriate analgesia, pain is usually significant for the first few hours, and most women describe the degree of pain overall like period pain. There may be a risk of harm to the pregnancy if the termination fails (about 0.2% chance) so surgical abortion should be performed in this case.
If you are considering having a medical termination, we will arrange an ultrasound to make sure the pregnancy is not an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy and to be sure you are no more than 9 weeks (63 days) pregnant. And a pathology test to check that your blood group is not negative, in which case we will arrange you to have an (anti-D) injection. We will provide everything necessary so that you will not have to visit any doctor or chemist.
About 7 days after the abortion, we arrange a further test to confirm a successful termination. Our nurse will contact you throughout the process to support and guide you and make sure there are no problems. We provide comprehensive care.
The biggest difference is bleeding and pain. With surgical termination as a day procedure you are asleep and pain and bleeding are minimal afterwards.
With a medical termination, it usually takes 2-4 hours, but you have the abortion in the privacy of your own home. Bleeding can be significant and heavy for no more than 4 hours but then usually subsides to a normal period. The period pain is the biggest difference, whilst with surgical you are asleep, medical might be associated with period pain, significant and immediate that may last a few hours. With the analgesics that we provide however, most patients report that the pain is similar in intensity to period pain.
Our advice is to have a surgical procedure if you normally experience severe period pain but if your periods are normally not a problem, if you prefer to have the abortion at home, and if the pregnancy is early, 5-8 weeks, choose the medical method.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Comprehensive Abortion Care June 2015