Later medical abortion is an option after about 14 weeks of pregnancy (depends on the provider). The procedure takes place at a hospital or specialist clinic.
The following information is a guide only. The procedure can vary between clinics.
To have a later medical abortion you'll have medicines to end the pregnancy. The procedure for a later medical abortion is similar to an early medical abortion except that:
- a later medical abortion uses stronger medicines than an early medical abortion and is likely to take longer.
- the procedure takes place at a hospital or specialist clinic.
What to expect during a later medical abortion
- At your first appointment, you'll meet with the nurse or doctor to discuss the procedure, any questions you have and sign consent to (agree to) having the procedure.
- At this appointment, often you will be given the first medicine (mifepristone) to start the abortion. Mifepristone is a medicine that blocks the hormone that is necessary for the pregnancy to continue. Very rarely, some people pass the pregnancy tissue after this. Your abortion provider will let you know what to do if this happens.
- One or two days later, you'll normally be admitted to your own room at the clinic. You'll be given repeated doses of the second medicine (misoprostol). This causes the induction of labour and the pregnancy to end (miscarry). This will happen at the clinic.
- Normally, if you have a support person/tangata tautoko, they are encouraged to be with you to support you through this procedure.
- Most people pass the pregnancy on the same day. For some people this process can take longer. Very rarely someone might need to stay overnight.
- In very rare cases, the bleeding can be very heavy and a few people might need medication or a surgical procedure to stop the bleeding and/or a blood transfusion.
- Possible side effects of the medicines can be diarrhoea (runny poo), nausea (sickness), headache, dizziness, hot flushes and chills.
- Bleeding like a period, light or spotting, stop/start for up to two weeks.
- Mild to strong cramps (relieved with regular pain relief).
- (For medical abortion) passing a few large blood clots, for up to 10 days.
- Very heavy bleeding, soaking two full-sized sanitary pads an hour for two hours in a row or passing lots of large clots, or a clot the size of your fist.
- Uncontrollable or constant pain.
- Pain in your shoulder tip.
- Vomiting (throwing up) after taking medications.
- Fever or feeling unwell.
- Smelly vaginal discharge.
- Bleeding, lasting more than three weeks.
Contact your abortion provider if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
- Taking the pregnancy remains (foetal tissue or ’products of conception’) home is an option that can be discussed with your doctor or nurse.
- You might choose to bury the pregnancy tissue, returning the tissue and wairua to the whenua. Talk to your abortion provider about other options.