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Surgical Termination
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How does the procedure work?

Surgical termination is a simple procedure where gentle suction is used to empty the uterus (womb). The operation is safe and suitable for most women, and is performed under mild sensation (you will be put to sleep). It usually only requires you to be admitted to the ward for one day and is performed up to 24 weeks of pregnancy.


We provide a safe and friendly environment and a supportive aftercare service for all patients. All procedures are carried out by an experienced female gynaecologist.

Surgical abortion on a weekday (up to 12 weeks)


Surgical abortion on a weekend (up to 12 weeks)


Surgical Abortion (from 12 weeks)

From £2,450

Surgical abortion after medical treatment has failed
(if done with gynaedoctors)

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How do I prepare for the procedure?


It is very important that you do not have anything to eat or drink for at least 6 hours before your operation. This includes sweets and chewing gum. You are allowed to drink water up to two hours before surgery.

What happens on the day of the procedure?


You will be asked to attend the Clinic on the day of your surgery, where you will be prepared for surgery. You will be given a specific time to arrive and it is important that you arrive on time so that your operation is not delayed. You will be seen by a nurse, the doctor performing the operation and the anaesthetist (doctor who will administer the sedation).

It may be necessary for you to have some tablets by mouth 2 - 3 hours before the operation. This is to prepare your cervix for the operation. In some women, this may cause period type pain, bleeding, headaches, dizziness, diarrhoea or a skin rash.

You will be required to wear a theatre gown and disposable underwear. When it is time, you will be escorted to the theatre and put to sleep. A member of the theatre team will be with you at all times. Following your surgery, you will wake up in the recovery area and will stay here for a short period of time before returning home.

You may have some period type pain which your nurse can give you pain relief medication for, and you may have a heavy period-type blood loss, sometimes with clots. Some women feel nauseous or vomit following sedation. Your nurse can give you medication to help with this. You will be discharged home once you have had something to eat and drink, passed urine and are able to walk around the ward area without feeling sick or dizzy. Your nurse will check that your bleeding is not too heavy and any pain is well controlled. Respectful disposal of your pregnancy remains will be undertaken by communal cremation.

What care do I need to take after the procedure?


The operation is usually performed as a day case, so you should make arrangements for someone to pick you up from the clinic and stay with you overnight.

For 24 hours after the sedation you must not:

  • Drive a vehicle.
  • Drink alcohol.
  • Make important decisions (such as signing any legal documents).
  • Use hazardous machinery.
  • Engage in sport, strenuous exercise, heavy work or lifting.

What can I expect at home following treatment?


Bleeding- you may experience vaginal bleeding similar to a period for up to 10 days after surgery. Whilst you are bleeding the cervix may be open, and there is a risk of infection. To reduce this risk, we advise that until the bleeding has stopped you avoid having sex, do not use tampons and do not undertake water sports. During this time, you are, however, advised to shower rather than have a bath.

Pain - some stomach pain or tenderness may be experienced for up to 48 hours after surgery. You may take simple pain relieving medication such as paracetamol or ibuprofen based products, but always read the label/instructions before taking them. A hot water bottle may be helpful to ease any period type cramps. It is important to contact the clinic or your GP if you have continuous bleeding, heavy bleeding, passing clots, have pain or a smelly discharge.

Rest - you may feel tired for 1–2 days after surgery. Rest as necessary and resume normal activities as you feel able. We advise you to take 1–2 days off work. You should not drive or operate machinery for at least 24 hours.

Sex - you may resume having sex when the bleeding has stopped (to help prevent infection), you feel ready to resume intercourse and have reliable contraception in place.

When can I expect a period?


Every woman is different, however sometime in the next 3-8 weeks is considered usual following an operation. Often this first period may be heavier or lighter than normal, but should return to normal within 2 - 3 months. This may be dependent on your chosen method of contraception.

Will I need a follow-up appointment?


We do not routinely offer a follow up appointment, however if you are experiencing any problems, please do not hesitate to contact us. It is important to contact the clinic or your GP if you have continuous bleeding, heavy bleeding, passing clots, have pain or a smelly discharge.

Can I get pregnant after the procedure?


You can get pregnant straight away! You must use a reliable method of contraception before you have sex again. If you haven’t already decided, we can help you choose the method that is most suitable for you. We are able to fit coils or insert the contraceptive implant on the same day after the procedure whilst you are still under sedation.


Choosing Wisely: Surgical Termination Explained

Making the decision to surgically terminate a pregnancy is extremely difficult. So, it’s not surprising that you want to know as much about the procedure as possible. 

Over 200,000 abortions are carried out in the UK each year. The procedure is extremely safe and effective. Here at Gynaedoctors we provide a discreet and trustworthy abortion service. With the support of our team, you can have a successful abortion and and receive outstanding care.

Let’s take a detailed look at surgical abortion and what you should expect.

What is Surgical Abortion?

A surgical abortion is one of two types of abortion procedure. The other is a medical abortion. To have a surgical abortion, you will have to go into an operating theatre. You will be under local or general anaesthetic when the pregnancy tissue is removed either via suction or with the use of forceps.

Common Risks of Surgical Abortion

As with any type of surgery, there are of course risks to having a surgical abortion. These include but are not limited to:

  • Damage to the cervix during surgery
  • Making a hole in the womb during surgery (known as Uterine Perforation)
  • Heavy bleeding during surgery (occurs in about 1 out of 1,000 women)
  • Postoperative infections
  • Women having surgical abortions can have a higher risk of premature births in the future
  • Incomplete abortion
  • Psychological distress (although this is common before and immediately after the abortion procedure, long-term distress is experienced by only a small number of women)
  • Blood clots.

Who is Eligible for a Surgical Abortion?

Surgical abortions are only available to women who are less than 12 weeks pregnant. This is because the further along you are in your pregnancy, the higher the risk of damage to your cervix and uterus.

The Surgical Abortion Procedure: What to Expect

Most people undergoing a surgical abortion have many questions about the process. This is completely understandable. We hope to address any and all concerns in the content that follows so that you can understand what’s about to happen, process it in a healthy way, and commence your treatment with confidence.

How to Prepare for a Surgical Abortion

Knowing how to prepare (in a practical sense) for a surgical abortion can be tricky. We hope what follows is helpful to you. 

What to Do Prior to Your Hospital Admittance

Before you are admitted to hospital, you should arrange for a friend or family member to drive you home and stay with you for the first 24 hours following your procedure. This is because it is unsafe to drive after having anaesthetic and you might feel tired, nauseous, and/or sad after everything that has happened.

Staying warm before, during, and after your surgical abortion procedure is one of the best ways to counteract these symptoms. It should also help you recover from the operation faster.

Follow the Instructions from Your Provider

Prior to your procedure you will be given instructions from your provider (usually in the form of a letter). These instructions will tell you what you should/shouldn’t do leading up to your appointment.

It is typical for you to be asked to fast (no eating or drinking) before you have a surgical abortion. This is because you will be unconscious during the surgery. So, it’s vital that you follow the fasting instructions as carefully as possible.

Your Admission to Hospital

Typically, for a surgical abortion, you will be admitted to hospital for the day. However, sometimes you may be required to stay overnight. The exact length of your stay will depend on how well you feel after your operation and the symptoms you are displaying. 

As such, it’s important to come prepared with all you need for an overnight stay just in case. You should also bring sanitary pads with you as you will experience some bleeding after surgery.

The Surgical Abortion

Here’s what you should expect from the surgical abortion process itself. This is from the day you are admitted to the end of your surgery. We hope you find it useful.

The Day of Hospital Admission

On the day of your hospital admission it is important that you:

  • Follow the fasting instructions outlined in your admission letter.
  • Remove contact lenses, make-up, false nails, and nail varnish.
  • Remove any jewellery (including body piercings). You may leave your wedding ring on if you wish but please note that it will be covered with tape.
  • Have a thorough shower or bath to make sure that your skin is as clean as possible. This helps to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Do not use any body lotions, perfumes, or deodorants on the day of your surgery.

In preparation for your procedure, you will be asked to change into a hospital gown. You should remove all your clothes and underwear before doing so. If you wear false teeth, glasses, or hearing aids, these can be removed once you arrive at the operating theatre and returned to you afterwards.

Feeling Unsure About the Abortion

If you are having any second thoughts about the abortion itself or you’re feeling unsure, this is your moment to speak up. You must alert your nurse or care provider before  you are given any tablets as the tablets used to soften your cervix can cause you to miscarry if you do not go through with the procedure.

Preparing Your Body for Surgery

Prior to the surgery you will have two misoprostol tablets inserted into your vagina. This will help to soften your cervix so that the procedure can commence smoothly. The softer your cervix is, the better as it drastically reduces the risk of experiencing cervical damage from the operation.

In some cases, you may be given tablets to help you relax prior to the operation. This will ensure you are as comfortable as possible prior to the surgery happening. After which you will be taken into the anaesthetic room and handed over to the care of the nurses there.

What Happens During the Operation?

For a surgical abortion you will be given one of three choices:

  1. Local anaesthetic (this is used to numb the cervix)
  2. Conscious sedation (this is where you feel relaxed but awake)
  3. Deep sedation, otherwise known as general anaesthetic (this is where you’re asleep)

According to the NHS, “Most people having deep sedation will not remember anything and will not be aware during the operation. If you have a general anaesthetic, you’ll be fully asleep during the operation and will not remember anything.”

Once you have been given the anaesthetic the procedure will begin. There are two methods of performing a surgical abortion and your provider will talk you through the procedure you’re having in advance so that you know what to expect.

Vacuum Aspiration: this is the most common form of surgical abortion and is suitable for women up to 12 weeks pregnant. It involves gradually widening the cervix using rods of increasing sizes and then inserting a slim tube into the uterus. The pregnancy is then sucked up the tube and the uterus is confirmed to be empty. The operation itself takes less than 15 minutes.

Dilation and Evacuation (D&E): this procedure is similar to the one above except that it can involve extra steps to help soften and prepare your cervix. The pregnancy is then removed using forceps. This procedure normally takes 10-20 minutes to complete.

Find out more about the different types of abortion here.

Abortion After Care

What follows is a detailed look at the abortion aftercare process. This is a difficult time for many women as they are healing both emotionally and physically from a challenging time, so it is important to treat yourself with care.

After the Operation

Once your surgical abortion is complete, you will wake up in the recovery room where you will be attended to by trained staff. Once you are ready, you will be returned to your ward where you will spend several hours in recovery. Because of the anaesthesia, many people do not remember waking up in the recovery room or being transferred to the ward, they only remember waking up on the ward. 

While you are on the ward your blood pressure, temperature, pulse, and pain levels will all be regularly checked. You may also have a drip in your arm that is feeding your body fluids. If you feel sick, you may be given medicine to help with this.

Within a couple of hours you will typically be offered something to eat. We recommend taking things slowly and eating small bites at a time. Sometimes, people eat too quickly following their surgery and the nausea-inducing after-effects of the anaesthesia can cause you to vomit if you rush this process too much. So, although you probably feel pretty hungry it’s best to take things slow.

Once 2 or 3 hours have gone by, you have passed urine successfully and you are only bleeding a little bit, you may be permitted to go home. Your nurse will be sure to check you over thoroughly and take a few swabs to confirm your urine results. If you need any antibiotics to aid your recovery, these will be given to you before you leave.

Going Home After an Abortion

Once you are home, you should expect some vaginal bleeding. This will typically last a couple of days and should be much like your normal periods. It’s advisable to use sanitary pads during this time instead of tampons to reduce the risk of infection.

Some women experience cramping after an abortion. If this is something you experience, you should expect it to last anywhere from 24 to 48 hours. Taking painkillers such as ibuprofen can help. You can also take a bath as you normally would to help ease any discomfort.

Sex and Your Period

After the initial bleeding has stopped, you should expect your period to return within 4 to 8 weeks of having an abortion. 

Remember, you can get pregnant immediately after an abortion if you are not using any form of contraception. It is also advisable to wait a couple of weeks before inserting anything into your vagina. This will protect your body from infection and give your vagina time to heal from the procedure.

When to Contact the Hospital

Going home after an abortion is something many women look forward to. However, it is also a time of high-anxiety for some. So that you are prepared, it’s important to know the signs that signal something isn’t quite right. 

Here’s when you should contact the hospital:

  • You are experiencing severe abdominal pain
  • You have a fever 
  • You are experiencing very heavy bleeding that is soaking through a sanitary pad per hour
  • Your vaginal loss is giving off a strange odour
  • You are passing clots larger than golf balls

Your health provider will be able to check you over, provide advice, and prescribe any medication to help with your swift recovery.

Final Words

Surgical abortion is an extremely safe and effective method of pregnancy termination. We hope this article has helped to shed some light on the procedure from beginning to end so that you know what to expect.
If you would like to discuss the possibility of a surgical abortion, please get in touch with us. Our friendly and experienced team are available to answer any questions you may have and provide their expert guidance.

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