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Health Advice Title

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Termination of pregnancy

Women in Leeds have three options when considering a termination of pregnancy (abortion)

  • You can refer yourself to an NHS clinic for free treatment
  • You can refer yourself to a private clinic where you pay for the treatment
  • One of our doctors can refer you to an NHS clinic for free treatment

If you have decided you want to proceed with a termination you can refer yourself to one of the services below - you do not need to see one of our doctors first

British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS)
bpas Leeds Daycare Unit provides early medical abortion up to 9 weeks
bpas Danum Lodge Clinic (Doncaster) provides medical and surgical abortions up to 23 weeks and 6 days

Additional support services at bpas Leeds; all contraception methods, follow up counselling, calls are answered 24 hours a day, an appointment can be booked for any day of the week

Please call: 08457 30 40 30 (24/7).

Marie Stopes International (MSI)
MSI Leeds provides medical and surgical abortions up to 19 weeks
MSI London provides surgical apportions up to 24 weeks

Additional support services at MSI Leeds; all contraception methods, follow up counselling, consultation helpline open 24 hours a day, service open 8am to 5pm Monday to Saturday for appointments, appointments given within 2 days of contact with the service

Please call: 0845 300 8090 (24/7).

Women with an existing medical condition: uncontrolled Epilepsy, uncontrolled Diabetes, history of recent severe Asthma, uncontrolled or symptomatic Thyrotoxicosis, symptomatic Cardiac disease, AIDS defining illness, current or recent Sickle Cell crisis, hyperpyrexia, acute renal failure, Cystic Fibrosis, should use the Fertility Control Unit (FCU) at St James’ Hospital

FCU provides surgical abortions up to 14 weeks and medical abortions up to 16 weeks. They will only see patients with the above medical conditions. Additional support services at FCU; all contraception methods, before and after abortion counselling, consultation telephone line open 9am to 5pm, service open Monday morning and Tuesday morning for consultation

Please call: 0113 206 7135 (Mon-Fri)

You can choose to pay for your termination at a private clinic. This will cost upwards of £450. You can be seen without a referral letter (i.e. you do not need to see one of our doctors first). You can find these services listed on the Internet, or in a telephone directory

If you would like to discuss the options with us before you make a decision about an unplanned pregnancy, you can make an appointment with one of our doctors or nurses to discuss the options available to you. When you consult with us we will also offer you screening for Chlamydia, and discuss future contraception choices

Your first appointment at the clinic may take several hours, this is what will happen:

  • You can discuss your decision and the types of abortion with a doctor
  • You will have an ultrasound scan, either over the surface of the abdominal wall, or internally via your vagina, (you will need to drink at least 2 glasses of water before you go so that you have a full bladder for the scan)
  • You will have a blood test
  • BEFORE you attend your clinic appointment you must have a Chlamydia test - you can collect a self test kit from our Reception, and will get the results in around 5 days


This is sometimes known as the abortion pill. This method can be used up to 9 weeks of pregnancy.  It may not be suitable for women with heart or lung problems.  The treatment involves two clinic visits and a follow-up appointment about ten days later.  At the first visit you take a pill (Mifepristone) which blocks a hormone supporting the pregnancy. You will stay in the clinic for about one hour, and can then go home

Sometimes women have bleeding and pain while they are at home. You will be given a number to call for advice if you need it. It is important that you don't take aspirin or related drugs during any part of the treatment.  You return to the clinic 36 to 48 hours later.  At the second visit a tablet of medicine is placed in the vagina.  This causes the uterus to open and contract. The pregnancy is lost as a heavy painful bleed. This usually happens within 4-6 hours.  In about 5% of women the method doesn't work or doesn't work completely. These women will need an operation to complete their treatment

Surgical termination is usually carried out by suction under local or general anaesthetic. It can be done up to 17 weeks of pregnancy.  Unless you have any other medical conditions you will normally be treated as a day case. You will be in the clinic for about 4 hours. You will be asked not to eat or drink anything for at least six hours before you arrive

Before you are given the anaesthetic you may have a tablet of medicine put into your vagina to prepare you for the operation.  When you come round from the anaesthetic you may feel sick and drowsy, but this usually passes quickly.  You will need to be collected from the clinic by someone you know. You cannot drive yourself for 48 hours. You should have a check-up after two or three weeks. If you are more than 17 weeks pregnant surgical termination can still be done while you are asleep, but the method is different.  The clinic will give you details. You will normally have to travel outside Leeds for later surgical terminations

Please think about your future contraception. Some methods (the pill and the injection) can be started immediately. If you want an intrauterine device or an implant, this can be fitted at the same time as a surgical termination.  Your GP or practice nurse can give you leaflets and advice about all methods, and you can find a lot of advice on our web site, see the Contraception page in our Health Advice section

Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the UK. It often causes no symptoms, and can be passed on to others without you realising. However, complications may occur if it is left untreated, and it can cause serious problems later in life if not treated. You can find out more on our web site by looking at the Chlamydia page in our Health Advice section

If your blood group is Rhesus negative (about 15% of women are), you will be given an injection of Anti-D when you have the abortion. This is to prevent your body reacting to future pregnancies

If you are given any antibiotics please complete the course.  Your symptoms of pregnancy should settle over the next few days.  Don't be tempted to do a pregnancy test as these can often stay positive for several weeks even if the treatment has been successful

Do not have sex, use tampons or go swimming for two to three weeks, until you have had your check up.  The check up can be done at the practice unless the gynaecologist has asked you to go back to the hospital.  The bleeding can be very variable after a termination.  Anything from light spotting to bleeding for two weeks can be normal. If you are in a lot of pain, or the blood smells nasty or you have a temperature you should see a doctor

Some local pharmacies take part in a scheme that offers pregnancy tests, emergency contraception, and Chlamydia tests free to patients under 25 years of age. Click here to open a PDF information leaflet

Source: LSMP

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Last revision: April 2012