Pregnancy advisory service (abortion service)
The pregnancy advisory service at Ipswich Hospital, which is also known as the abortion service, supports women who are unsure about whether they would like to continue with their pregnancy. The clinic is run by an expert team of doctors, nurses, sonographers and healthcare assistants who offer confidential and compassionate care.
Anyone who lives in east Suffolk can ask their GP or sexual health clinic for a referral to us. A family planning clinic, young people’s clinic or a school nurse will also be able to help. Alternatively, you can contact a private provider such as BPAS or Marie Stopes directly. If you choose private treatment you won’t need to speak to your GP first, but will usually pay for the service.
We understand that some people need more information, time or counselling to help them make the right decision for them. Our friendly and welcoming team will support you throughout and can answer any questions you may have.
When you contact our service, your first appointment will be a 30-minute telephone call with a nurse. The nurse will:
- ask you about your health and complete some paperwork
- give you information about the services we offer and answer any questions you may have
- explain what to expect when you come to the clinic
- book your clinic appointment
Please allow two to three hours when you come for your appointment. At the clinic, you will:
- see a doctor or nurse
- have an ultrasound scan (unless you have already had one)
- have a blood test to check your blood group and that you are not anaemic
- discuss the treatment options which are available to you
- talk about the contraception you would like to use after the procedure
- be offered screening for sexual infections
Before you leave the clinic you will be given the date of the procedure, information about what to expect and our contact details in case you have any questions or concerns.
You may find that you need more time to make a decision or would like to speak to a counsellor first, or you may decide to continue with the pregnancy.
The treatment options which are available will depend on how far advanced your pregnancy is, your individual circumstances and your preferences.
At Ipswich Hospital we offer:
- Medical termination (abortion) up to the 18th week of pregnancy. This involves taking two different tablets about 48 hours apart and can take place either:
- At home – if you are under 10 weeks’ pregnant, at a low risk of complications and able to come to hospital if there are any problems.
- In hospital – if you prefer, the at home option is not suitable, or if the pregnancy is 10 weeks or more.
- Surgical termination (abortion) for pregnancies which are between six weeks and 12 weeks and six days. This treatment usually takes place under general anaesthetic, which means that you will be asleep.
For pregnancies over 18 weeks, we will refer you to BPAS. Although they are a private provider, your care would be paid for by the NHS.
By law, pregnancies of 24 weeks or more can only be terminated in exceptional circumstances, such as a life-threatening health problem in the mother or a significant fetal abnormality.
You can find reliable, accurate information at these websites:
- The NHS website, which explains where to go for impartial support, what will happen during the procedure and possible complications.
- Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, which will help you understand all of the options which are available.
- British Pregnancy Advice Service, which includes information about treatments and how to support someone who is having a termination.
- Marie Stopes International, which offers a range of termination services and aftercare support and runs a 24-hour advice line,