Surgical Abortion

Expertise, Understanding, Discretion


What happens when I have an Abortion?

This page outlines what happens with a surgical abortion.

There is another option for having an abortion — using medication. This method has been legally available in Australia since 2009.  For more information on MTOPs go to the MTOP page.

How do I Prepare?

The type of anesthetic we use is called intravenous sedation. For this reason, the most important thing to remember is not to have anything to eat or drink, including milk, for five hours prior to your appointment. You can drink water up to two hours before. Sedation can only be administered on an empty stomach.

You will also need to bring along:

  • Your Medicare Card, Pension, or Health Care Card if you have one
  • Any current medications that you are taking
  • A long T-shirt or a nightie
  • A spare pair of clean underpants
  • A few sanitary pads
  • Proof of your blood type — If you do not have proof of blood type we can test you at the clinic
  • Any blood test results or ultrasound results that you may have
  • Someone who is able to accompany you home afterwards
  • If you are between 14-16 years old, proof of age
  • If you are under 14 years of age, you must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who is required to give their written consent. If accompanied by a guardian, proof of guardianship is required.

What else do I need to know?

It is not necessary to have a doctors referral in order to have a termination. It is important that you shower on the morning of your appointment and arrange child care if necessary. Children are not permitted in the clinic on termination days as it can be upsetting for other patients.

Please reconfirm your appointment as requested by the receptionist.
Having intravenous sedation can make you clumsy and impair your mental ability and judgement. You cannot drive a car for twelve hours after your operation. If you don’t have someone who can take you home (by car or public transport), we prefer that you get a taxi but you must be accompanied by someone.

You could accidentally injure yourself if you operate machinery (including a sewing machine) or fall if you climb a ladder. Avoid knives and hot boiling water for about four hours afterward. It’s good if you can organize the next meal beforehand or get takeaway.

If you have children, try and get a friend to help with them and also, someone to pick them up from school.

What can I expect?

If you have decided on a termination, you will be at the clinic for two approximately 3 hours. The receptionist will ask you to complete a form giving your personal details. Payment is requested at this point. We accept cash, EFTPOS or credit card, but no cheques.

You will see the doctor, who will discuss your decision with you, do an ultrasound to check the pregnancy, take a brief medical history and explain the procedure. You can discuss contraception at this time. The doctor will not try to push you into a termination. Some patients rethink their decision and you are encouraged to do what is best for you.

After changing and seeing the anaesthetist, you will go into the Theatre where you will be sedated. A termination will then be carried out using a method called suction curettage.

Firstly, an instrument called a speculum is inserted into the vagina. This is opened to expand the vaginal canal and expose the cervix. After dilation of the cervix a thin plastic tube is passed through the vagina and cervix into the uterus.

Gentle suction is then applied to remove the contents of the uterus which the doctor will examine to check that the pregnancy has been terminated. A vaginal ultrasound is done to be sure that all tissue has been removed.

This part of your stay will only take 5 to 10 minutes.

Throughout the procedure you will be strongly sedated. The drugs will make you very sleepy and you will not remember the operation or the first fifteen minutes afterward. The sedation means you will have no pain.

Some patients prefer to only have local anaesthetic. The pain is mild to moderate but will only last for a few minutes. You will be fully conscious during the procedure. Having local anaesthetic means that you may drive home afterward.

What happens next?

After the procedure you will be taken into Recovery where you will be given something to eat and drink. The nurses will keep you under observation until you are well enough to go home with your support person.

For the rest of the day, you may feel sleepy and have mild cramping pain. Some Panadeine, Nurofen or Naprogesic and a good lie down should take care of this. You should be able to go to work or school the next day but avoid vigorous activity for one week.

During your consultation, the doctor will have explained general post-operative care as well as the symptoms that you should look out for in the next few days.

You will be given an information sheet which covers these details.

Make an appointment with us or your local doctor for a check-up two weeks after your termination. If you have post operative problems, call us on (02) 9605 2247 (24 hours).

We are experts on terminations so contact the clinic first if you have a problem. You can contact Dr Brumby, day or night.

  • What happens when I have a surgical abortion?
  • How do I prepare?
  • What will I need to bring?
  • What else do I need to know?
  • What can I expect?
  • What happens next?
  • What is a Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTOP)?
  • How does it Work?
  • Conditions where you will not be able to have a MTOP
  • Other Considerations
  • How do I make an appointment for (MTOP)?
  • What to bring.
  • What Happens Afterwards
  • Risks Associated
  • What is a Phone Medical Termination of Pregnancy (TeleMtop)?
  • How does it Work?
  • Conditions where you will not be able to have a TeleMtop
  • Other Considerations
  • How do I make an appointment for (TeleMtop)?
  • At Home
  • What Should I expect after a TeleMtop?
  • Risks Associated
  • Women’s Checks
  • Pap Smears
  • Breast Checks
  • Vaginal Problems
  • Menopause
  • Contraception
  • IUD & IUS Insertion and Removal
  • Pregnancy Counselling
  • Pregnancy Terminations
  • Sexually Transmitted Infection
  • Condoms
  • Diaphragm
  • Pills
  • The Nvaring
  • The Injection
  • Sterilisation
  • Information
  • Questions
  • Risks
  • After Care
  • Meet our Doctors
  • STI’s
  • Pregnancy
  • Counselling
  • Support
  • Men’s Issues
  • Coping
  • Risks
  • Articles