A pre-abortion consultation is a normal and important part of the abortion process. It will help you:
- make an informed choice that is best for your health and wellbeing
- make sure that having an abortion is the right decision for you
- understand what to expect
- access required tests, counselling and other support you might need.
During your first consultation (by phone or at a clinic)
It’s important to tell the nurse, doctor or midwife about:
- any health problems you might have and any drugs or medication you are taking
- any cultural support or disability assistance you want
- anything about you that you want them to know about
- any concerns you have.
At your first appointment the nurse or doctor will likely:
- ask you about your medical history and health
- do a pregnancy test and/or ultrasound scan to confirm your current gestation (weeks of pregnancy)
- order blood test and swabs
- discuss abortion types available to you
- explain how the procedure works, the side effects, and possible risks and complications
- discuss what happens to pregnancy remains (foetal tissue or 'products of conception')
- advise you how to get counselling, if this is something you want
- get you to sign consent to (agree to) having the procedure.
You might also be given:
- contraceptive advice and a prescription, if needed
- information and advice on sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
You can change your mind
You can change your mind about having an abortion at any time before it takes place. If you're having an early medical abortion, once you have taken the first medicine, you can't stop or reverse the abortion.
You don't have to have counselling to get an abortion but for some people it can be helpful to talk about their feelings with a professional counsellor before making a decision.
If you're unsure, contact your local abortion provider and ask for pregnancy options counselling.
Preparing for your abortion
Your abortion provider will give you instructions about how to prepare for your abortion.
If you're having an abortion at a clinic, you'll be provided with information about what to bring to the clinic and what you to expect.
Blood tests and scans
Blood tests are usually required before, and sometimes after an abortion. You may also need an ultrasound scan to confirm how many weeks pregnant you are. Your abortion provider will let you know what they require, and arrange this for you if needed.
Can I have a support person/tangata tautoko with me?
Talk to your abortion provider about what will meet your specific cultural needs.
You can go to your first abortion appointment on your own or bring your partner, a friend or whānau member. You'll have the chance to talk to the nurse or doctor in private. This is so you can provide information in confidence. This also allows the nurse or doctor to confirm that the decision you're making is yours.
If you're having an early medical abortion, have a support person/tangata tautoko with you at home. Also, have access to a telephone and transport in case you need advice or help.
With later medical abortion at a clinic, it helps to have your support person/tangata tautoko with you to support you through the procedure.
Normally, for surgical abortion, your support person/tangata tautoko is not allowed to be present during the actual procedure.
If you're having a later abortion procedure at a clinic you can't drive for 24 hours after the procedure. You'll need to arrange transport to and from your appointment. If you're having the procedure in a hospital or clinic outside your region, you might be able to get help with transport. Ask your abortion provider about this.
What to expect during an abortion
What happens during an abortion depends on the type of abortion procedure you're having.
Early medical abortion (EMA) or ‘the abortion pill’ is an option in the first nine to 10 weeks of pregnancy (depends on the provider).
A later medical abortion is an option after about 14 weeks of pregnancy (depends on the provider).
An early surgical abortion is an option in the first 13 to 15 weeks of pregnancy (depends on the provider).
A later surgical abortion is an option after about 14 weeks of pregnancy (depends on the provider).
Contact your abortion provider for information about pre-abortion screening, tests and counselling.