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Supporting someone having an abortion

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Your partner, friend or relative, or someone you are a carer for, is coming to BPAS because she is considering, or has decided to end her pregnancy. Each woman approaches the experience in her own way. For some the decision is quite straightforward, for others this may not be the case.

Every year, thousands of women and couples face unplanned and possibly unwanted pregnancy. Most women are helped through this experience by someone they trust.

We know that providing reassurance and support to someone you care for can be difficult, particularly if you are both experiencing a situation that you may find stressful.

This page aims to help you understand the consultation and treatment process and answer the most frequently asked questions and concerns that partners have.

Clients holding hands in clinic

The final decision to end or continue the pregnancy is made by the woman herself. You may feel a little helpless and excluded during this process. You might feel more involved by asking your partner or loved one how she would like you to help and reassure her.

We need to make sure that the treatment we provide is legal and safe, so we need to perform certain checks and processes before treatment. There are a variety of people to see and the person you are supporting can re-join you in the waiting room in between each stage of the consultation, medical assessment and treatment process.

We ask for your patience while we carry out the checks and medical tests needed to ensure the wellbeing of your loved one or friend.

Consultation lasts about an hour and a half and is made up of several parts.

Your partner, friend or relative, will be seen alone to discuss her private thoughts and feelings concerning the pregnancy. We need to find out if she is sure of her decision or if she would like to talk about her pregnancy in more detail.

We undertake a medical assessment involving an ultrasound scan. If a decision has been made to end the pregnancy, treatment is discussed with a healthcare professional. When the treatment method has been chosen Once any possible treatment complications or side effects have been fully explained consent to treatment will be signed then treatment is arranged.

There are a number of different methods of abortion, which depend on the stage of the pregnancy. Not every treatment type is suitable for all women. Our treatments are very safe and straightforward, especially in the early weeks of pregnancy.

There may be further appointments, depending on the treatment type chosen. This is discussed in depth at consultation. It is unlikely that an overnight stay will be needed, but if this is necessary we can provide information about local places to stay.

It is normal to feel a little low after abortion treatment while the body adjusts to changing hormone levels. In the longer term, some women feel a sense of loss while others may feel relief, or a mixture of emotions.

Most women experience bleeding for several days after their treatment.

If unplanned pregnancy results from the failure of a usual method of contraception, this may result in anxiety about the risk of another unintended pregnancy.

To reduce the risk of infection, we advise against having sex for two weeks after the termination, but if vaginal penetration takes place a condom must be used to avoid infection.

For couples experiencing unplanned pregnancy and abortion this can be a difficult time, particularly if you and your partner do not agree about whether to continue the pregnancy or not.

Worried about your friend or partner's recovery or after treatment?

If you think you may benefit from further advice from other counselling organisations, ‘Relate' can be contacted on 0300 100 1234 or www.relate.org.uk

Some women may experience a sense of loss or relief or confusion after an abortion. Partners, family members and friends are best placed to see how a woman is feeling and to give her any support and reassurance that she may need or ask for.

We have more detailed information to help you support your partner, daughter or friend. Please select the most appropriate title below:

Supporting clients with additional needs

Clients may require BPAS to make reasonable adjustments to ensure they are well supported throughout their journey. You can find out more information here.