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Abortion FAQs

We understand that you might have lots of questions. Our compassionate, non-judgmental staff can help with your queries or you can find more more information below.

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General FAQs

Are abortions funded by the NHS?

Most women living in the UK (excluding Northern Ireland) can have their treatment paid for by the NHS or another government department (97% of BPAS clients in 2018). Check if this applies to you when you call 03457 30 40 30 to book.

If you are a European national currently in the UK but do not have access to NHS funding and are more than 10 weeks pregnant, please contact the Abortion Support Network for advice on funding: www.asn.org.uk/

If you need to fund your own treatment click here for prices

How confidential is the service?

Very – we understand the need for confidentiality and have a legal duty to protect your privacy. We keep information about you safe and secure. It’s usual for healthcare providers to inform GPs that we have treated their patients - we will ask you if it is OK to contact your GP. Click here for more information about your health records.

Why do I have to give my personal details?

We collect the minimum information needed to treat you safely, legally and check if your treatment can be funded by the NHS. We protect all the information you give us and use it to deliver and improve care.

Will abortion affect my ability to get pregnant in the future?

If your treatment is uncomplicated it won’t cause any issues with future pregnancies. There is no proven connection between abortion and future infertility, ectopic pregnancy or other pregnancy complications. Abortion can be associated with future pregnancies ending before the due date; this risk increases with each abortion but the medical evidence is not enough to show a connection. We use evidence based information to provide you with all the information necessary to make the decision that is right for you. A healthcare professional will explain all the known risks and complications associated with your treatment choice.

Does having an abortion increase my chance of getting breast cancer?

No - there is no proven link between breast cancer and abortion.

GPs and Blood tests Results

If you have been referred to your GPs for blood tests, you will be contacted once the results are back from the GP surgery. BPAS cannot chase GPs for blood results but as soon as the results are back you will be assessed for suitability of treatment and be contacted.


I would like to cancel my appointment

To avoid waiting in our call queue, please email us from the email address you provided us at the time of your booking to info@bpas.org with your reference number and password. There is no need to call us as we will cancel your appointment for you.

What if I change my mind, or wish to rearrange my appointment?

You can change your mind at any time - we want you to be totally sure. Call 03457304030 to rearrange your appointment so your appointment isn’t wasted. You can also call if you want to book some or more pregnancy options counselling.

I have forgotten the details of my appointment

You will have been sent an email on the day you called which will have all the details on, time and date of your consultation. Please also check your spam folder.

I have submitted an online form and not heard anything

You will receive your appointment via email or contacted by an appointment advisor within 24 hours of submitting your online request. Please note the call will come from a private number. If you need to contact us regarding your appointment request submission, we advise you do not call back before the 24 hours.

I would like an earlier appointment

The appointment we have given you is the earliest available. We would advise you to try and keep this appointment to ensure there are no delays in your treatment.

When will I have my treatment after my telephone consultation?

Options and timescales for treatment will be discussed with the nurse during your consultation and you will be told on that call what the next steps will be.

When will I get a telephone consultation call?

The email you are sent once we finish booking your appointment will give you all the information you need to know. Please be available one hour before and one hour after your appointment time to ensure you do not miss your call.


Some questions and answers will be specific for each treatment type. Look at the different treatment options here.

What are the risks?

Abortion treatment is very safe, especially in the early weeks of pregnancy. No clinical procedure is without risk and these are fully explained to you before treatment.

Will I be given Pills by Post?

Pills by Post is for clients who have a gestation of 9 weeks and 6 days or under however the decision will be made after your consultation after a medical practitioner has assessed you fully.

Which treatment is best?

The best treatment for you depends how many weeks pregnant you are, the results of your medical assessment and your preference. The abortion treatment type we offer you will be based on clinical opinion and best practice guidelines. We’ll discuss this with you fully before treatment.

Is treatment painful/does it hurt?

This depends on the type of abortion you choose, and your own pain tolerance limit. We will make you as comfortable as possible. 

  • Vacuum aspiration (local anaesthetic) up to 12 or 14 weeks - you will feel cramping similar to period pain. You are given pain relief tablets and a numbing injection to the neck of your womb (cervix). 
  • Vacuum aspiration with conscious sedation up to 14 weeks – you are relaxed and sleepy and will feel little or no pain.  You will be given a numbing injection to the neck of your womb and sedative medication is given through a cannula (thin plastic tube) placed into a vein in your hand
  • Dilatation and evacuation from 15 to under 24 weeks - over 18 weeks this is done under general anaesthetic so you will  be unconscious and  feel no pain during the procedure. Anaesthetic or sedative medication is given through a cannula (thin plastic tube) placed into a vein in your hand.  From 15 to 18 weeks treatment is usually done with conscious sedation so you will be relaxed and sleepy and will feel little or no pain.
  • Early medical abortion up to 10 weeks (70 days) - you will have strong cramping similar to period pains.  We can give you strong codeine and you can also take ibuprofen. 
  • Medical abortion over 10 weeks (70+ days) - gas and air and painkillers are given as needed for the contractions experienced during labour and delivery. Over 22 weeks gestation you will need feticide which involves mild discomfort during the injection to your tummy.
Does the fetus feel anything?

Current research shows that the senses of the fetus are not developed enough to feel pain before 28 weeks gestation.

Why do I need to go for a scan?

The scan is required to know the exact gestation so that the appropriate treatment can be arranged. We understand some clients are a little anxious when they are booked in for a scan, the scan consultation is very discrete.

Do I have to see the scan?

We make sure you won’t see any images unless you want to.

Can my partner stay with me?

To protect clients and staff and to comply with infection control measures we are restricting the number of client companions/escorts allowed into our clinics. Click here for more information.


For more information after treatment, go to Abortion Aftercare.

My pregnancy test is positive after my abortion, what shall I do?

If you have taken the special pregnancy test that BPAS gave you, please call the aftercare line for advice.
A normal shop bought pregnancy test is very sensitive and can remain positive for up to 6 weeks post treatment. We know that your hormone levels drop after an abortion but they take some time to go down to below the “non pregnant” level. If you are worried that you are still pregnant after your treatment, please call the aftercare line for advice. If you think you have a new pregnancy, please contact the booking and information centre.

How will I know if the abortion is complete?

The pregnancy hormones rapidly decrease after an abortion with pills. Your pregnancy symptoms, should resolve quite quickly, sickness takes around 2-3 days to go away (although some people say it’s immediate) and sore breasts and tiredness should resolve within 7-10 days of your abortion. If you took the pregnancy test that we gave you and it is negative, that is a good sign the abortion is complete. If you notice ongoing pregnancy symptoms, or your test is positive, or you just have a feeling that you are still pregnant contact the aftercare line for support.

When will I get my next period after the abortion?

If you normally have regular cycles, your next period should start about 4-6 weeks after the abortion. It may be lighter or heavier than usual at first. Ovulation happens about 10 days to 2 weeks after you have had your abortion so you can get pregnant again very soon. Please use contraception if you want to avoid a new pregnancy.

When can I have sex again?

You can have sex again once you feel ready, emotionally and physically. Ideally you would wait until the bleeding has stopped, usually after 1-2 weeks, but you don’t have to if you feel ready sooner. You can get pregnant almost immediately after treatment, so it is important to use contraception if you do not want to get pregnant.

How long will I bleed for?

Some people bleeding right up until their next period, however, on average it lasts for around 1-2 weeks, but can be lighter bleeding for up to 6 weeks - use sanitary towels during this time. If you are using hormonal contraception, like the pill, the patch, the injection or the implant, this can cause some irregular bleeding for a few months. After surgical abortion, a few women will not experience bleeding until their next period.
If your bleeding soaks 2 or more sanitary towels per hour for 2 hours in a row, contact the clinic or Aftercare line on 03003336828 urgently for advice. If you can’t call, go to A&E.

Can I use tampons?

Use sanitary towels for 1 to 2 weeks after treatment. Tampons can be used for your next menstrual period.

I'm having severe cramps, is this normal?

During the treatment, some very strong cramps are expected, they should feel better if you take a large dose of ibuprofen (800mg). In the days and weeks following abortion, some cramping is normal, but severe cramps may be a sign of complication. Contact the aftercare line for support if you have severe cramping along with heavy bleeding, fever, or foul-smelling discharge.

How will I feel emotionally after the abortion?

Everyone is different, a lot of people just feel relieved that it’s over, and that’s ok. Some people have mixed emotions. Give yourself time to process. Call 03457 304030 to make an appointment for post abortion counselling if you feel the need to talk. This is a free service for women who’ve had BPAS treatment. If you are really struggling and feeling thoughts of self harm, please contact 999.

Do I need to take time off work/school?

Everyone recovers differently. Listen to your body and if you get pains or you feel unwell, take some time to yourself. Return when you feel ready, but avoid heavy physical activity for 1-2 weeks. If you need to have some time off you can legally self-certify for a week but if you need longer than that, your GP can help with a medical note.

What about travel after the treatment?

It’s best not to travel within 24 hours of treatment. If you must travel, make sure you know how to get emergency medical care if needed. If you choose to travel after taking the 2nd medication (misoprostol) of the abortion pill up to 10 weeks - you may have cramps and bleed heavily during travel.