Pregnancy choices

Am I pregnant?

The only way to be sure you're pregnant is to get a test. If your period is every four weeks, do the test if you don’t start your period on time. If your cycle is longer, do a test three weeks after the date you think you may have become pregnant; doing it earlier may give a false negative result and you will think you are not pregnant when you are.

As soon as you think you may have risked an unwanted pregnancy, think about emergency contraception to prevent conception. The most effective method is the ‘emergency’ IUD which can be fitted up to 5 days after the calculated date of ovulation.  Emergency pills (there are two types) are also readily available.

Termination of pregnancy through the coronavirus pandemic

In response to the Coronavirus Pandemic there will be some changes to the way our Abortion Care service is run in line with published guidance from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and British Society of Abortion Care Providers.

Please note at this time all our face to face appointments will take place in the Ambrose King Centre, Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel instead of our usual home at the Sylvia Pankhurst Centre, Mile End Hospital

Once a referral is received you will be contacted by text message and will be given a time for your first appointment which will be a phone consultation with a doctor from the team. You need to be in a suitable environment with good phone reception where you can talk openly. It will take around 30 to 40 minutes.

You should have a positive pregnancy test before you refer yourself. The pregnancy age will be calculated by the 1st day of your last period. Routine Ultrasound will be avoided unless the doctor feels it is essential. Please check and be as sure as possible as to when was the first day of your last normal period.

If you are 10 weeks pregnant or below you will be offered an early medical abortion (EMA) at home.

You will not be required to have any routine blood tests. But please organise yourself a test for sexually transmitted infections by going to www.ambrose.shl.uk.

Once you have completed the online registration, they will send you a testing kit for you to do yourself at home and send back in the post with the enclosed pre-paid envelope. This is important, please do this as soon as possible even if you do not feel that you are any risk.

After your initial phone consultation, If you are sure about your decision and wish to proceed with the early medical abortion at home you will be given an appointment to collect 2 different medications (Mifepristone and Misoprostol) together with written information and advice.

You will be given a choice of whether you would like to have your medications sent to your address by courier or if you would rather pick them up. Please consider if you would be comfortable to have the medications delivered, and discuss this with the clinician who phones you. The delivery can take some days so in some cases the clinician will advise you to collect your medications. This will depend on how far pregnant you are. You will be given a leaflet about what to expect from the procedure and how to contact us if you are worried. You will also be given advice about what painkillers you must have available at home. Please do ask if you are not quite sure what you should do, as it is very important to get it right.

We advise all women to use contraception after the procedure. At this current time, we can provide you with pills, patches, vaginal ring or the depo provera injection when you come to collect your medication. Should you want   an IUD, IUS or implant we advise taking a temporary bridging method (e.g pills) and arranging to come back to have your coil or implant fitted when the coronavirus crisis is over. Please look at www.contraceptionchoices.org for more advice about contraception before your phone consultation.

If you are more than 10 weeks pregnant, we will offer you a surgical abortion. This may be at the Royal London Hospital or in another safe hospital or clinic site. It may involve you attending at very short notice. This will be discussed with you during your phone call appointment. If you have a surgical abortion, the IUD, IUS or implant can be fitted at the same time.

After your termination you might experience a mixture of feelings - relief, sadness, tearfulness  and anger. These reactions are very normal and should settle down with time. It can help to talk to a friend/partner but sometimes it helps to talk to a professional counsellor. We offer a free and confidential counselling service for patients attending our services. if you feel you would like to talk to someone following your procedure then ask your clinician to refer you or contact us directly at sexualhealth.counsellors@nhs.net for an appointment. This will be a telephone session until the coronavirus crisis is over.

 

 

 

 

 

  

Your options

If you are pregnant you may feel a whole range of different emotions. It can be a very difficult decision. Some women know straight away, others need time to decide. Our services are there to support you in whatever decision you make or help you need. 

If you are pregnant you have three options:

  • You can continue with the pregnancy and have a baby 
  • You can have the baby and have it adopted 
  • You can have an abortion (sometimes called a termination) 

Whatever you decide, it is your decision. If you are sure that you want to keep the baby, you should see your doctor as soon as possible to arrange ante-natal care and to talk about looking after your health during your pregnancy. 

If you are unsure as to what to do, specialist support and advice is available

Termination of pregnancy

An unplanned pregnancy is often a difficult time. We aim to offer help and support in a confidential and non-judgemental way to enable you to make the right choice; to have a termination or continue with the pregnancy.

Making an appointment

Contact a service in Tower Hamlets:

  • Single Point of Access (SPA) phone line 0300 033 5000, only for people registered with a GP in Tower Hamlets, or people who live in Tower Hamlets but are not registered with a GP anywhere else.
    Note: this service is run for a number of local services, so you will need to be prepared to tell them that you would like an appointment to discuss your termination of pregnancy options. 

Contact a service in Waltham Forest:

Contact a service in Newham:

 

Contact a service in Hackney:

 

Your first appointment

On your first appointment at the clinic you will be given an opportunity to talk about your feelings, to get information about the procedures and to clarify any concerns you may have.

If you wish you can bring a friend, partner or relative with you. However, you will be seen on your own for part of the consultation.

If you are under 18 you will be seen by the under 18’s Pregnancy Advisor offering emotional support through the process, whatever decision you make.

You will be asked to have blood tests and swabs to check for infection.

After your first appointment, if you wish to proceed with a termination you will be given another appointment to see a doctor for your medical assessment on the same day.

When you see the doctor you will:

  • Discuss the procedure of the termination – medical or surgical. Be asked about your health and any illnesses or medication, for example, epilepsy, asthma, etc.
  • Have your blood pressure, height and weight checked.
  • Discuss your future contraception options.
  • Be offered a scan.
  • Sign a consent form if you decide to go ahead with the termination.

Please remember to:

  • Arrive on time and allow enough time in the clinic. You may be here for the whole morning.
  • Try not to bring children with you, but if this is not possible, bring another adult with you.
  • Let us know by replying to the text you received about your appointment, at least 24 hours before, if you are unable to keep your appointment.
  • Bring with you any medication or a list you are taking.
  • Bring your medical card with you.

 

Methods available:

  • Medical termination, up to 9 weeks

  • Surgical termination, 7-14 weeks

  • After 14, weeks medical or surgical, you can discuss the different methods with the doctor.