Sexual Health D&G



Abortion/Termination of pregnancy

Unplanned pregnancies are very common, with 1 in 5 resulting in termination of pregnancy. This can be a difficult decision to make at what can be a very emotional time.

The nurses and doctors at Sexual Health D&G are there to talk over the options with you. This includes discussing the long term implications, both physical and emotional, and considering practical matters such as what method of contraception you will use in the future.

This 4 minute video from NHS Lothian explains what happens when a young person is thinking of an abortion. Please note that in Dumfries and Galloway the sexual health clinic do not carry out scans or give the abortion medication. You will be referred to a clinic at the hospital for this.

If you wish to be referred for a termination then the doctor or nurse will make a hospital appointment and if possible, give you the details before you leave the clinic.

If you attend an evening clinic the arrangements will be made the next day. You will be asked if you give permission for your GP to be informed. Read about confidentiality.

If it is not possible to obtain a termination under the NHS or you wish to go privately, arrangements can be made through the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) or private clinics. This may be expensive depending on how far advanced the pregnancy is.

If you have already decided not to continue with the pregnancy, and prefer not to attend Sexual Health D&G you can self refer to Cresswell Maternity Hospital for an appointment – 01387 241200.

» Termination of pregnancy leaflet (PDF 61Kb)

» Termination of pregnancy myths leaflet (PDF 1Mb)

If you require more information about the methods of termination of pregnancy in order to make a decision follow the link –

Frendz - Pregnancy Crisis Centre (Dumfries)

Frendz is a free confidential service run by professionally trained volunteers providing help for women and families facing a crisis pregnancy or post abortion stress by providing the following

You can contact Frendz as follows:

Up to 12 weeks

Surgical Termination

A pessary (a tablet) is sometimes placed in the vagina before the operation to soften the neck of the womb.

Then, while under a general anaesthetic, the contents are gently sucked out. This only takes five minutes and the procedure is usually done as a day case in hospital. You go to the ward in the morning and are usually allowed home later the same day. Occasionally you may be required to stay overnight.

After the operation you may feel some period-type cramp. You will probably bleed for a few days and you may also be given an antibiotic to cut down any risk of infection.

Medical termination

This may be offered up to nine weeks but it is not suitable for everyone e.g. if you suffer from asthma or heart disease.

The method does not usually involve an operation, but you will require two visits to the hospital:

1st Visit:
One tablet of Mifepristone is given and you will be asked to stay for 1-2 hours for observation before being allowed home.

2nd Visit:
Two days later, you go to the ward and a pessary (tablet) is inserted into the vagina. The contents of the womb are then expelled within the next six hours, though it may take longer. This is rather like a heavy period and you will probably have some cramp like pains which may require a painkiller. Once this has happened, you can go home if you feel well enough. Occasionally all the contents of the womb are not expelled and you may need a short surgical procedure called dilation and curettage (D&C).

After returning home, if you have heavy bleeding or an offensive discharge, contact the hospital, Sexual Health G&G or your GP.

Outpatient Management

If you are under 9 weeks gestation and over 18 years of age you may be able to choose to go home after your pessary rather than stay in hospital. This means you would expel the pregnancy tissue in the privacy of your own home; please ask your nurse/midwife to explain what this involves if you think you would prefer to be at home.

12 weeks onwards

Medical Termination (Mifepristone)

This is similar to the procedure described previously for up to twelve weeks.
Mifegynae tablets are given by mouth and two days later you go to the ward where pessaries are put into the vagina. This brings on a "mini-labour". You will be given painkillers and you may require a short surgical procedure called dilation and curettage (D&C) afterwards to remove the afterbirth (placenta).

After termination

If you have a lot of pain and bleeding or you are running a high temperature, it is important that you contact your GP or the hospital.

Follow up is only required if you had Outpatient Management,  also known as Early Medical Discharge, when  you will be given an appointment  to return in 3 weeks . However, it is also recommended that you do a pregnancy test 3 weeks after your termination to confirm you are no longer pregnant.


It is important to make arrangements for reliable contraception. If you are going on the pill, you can start the day you leave hospital. The contraception injection can be given to you before you leave the hospital. Arrangements can also be made for the insertion of an intra-uterine device (IUCD or coil). Condoms are always available. Please ask for a leaflet regarding methods of contraception.

Future fertility

The operation itself usually has no effect on future fertility, but if you get an infection and do not get this treated promptly, there may be problems in the future.

Emotional upset

You may feel you would like to discuss your feelings afterwards. This can be done during your next visit to the Sexual Health clinic, or by your GP or a counsellor.


It is better if your own GP is informed of the situation but if you have strong feelings about this, speak to the doctor or nurse at the clinic or hospital and they will make sure that no contact is made. Parents and partners are not informed unless you so wish though it is difficult for those under 16 years of age if a parent does not know. 

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