Most pregnancy abortions in Australia are performed surgically. In Victoria, they must be performed within Day Surgeries approved by the Department of Health called ‘Registered Day Surgeries’, or by the major Public and Private Hospitals. Performing a surgical abortion in Melbourne requires most Registered Day Surgeries and second trimester abortion clinics to also undergo vigorous steps to ensure that the correct processes are in place by becoming “accredited.” Accreditation is performed by official agencies and reviewed annually. At Hampton Park Women’s Health Care, our surgical abortion clinic is both Registered and Accredited to perform surgical abortion. Melbourne Pathology has their own “Infection Control” Consultant who continually reviews and evaluates practices within our facility. Please note: A referral form is not needed.
Once you’ve made your decision to undergo a surgical abortion, you can book your procedure with us. Please notify us of any medications you are taking and any serious medical conditions, such as insulin dependent Diabetes Mellitus. Not everyone is a candidate for the procedure within a Day Surgery Facility, so please refer to the section: PATIENT INFO: “Am I safe to undergo a surgical abortion in a day surgery?”. This is a downloadable form that specifies the medical conditions which would make the surgical termination of pregnancy in a major hospital setting a safer course. We also provide counselling services, if you are finding it hard to make the decision to terminate, or perhaps you need someone to just talk to.
On the day of the surgery, you will need to fast for 6 hours before the operation. We ask that you bring only one person with you who will also drive you home. This is because the waiting room at our medical abortion clinic is not designed to cater for large numbers of people and we like to keep the appointment as private as possible.
When you arrive, you will be seen by our admission nurse who will go through your medical history and perform a preliminary abdominal ultrasound to confirm that surgery is suitable e.g. that your dates are right and that the pregnancy is located within the uterus. She will discuss your decision to confirm that you are confident in proceeding with the abortion. Then, she will explain the operation to you, going through the possible complications and after-care information and informing you of the abortion recovery time. This information is downloadable and we encourage you to read through this and write down any questions that you might have: see PATIENT INFO: “Complications of a surgical termination of pregnancy”.
You will be given the chance to ask questions to help increase your understanding, such as what happens during an abortion. Following this, you will be seen by the operating doctor, who will answer any questions you have and double check that you remain confident in your decision. She/he will discuss your reproductive medical and contraceptive history with you to determine which contraceptives might be suitable for you after the surgery. For information on the various contraceptive options available, you can also visit: PATIENT INFO:“Contraception options for Women”.
We encourage you to visit this section so that you are more informed and familiar with the various contraceptive options available and their side effects.
You will then be seen by the anaesthetist who will escort you into theatre. For more information about the anaesthetic, please visit PATIENT INFO: “The Anaesthetic”.
Once you’re asleep, the operating doctor at our medical abortion clinic will examine you to identify the size and position of your uterus and then perform an internal ultrasound. This ultrasound will confirm the size of your pregnancy and allow a comparison to be made with the ultrasound performed immediately after the surgical abortion.
A speculum is inserted into the vagina so that the doctor can see your cervix. Swabs will be taken to check for Chlamydia and other bacteria that could possibly increase your risk of developing an infection after the operation. For more information, you can visit PATIENT INFO: “Chlamydia”. A pap smear can also be performed on request either by yourself or your doctor. These routine swabs take a few days to be processed and will allow the doctor to treat any infection discovered.
The doctor will then disinfect the area with an antiseptic. The cervix is then gently stretched in a process called ‘dilation.’ Once the doctor has stretched or dilated the cervix to an adequate width, a sterile plastic instrument is then slid into the uterus through the opening in the cervix. This instrument is called a ‘suction curette’ and resembles a curved plastic straw. Suction is created which then gently suctions the pregnancy and related tissues. Once the doctor feels the uterus is empty, she/he will then remove all of the instruments and finish by performing another pelvic ultrasound to confirm that your uterus appears empty and that the surgical termination of pregnancy has been successful. Most patients will have less than 50mls blood loss when undergoing a surgical abortion at our Melbourne clinic.
The surgery will take about 10 to 20 minutes, although this time may be longer if you’re visiting a second trimester abortion clinic. You’ll also be required to stay in recovery for an hour afterwards. You can read more about what happens during post-op below.
You will be monitored throughout the procedure and once it has been completed, you’ll be transferred to your recovery bed for further supervision. All patients must stay in recovery for a minimum of one hour after the operation. You must be driven home from our abortion clinic by your partner or friend, who should then watch over you. You will not be allowed to drive yourself home, as you will be still drowsy from the anaesthetic, which puts yourself and other drivers at risk. We recommend that you do not drive for 24 hours after the surgery. Once home, we recommend that you have a light meal and then go directly to bed for a few hours. For further after-care information about the abortion recovery time, please visit: PATIENT INFO: “After Termination of Pregnancy”.
Your period after an abortion that’s performed surgically will usually start within 4 to 8 weeks. You may find that your first period is light to begin with, and it may be shorter than usual. Your doctor will be able to provide you with more information on what you can expect when it comes to your period after abortion.
It’s recommended that you wait 6 weeks after an abortion to have sex. Before resuming sexual activity, a reliable method of birth control should be organised to prevent future pregnancies. Learn about the contraceptive options available at Hampton Park Women’s Health Care.
For further information on the laws regarding surgical abortion in Melbourne and Victoria, visit: PATIENT INFO: “The Operation & the Law in Victoria”. It is important to remember that the surgical termination of pregnancy is an operation. When you decide to have an operation of any kind, it’s important to understand the procedures and the possible risks involved. It’s also important that you understand all the post-op and recovery information provided to you.
If you would like to learn more, call us to arrange to sit down with one of our caring and supportive staff members.