Here are some of our most commonly asked questions, but if you have a question that’s not answered here then send us a message.
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Will I be able to work during my medical abortion?
After the FIRST step tablet, it is likely that you will be able to continue your normal life without feeling very different. However, you may start to bleed so it’s a good idea to wear a pad in your underwear. After the first step, you may feel less pregnant but otherwise, you should feel pretty normal.
However, on the day when you plan to take the SECOND step of the medical abortion, you will need to plan NOT to work. You will need to be somewhere safe and comfortable, and not make ANY plans for the whole day. This includes NOT working, NOT meeting people or looking after young children. We recommend you get support from someone who knows you and cares about you, as you will feel UNWELL and have limited ability to carry out normal activities.
You may also consider taking the following day off, after the day of taking the second step medication. A medical certificate can be provided for this period of time if requested.
If you feel well enough on the third day after taking the 2nd Step medication, you can resume your normal schedule, though you may continue to bleed for up to 3 weeks after the medical abortion. If you have significant pain on the third day after taking the 2nd step tablets, you should seek medical attention locally.
How long will the medical abortion process take?
The first tablet can be taken at any time, preferably as soon as possible after you collect the prescription. Then between 24-48 hrs later you will take the second lot of tablets. This second step (consists of 4 tablets), should be taken in the morning after a light breakfast. This is Day 1 of the miscarriage. Make sure you are well hydrated by drinking plenty of water the day before. Its a good idea to take pain relief (and anti nausea pills) on Day 1, before taking the second step medication. The second step medication can cause you to vomit so by having pain relief already in your system, it will be working for you even if you vomit later.
About 30 mins after taking the second step tablets you will start to bleed and get cramps, which may be severe. For this reason, you should not make any plans to be anywhere other than at home or somewhere safe and familiar and be supported by someone who knows what is happening and who is able to care for you.
On Day 2, after the miscarriage, you will feel tired. You will still have bleeding and maybe some light cramps. You should plan to have a quiet day.
On Day 3 after the 2nd step tablets, you can resume your normal activities of daily living but don’t expect too much of yourself. You may continue to bleed for up to 3 weeks after the medical abortion. During this recovery time, you can go to work or study or look after others, but you should not have sexual intercourse until it is confirmed that the medical abortion has been successful.
You will have a telehealth consultation or a text check-in approximately 1 week after the medical abortion to ensure that all is well. You will do a home urine pregnancy test around 3 weeks after the medical abortion to ensure the procedure was successful.
Will it be painful?
What can I do to manage the pain?
We will usually prescribe strong pain-relieving tablets at the same time as the medical abortion pills. You will collect pain relief medication at the same time as when you collect your medical abortion pill prescription.
Note; The pain is usually at its worst for 6 to 7 hours after the second step tablets, and then should subside significantly. So, if you take the 2nd step tablets, in the morning you should be in a comfortable state by late afternoon and should be able to have a good night’s rest after the medication has worn off.
Why do I need to get the tests done urgently?
However, if you require a scan for dating, it is important not to do this too early as nothing conclusive is showing in the uterus. This means you may end up having more tests including blood tests to confirm that you are suitable to proceed. We do not recommend that you have your scan before 6 weeks from your last menstrual period, in case it is too early.
If you are unsure about your due date, or suspect that you are further along than 6 weeks, you can get your scan as soon as possible.
If you are “too early”, then you may go into a “holding pattern” of more tests until we can confidently exclude ectopic pregnancy and generate the prescription for your medical abortion drugs.
If your pregnancy is later than 70 days, then you can choose to have a surgical abortion (termination of pregnancy).
Is there a cost for tele-abortion?
EMA is free for NZ Citizens and NZ Residents (check eligibility).
Blood tests are free, however there are some gaps in fees for Ultrasound scans, and any cost here would be placed on you.
Your prescription medication for the EMA will be free, at pharmacies offering free prescriptions.
After the abortion you can have a blood test and day 7-8 to confirm that the miscarriage has been complete.
Or, there is a special low sensitivity post abortion urine test that can be done at around three weeks, this is not currently funded by the government and costs $20.
Will you help me choose a good method of contraception?
Effective contraception will help prevent further unplanned pregnancies, but you need to find a contraceptive that suits you. It is likely that we will be able to include a contraceptive prescription at the same time as we provide you with the abortion pill prescription.
I don’t want anybody in my community to know that I am having a medical abortion. What can I do to maintain my privacy?
Your information will never be shared unless you request that we do so and/or give us your permission to do so.
However, we will advocate for you and support you in any way that we can. This includes liaising with other health professionals on your behalf.
For example; we will give you a choice of local dispensing pharmacies where you can collect your medication. This means that you can choose a pharmacy that is not in your local community if you wish.
How do I get my medical abortion pills and how much will they cost?
The EMA medication will cost approx. $25, pain relief $5 and anti-nausea medication $5.
Pharmacists are bound by professional confidentiality in the same way as other health professionals are.
What happens if I have problems or my medical abortion doesn't work properly?
You will be given a contact phone number if you encounter any problems throughout the abortion.
If you do need to seek assistance at your local hospital, we will speak directly with the healthcare professionals as required.
What happens if I am treated badly by local health services because I chose to have an abortion?
If you have any concerns about your treatment throughout the EMA process, please click here to see what your rights are.
What if I have a Rhesus negative blood type?
If you have a rhesus negative blood type, it is not considered necessary for you to have Anti D injection for early medical abortion (under 70 days).
If you have a surgical abortion or decide to continue the pregnancy, then Anti D injections may be offered to you.
Can you send me the medications by New Zealand Post?
What happens if there is a complication?
We may recommend that you have further treatment and/or investigations if you have a complication. There is no extra fee for our services for ongoing support and assistance.
We will help you if you are unlucky and have a complication. In about 1-2% of cases of medical abortion, a surgical procedure is required to complete the process.
If you have any unanswered questions please read through the Decide website.