Getting Ready for an Abortion: Help and care


Getting Ready for an Abortion: Help and care

Abortion is a safe and legal way to end a pregnancy. While accessing abortion should be simple, things like getting time off work or finding a clinic nearby can be stressful. It’s important to take care of yourself during the process! If you’re having an abortion, it could be helpful to figure out how you want to take care of yourself. 

First steps

The first thing you can do before an abortion is learn more about the procedure. There are two types of abortion, surgical and medical abortions.

You can get a surgical abortion at many clinics or hospitals. The process takes around 10 minutes. During a surgical abortion, a doctor uses a tool to remove the pregnancy tissue. You will often be offered medicine to reduce pain around the uterus area.

For a medical abortion, you take two oral medications under the direction of your doctor. The medicine empties the uterus, which will feel like a heavy period. You’ll take the first medication at the clinic or hospital. You can the second pill at home or another place where you’re comfortable, like a friend or family member’s house.

Preparing for an abortion

Before going to the clinic or hospital there are some things you can do to get ready for your visit:

  • Take a few days off work of school if you feel like you’ll need them.
  • Bring things to entertain you in the waiting room like a book or a podcast or ask someone to wait with you
  • Arrange for someone to bring you home from the clinic if you opted for a surgical abortion
  • Think about who you might want to tell and who you might not want to talk about it with
  • Make travel plans if you need to

For more ideas, check out this list!

You may also want to plan how to make your space more comfortable for when you return. You could do things like:

  • Prepare snacks or meals
  • Choose activities to entertain you, like a movie or a book
  • Plan visits from friends or family
  • Reach out to someone you can talk to about your experience
  • Prepare for any needs after the abortion, like pads in case there’s bleeding or remedies for cramps like painkillers or a heating pad

Getting support during the process

Your support options during the abortion depend on which type you’re having.

If you chose a surgical abortion, a nurse will be in the room with you to answer any questions you have during the process. You can also think about some things like:

  • Bringing a family member or friend to be in the room with you if the clinic allows it
  • Listening to music during the process if the clinic allows it
  • Asking a nurse about any specific support requests

For a medical abortion, you have more control over your environment. For example, when you go to the clinic or hospital to take the first medication, you can bring someone with you as support. At the place where you’re taking the second medication, you can do things like:

  • Spend time with a family member or friend
  • Take a bath
  • Lie in bed

Support and Care After An Abortion

You can do whatever you need to do to care for yourself after an abortion. Most people recover quickly, but some might need a day or two off work, or for friends and family to be around for emotional support. For more about what to expect and how to look after yourself following an abortion, check out our FAQ!

More info

All About Abortion – Scarleteen

Scarleteen’s All About Abortion page gives details on what abortion is, how it happens, what it feels like, and how to take care of yourself…


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