Frequently Asked Questions
+ How do I know how many weeks pregnant I am?
Your gestational age (length of pregnancy) is calculated from the first day of your last period. For example; if you're 2 weeks late for your period, your gestational age will be around the 6 week mark.
+ Do you help with contraception?
Yes we do provide contraceptive services. During your appointment you will be asked if there is any information you would like to receive regarding future contraception. We can also:
- supply you with a script for the oral contraceptive pill
- provide a contraceptive injection which can be administered at the clinic at a low fee
- insert an Implanon implant while you are having your procedure (or during a separate appointment). If you do require an Implanon implant, please discuss this when making your appointment. Should you want an IUCD, we will be able to assist you with that as well.
+ Which contraception is best for me?
This depends on a number of things specific to your health and circumstances; you will be given recommendations on the day by the doctor consulting. In the meantime you can visit our sexual health services page for information on some of the available contraceptive services.
+ How do I book an appointment?
+ How long does it take?
The actual abortion procedure takes approximately 15 minutes; however, you will be in the clinic between 3-5 hours to allow for adequate counselling and discussions with your surgeon and anaesthetist. There are also various time consuming administrative protocols which need to be followed (sorry). Read more about what happens during your visit.
+ How much does it cost?
The cost of abortion varies depending on the age of the pregnancy, your chosen procedure and whether you have Medicare cover, a Centrelink card. When you phone the Clinic a staff member will be able to tell you your specific "out of pocket costs" depending on your details and requirements.
+ What is the difference between a medical and a surgical abortion?
A medical abortion is done by combining two prescribed tablets. These make you expel the pregnancy. The medical termination takes between two and four weeks to complete.
A surgical abortion, on the other hand, requires an approximate 15 minute surgical procedure under anaesthesia where everything is done on the same day.
Please contact our staff if you would like either process explained further.
+ Where can I park?
Pay parking in the adjacent streets and several Public car parks are available at the Hospital or specialist centres along Wickham Terrace. There is also a nearby car park at the Grand Chancellor Hotel. There is limited onsite parking available at the Brisbane Clinic. Please discuss when making your appointment.
The Tweed Heads Clinic has onsite parking.
+ Can my partner, mum or friend stay with me?
Ofcourse, your support person is welcome to stay with you while you are waiting - and through your initial interview. Unfortunately due to privacy and sterility issues they will not be able to accompany you into theatre.
+ Will it be painful?
The surgical abortion is usually performed under anesthesia and you are extremely unlikely to experience any pain at all. Post operatively you may experience mild discomfort very similar to your usual period pain, although very occasionally a patient may experience moderate or severe pain that requires intravenous analgesics (pain relief). A nurse will be beside you throughout your stay in recovery to ensure that adequate pain relief and care is provided. Rest assured that adequate pain relief is always given to those who are experiencing pain.
If you have chosen a medical abortion you will experience moderate to severe pain as the pregnancy gets expelled via medication. You will be given pain relief tablets to take home with you, however, if you are experiencing severe pain, you may need much stronger medications.
+ How much, and how long will I bleed?
+ Can I use tampons?
No. If you use tampons, it will increase the risk of infection and it will be very difficult for you to know how much you are bleeding. It is important to be able to monitor your bleeding.
+ When can I go back to work?
This depends on what your work involves. It's not recommended that you do any heavy lifting or strenuous exercise for the first two weeks after the procedure. If your workplace can provide light duties or if you're in a role that requires no physical activity you may go back to work the following day. A medical certificate can be provided should you need one. Also, please remember you are not permitted to drive a motor vehicle for 24 hours after an anaesthetic.
+ How long is recovery?
You should be wide awake two hours post operatively - although you may feel as if you had a late night the night before. Despite feeling normal, your thought processes and reflexes may be impaired, so you should not sign any legal papers, make any important decisions, or drive a motor vehicle during the following 24 hours. No "heavy lifting" or "strenuous exercise" is permitted for two weeks.
+ When can I have sex again?
No vaginal intercourse is recommended for two weeks after your abortion. This is to avoid any infection or falling pregnant again straight away.
+ How long will I be in the clinic?
The surgical procedure takes approximately 15 min however you will be in the clinic between 3-5 hours. If you have chosen a medical termination, you will usually be with us for 1-1.5 hours.
+ Do I need a second appointment?
Yes you do. If you have chosen to have a medical termination (the abortion pill), it is a requirement that you have a check-up with us two to three weeks after your initial visit. If you have chosen a surgical termination, you should have a post operation check up to two to three weeks post your procedure. This can be done at our clinic or any GP. On the day of your procedure, you are given a letter that you can take with you to your doctor for a check-up.
+ How do I know if it was successful?
With a surgical abortion, the operating doctor checks the removed tissue to make sure that the operation was successful before you leave the clinic.
With a medical abortion, you need to visit the clinic for a follow up appointment two weeks after your initial visit to ensure the abortion was complete. The doctor will do an ultrasound and/or a blood test. Sometimes more than two visits may be required.
+ How soon can I get an appointment?
We can usually book you in within 48 hours.
+ What is Anti-D and who needs it?
Anti-D is a plasma product produced from the blood of selected Rh (D) negative donors. The product is given to pregnant women who are Rh negative. On average, approximately 17% of pregnant women in Australia will need anti-D injections during each of their pregnancies.
+ Can I use my private health cover?
If you have private health cover/insurance and would like to use it, we can provide you with an itemised invoice for you take back to your insurer.
+ Do I get money back from Medicare?
No. We bulk bill the Doctors fees for operation and anaesthetics. The payment that you make is towards theatre, accomodation fees, medical consumables.
+ What happens on the day?
You will be in the clinic usually between 3-5 hours. On arrival our friendly reception staff will give you information to read and forms to fill out. A counsellor will then see you to get your medical history, answer any questions you might have and undertake appropriate counselling. From reception you will proceed to the theatre suite to see the anaesthetist who will discuss your health and anaesthetic options.
During this waiting period you will have magazines to read, music to listen to, and a television to watch. You may wish to bring your own reading material. The surgeon will then see you and perform a physical examination and an ultrasound. Your surgeon will answer any remaining questions you may have. Finally a theatre nurse will take you to theatre. The procedure will take approximately 15 min.
After the procedure you will be in recovery for approximately 1 hour where you will be offered refreshments whilst being observed until you are fully alert. You can then be discharged into the care of the person who is taking you home.
+ Is it confidential?
Absolutely. Every member of our clinic, whether it is a medical staff member or one of our administration staff members, is legally bound by confidentiality.
+ How do I prepare for my procedure?
You will be given instructions when making your appointment. Please bring any doctors referral letter, ultrasound reports or pathology test results with you.
DO take any usual medications with a sip (30ml) of water on the morning of your operation.
Do NOT, however, take any diabetic medications unless this has been discussed with your anaesthetist, and do not eat or drink anything else for at least 6 hours before your operation.
You can find more information about preparng for your visit at your appointment.
+ Am I asleep for the operation?
Yes, for a surgical abortion you are. You will have a preoperative consultation with your anaesthetist where your options, and appropriate anaesthesia, will be explained and any concerns addressed.
+ Ectopic Pregnancy
An ectopic pregnancy is an abnormal pregnancy that occurs (grows) outside the uterus (womb). It accounts for about 1% of all pregnancies and remains the leading cause of maternal death in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Genital infections associated with fallopian tube infection such as Chlamydia, gonorrhoea and pelvic inflammatory disease increase the risk of Ectopic pregnancy. The other causes are surgery in the past, birth defects, and in vitro fertilization (IVF). Most causes of ectopic pregnancy occur in the fallopian tube (and the other sites are abdomen, ovary or cervix). This happens when the embryo stops in the fallopian tube and starts growing.
Up to 50% of women with ectopic pregnancy are asymptomatic (have no revealing signs). Sometimes the signs and symptoms are non specific or vague. Patients with ectopic pregnancy may present with history of missing menstrual period, symptoms of pregnancy, lower abdomen pain, vaginal bleeding, painful intercourse and positive pregnancy test. As it progresses, she will experience sharp pains in the lower abdomen, shoulder tip pains, dizziness and feeling faint from internal bleeding.
Untreated ectopic pregnancy may rupture, causing massive internal bleeding and lead to death.
An ectopic pregnancy should be considered in any woman with abdominal pain or vaginal bleeding who has a positive pregnancy test. Ultra sound scans and blood tests will confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment is managed in the hospital. It may be managed conservatively with medical treatment or surgical removal depending upon how the ectopic presents itself.
Hetero tropic pregnancy is the co-existence of intra-uterine pregnancy (pregnancy in womb) and an ectopic pregnancy. The incidence of this occurring is rare.
The finding of a pregnancy in the uterus almost always excludes the possibility of ectopic pregnancy.
+ What is the minimum age for abortion?
Some Australian states have restrictions on women under the age of 16 having abortions. In Queensland there is no minimum age for having an abortion, that is, for the pregnant woman seeking an abortion.
There are still limitations with regards to the term of the pregnancy.
+ In what pregnancy term is abortion available?
At our clinic we provide abortions up to week 15 of the pregnancy.
After the 15 week mark the chance of complications in abortions are high. This is why it's important to choose the right clinic with a good reputation. Your safety should be of the utmost importance.
+ What does the law say about abortion in QLD?
In the state of Queensland abortion is regarded as lawful if performed to prevent danger to a woman’s physical or mental health, despite abortion being illegal in the Criminal Code. This is why it is best to seek medical advice regarding abortion.
It is also important to consider that it is an offence for a woman to attempt to bring about her own miscarriage, as well as to illegally supply the means to procure a miscarriage.
At the end of the day abortion is YOUR decision. It is illegal to force someone to have an abortion, and it is illegal to stop someone from having an abortion. The decision has to be yours' and in your best interests. If you would like to know more about your options please contact our caring staff today.
+ Are there any side effects?
No, there aren’t any long term side effects. It's a safe procedure.
+ How long do I have to stay after the procedure?
You will spend an hour in recovery before going home.
+ What should I wear on the day?
Wear comfortable clothing.
+ Will there be protestors at the Abortion Clinic?
Occasionally we have a protestor. If you feel intimidated we can offer you private entry into the Clinic.
At Tweed Heads Clinic we have private parking available on the premises.
+ What questions will I be asked when I call to make an appointment?
You will be asked questions like:
- how many weeks pregnant are you?
- are you wanting a surgical or medical termination?
- do you have any medical conditions for example, diabetes or severe allergies?
- are you taking any medications?
- do you weigh over 120 kg?
+ Will I have to sit in a waiting room with other people?
We have several waiting areas and private rooms available for your privacy and comfort.
+ Do I need a Doctors Referral
No, you do not need a referral. You can self-refer and directly make an appointment with us.
However, if you do have a doctor's referral please bring that with you on the day along with any pathology results or ultrasound scans.