Early Medical Abortion at Home
To be suitable for EMAH you must
You have chosen EMAH. This means that you are able to take the second set of medication in your home setting, rather than attending hospital for the second medication.
- be 16 years of age or over
- be in good health, with no significant previous pregnancy problems
- have someone at home with you for the whole of the second treatment day
- have a telephone
- have access to transport so that you can attend clinic/hospital if concerned
- be within 30 minutes travel time of a hospital with an emergency department
- be under 9 weeks pregnant
You will attend Sandyford for your first medication, and at that visit, the doctor or nurse will explain in detail about your second medication, and agree a day and time for you to take the second medication. You will be given a pack of medication for your second treatment day, with instructions about how to use the medication.
You may experience bleeding between your first and second treatment days. Even if this happens, it is very important that you still take the second medication – both treatments are needed to ensure the abortion is successful.
What to expect at home
You will have bleeding that is going to be heavier than your normal period, and is likely to include some large clots. The bleeding will usually start within 2-3 hours of the second treatment. You should make sure you have plenty large or night-time sanitary towels at home. You should use the toilet as often as you need to, and can flush it as normal, and dispose of the sanitary towels as normal.
Do not use tampons or menstrual cups.
After your treatment
The bleeding will be quite heavy for the first few days, and will get lighter after that. Most women bleed for 7-10 days in total after treatment, although sometimes the bleeding will last for a few weeks.
You will be fertile again very soon after your treatment, so it is very important that you start using contraception straightaway. If you have chosen contraceptive pills, you will have a supply to start on the same day. If you have chosen an implant or injection, this will be given at the time of your first medication. If you wish an intra-uterine method (coil) we will arrange an appointment to return for this, and offer you an interim method.
Confirming that the abortion treatment has worked
Although this treatment is very effective, there is a small chance that it may not work and that you may still be pregnant. This happens in around 1 in 100 women. To make sure that the treatment has been successful, you need to do a pregnancy test three weeks after your treatment. This is a special type of test which detects if there is still a high level of pregnancy hormone, which could indicate that you are still pregnant.
If the test is positive, or you are concerned that you could still be pregnant, we will arrange for you to return for a scan. If your test is negative, and you have no concerns, there is no need to return.
If you are not happy to do the pregnancy test yourself, you can ask for an appointment and return to the clinic for a test.
- if you experience continuous heavy bleeding (soaking three or more pads in one hour whilst resting)
- if you do not have any bleeding within 24 hours of your second treatment
- if you bleed for less than 4 days in total
- if you develop a smelly discharge, fever or abdominal pain that does not respond to painkillers
- if you still ‘feel’ pregnant (sore breasts, sickness, bigger tummy) after one week
- if you do not take your medication as instructed
- if the follow-up pregnancy test is positive or invalid-if you have any other concerns
Sandyford TOPAR advice: 0141 211 8629 or 07976713277
Monday to Thursday 8.30am – 7pm Friday 8.30am – 4.30pm
If you need urgent advice outwith these hours contact Gynaecology ward 49 at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital on 0141 201 2282.
If you have very heavy bleeding or severe pain, which is making you faint or feel very unwell, you should go to your nearest A+E unit.