What are my options for terminating my pregnancy?
posted by: Susan Mills
An abortion is the medical process for ending a pregnancy, and there are two types: medical and surgical.
MSI Reproductive Choices (MSI) is one of the leading abortion services across the South West with their main surgical centre in Bristol, and community treatment centres in St Austell, Plymouth, Paignton & Exeter.
If you are a resident in the Torbay area, you can self-refer to the Torbay Pregnancy Advisory Service (ToPAS). This is an NHS service that offers medical abortion up to 10 weeks and surgical abortions in Torbay (usually) or Exeter. You can access ToPAS by calling 01803 656500.
If you have had a positive pregnancy test, MSI have a number of ways to help.
In the early pregnancy stages, under 9 weeks and 6 days, MSI can offer at home options whereby medicine is sent to you to self-administer. This is a medical abortion option and is referred to as ‘telemedicine’. This essentially means that you do not need to be seen in person to obtain your treatment.
Your first consultation will be via the telephone with a health advisor, and they will take your full medical history to assess suitability for at-home treatment. If you are eligible for the telemedicine option, MSI will then book a second phone consultation with a nurse/midwife who will explain the treatment and post your treatment pack to you.
You will be provided with a booklet and instructions on how to take your medicine, as well as a 24-hour contact number to call if you experience any problems or have concerns.
If you don’t meet the criteria for telemedicine, you will be offered a face-to-face appointment at one of the treatment centres. If suitable to proceed after this assessment, you will be given your treatment to complete at home.
For pregnancies from 10 weeks, up to the legal limit of 23 weeks and 6 days, surgical abortion services are offered at its Bristol centre. Same-day surgical abortion is offered between 10 and 20 weeks. Treatment from 20 weeks involves a two-stage treatment and you can either go home between the treatments or stay in nearby hotels.
Devon Sexual Health recommends that appointments are booked via the telephone, rather than online, as this will ensure you get the date for your first consultation straight away and you’ll be able to negotiate a convenient time.
Please note that their telephone lines are always busy – so you may have to be patient – but MSI endeavours to ensure all women have their first consultation within 7 days of first contact.
MSI also provide counselling services as part of their package of care. If you are unsure of your decision whether to have an abortion, you can access up to 3 sessions of pre-treatment counselling. Post-treatment counselling is also available to anyone who has had treatment with MSI, regardless of time elapsed (some women come back years later). If further support is required, the counselling team can signpost further services e.g. Talkworks, for ongoing support.
Their 24-hour advice line is 0345 300 8090 and you can find more information on MSI abortion services here: https://www.msichoices.org.uk/abortion/
We also have information on termination of pregnancies on our website: https://www.devonsexualhealth.nhs.uk/termination-of-pregnancy/
You can also contact our clinics to discuss your options and help with your referral.
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