What is a medical termination?

From as early as five weeks and up to nine weeks, a pregnancy can be safely ended through the use of a combination of medicines, which induce a miscarriage. 

On the first day of the medication termination, you will receive Mifegyne tablets [PDF, 817 KB].  These will:

  • start to prepare your womb (uterus) by relaxing the muscles and causing contractions of the womb,
  • lower the hormone levels necessary for the continuation of a pregnancy. 

Two days later, you will receive misoprostol tablets. These work to expel the pregnancy tissue. 

For more detailed information on the medical termination process at Epsom Day Unit, take a look at our medical termination information leaflet [PDF, 747 KB].

What are the health risks of medical termination?

Termination is a safe and legal procedure in New Zealand with very few serious complications.  Since 1978, when legal terminations became available in New Zealand, no woman has died as a direct result of a termination.

Medication terminations are generally regarded as safer than surgical terminations because:

  • they do not involve an anaesthetic, 
  • they do not pose a risk of physical damage to the cervix or womb,
  • they have less risk of infection. 

Many women believe it is a more natural method and allows more privacy.

In about five in 100 women who have a medication termination, the termination may not be complete. If this happens to you then you will be offered a surgical termination.

What can I expect to happen after a medical appointment?

After your appointment, you may experience:

  • some bleeding/cramping
  • pregnancy tissue being passed
  • feelings and emotions in response to the medical appointment.

For more information, take a look at our information leaflet about aftercare following a medical appointment [PDF, 647 KB], which will tell you more about what you can expect.

Following the procedure, you may wish to consider your contraception options(external link). You can discuss this with your doctor.