What is a surgical termination?

From seven weeks up to 13 weeks, a pregnancy can be safely ended by a surgical procedure at EDU.

  • You will be offered some medication to help you relax before going into the procedure room
  • You will be given misoprostol tablets to help prepare the opening to your womb (cervix). 
  • During the procedure, the doctor will gently open the entrance to your womb (cervix) and insert a plastic tube.   The tube is used to remove the pregnancy tissue.
  • You will be offered medications to help with the pain.

What are the health risks of surgical terminations?

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.

With all operations, complications can occur. The most common complications are:

  • Blood clots collecting in the uterus may need to be removed by another suction procedure. This is similar to the abortion procedure and occurs for one out of every 100 women having an abortion.
  • Infection inside the uterus which is usually easily treated (2%).
  • The abortion has not completely emptied the uterus of pregnancy tissue with the procedure needing to be repeated (2%) or the potential of infection and/or abnormal bleeding after the procedure.

About five in 100 women who have a surgical termination will need medical attention and some may require admission to hospital for further treatment.A doctor will discuss the risks with you.

What can I expect after treatment?

  • You may experience some abdominal cramps or discomfort.
  • You may feel tired for a few days.
  • You may pass small blood clots.

For more information about what you can expect following a surgical termination, take a look at our information leaflet on aftercare following a surgical termination [PDF, 633 KB].

If you feel unwell after your abortion, ring your GP or Family Planning Clinic. Look out for the following symptoms:

  • a temperature of 37.5 degrees of more for longer than three hours (or feeling feverish)
  • severe cramps or constant pain in your abdomen (tummy)
  • heavy bleeding needing more than one change of pad an hour
  • numerous blood clots larger than a $2 coin

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