National Women’s Health provides first trimester (up to 12.6 weeks at time of referral) termination of pregnancy at the Epsom Day Unit (EDU). The region served by EDU runs from Mercer in the south to Warkworth in the north.
Termination of pregnancy is legal in New Zealand under the provisions of the 1977 Contraception, Sterilizations and Abortion Act and 1961 Crimes Act. The law requires that two medical practitioners - designated certifying consultants appointed under the Act - agree that the pregnancy will seriously harm a woman's physical or mental health.
Referral to EDU is made by a general practitioner (GP) or from a Family Planning Clinic. The appointment is made by telephone, then the scan and referral letter are faxed through to the clinic. GPs and FPA clinics are aware of referral criteria to the clinic.
If the patient requires an interpreter, please inform the EDU scheduler at the time of making an appointment. There is no charge for this service. Relatives and friends are not able to act as interpreters. Interpreters for women who have impaired hearing can also be arranged.
Epsom Day Unit (EDU)
We understand that unplanned pregnancies happen and that every woman has the right to choose for herself how to deal with the situation. We also know it can be hard to make a decision about what to do.
Your choices are:
1. Continue the pregnancy and become a parent
2. Continue the pregnancy and place the baby for adoption or fostering
3. End the pregnancy with a termination, if you are legally able to do so
If you think that termination is the right option for you, you need to visit either your GP or Family Planning. They can then refer you to us.
If you are unsure about what to do, you can make a counselling appointment at Epsom Day Unit without a referral from a doctor.
Who works at EDU?
Epsom Day Unit is staffed by a multidisciplinary team of nurses, doctors, social workers and administrative staff. Your information is kept confidential and not released without your consent.
We do not have childcare facilities so please arrange for your children to be cared for whilst you are at the clinic.
Epsom Day Unit offers counselling to help you decide what to do about an unplanned pregnancy. You will have an opportunity to talk with a nurse about the options, but if you need more time to consider your choice, you will be encouraged to speak to a counsellor in more depth. You can make an appointment with a counsellor for pre decision and/or pregnancy options counselling before you ask for a doctors’ referral to the Epsom Day Unit. We also provide counselling after you have had your termination.
If you decide to continue your pregnancy we can assist with access to antenatal care and support. If you decide to have a termination you will need to see your G.P. or Family Planning clinic for a referral if you have not already done so.
Waiting time for Appointment One varies depending on how busy EDU is and the gestation of the pregnancy. Urgent appointments are available for patients referred in the late part of their first trimester. Appointment Two is usually scheduled for between one and seven days after the first.
What choice of termination is offered?
Epsom Day Unit offers two types of termination: using medicine or through surgery. Click here for the patient information leaflets on Terminations of Pregnancy.
From as early as 5 weeks and up to 9 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. These start to prepare your womb (uterus) by relaxing the muscles and causing contractions of the womb. They also 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.
From 7 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, and 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 different medications to help with the pain.
Which option might be right for me?
The termination method you have depends on how many weeks pregnant you are (our pregnancy calculator can help you figure this out), your health and your personal choice.
How much does a termination cost?
Termination services are free for New Zealand citizens and those on a work permit of two years or more. We check your eligibility for free treatment when you first arrive. If you cannot prove eligibility, our charges are $1,300. You can pay by cash or credit card.
What happens at an Epsom Day Unit appointment?
You will check in with the receptionist who will ask for identification and check your eligibility for free treatment. You will be introduced to your nurse. Your support person will be asked to wait whilst you are shown to your room. You will be offered counselling. Many women find this can help with their decision making, particularly those who are unsure of their decision and need further time to consider available options.
Your nurse will ask questions about your medical history and social circumstances. She will also discuss contraception options so that you can think about which method might work best for you and help you make an informed choice.
She will ask if you have a preference for medication or surgical termination. She will measure your height, weight and blood pressure.
Your support person can then join you in your room while waiting to speak with the doctor.
After meeting the doctor, the nurse will explain what to expect during the termination procedure and how to manage when you go home. She will give you important information about follow up care.
The doctor will further discuss your decision to end your pregnancy. They will advise which method is most appropriate for you and explain possible risks and complications. They will also advise which contraception method is appropriate for you and arrange for you to start this straight away.
The Law says that you must discuss your decision to terminate the pregnancy with two doctors. Therefore you will be seen by a second doctor who will ensure that you have all the information you need to agree to a termination of pregnancy and answer any questions you still have.
Some women realise that they need more time before they make a final decision to end their pregnancy. If you are not sure or not ready to proceed at that point or change your mind you will go home. You will need to see your GP or Family Planning for further care.
Medication termination up to 9 weeks
At least two separate visits to EDU are required. At the first visit a nurse will give you your first tablets (Mifegyne) to swallow. You can then go home. Most women are able to carry on with their usual activities. You may have some bleeding and period-like cramps. You may feel a bit nauseous. If you vomit within 30 minutes please ring us as you may need to take them again.
It is unlikely that the termination will happen after taking the first set of medication. You will return to EDU for a second visit between 36-48 hours later. You will be given the second medication (Misoprostol) to swallow or to insert in your vagina. You will be given some pain medicine and instruction on how to look after yourself and who to contact if you need help. Then you can go home.
To get ready for your procedure your nurse will:
- Give you some medication (misoprostol) to start the termination process
- Offer you some medications to relax you and minimise pain
- Offer you the opportunity to change into a hospital gown
- Insert a small plastic tube (cannula) in your hand or arm. This will be used during the procedure to give you a different pain medication
About one hour after taking the first medication your nurse will escort you to the Procedure Room and help you get positioned comfortably. The procedure takes around 10 minutes.
Most women are ready to go home within 30 minutes after their surgery. Before you go home, you will
- Be offered an injection of Anti D Immunoglobin if your blood group is rhesus negative
- Have the plastic tube (cannula) removed
- Be given your discharge paperwork
- Be clear about the contraception choice you have made and how this works
- Know how to safely look after yourself at home and when to ring for advice
Most women can go back to their usual activities the next day. Most women will have some bleeding that can last up to 3 weeks. Some women will have cramping for a few days after the procedure. If you need to take a long haul flight within 2 weeks of the procedure, please discuss this with the doctor.
You will need someone to escort you home, as you will not be allowed to drive home. The only exception is if you are coming for a counselling appointment only
Termination is a safe and legal procedure in New Zealand with very few serious complications. Since 1978 when legal terminations have been available in New Zealand no women has died as a direct result of a termination.
What are the health risks of medication termination?
Medication terminations are generally regarded as safer than surgical terminations because they do not involve an anaesthetic, nor pose a risk of physical damage to the cervix or womb, and have less risk of infection. Many women believe it is a more natural method and allows more privacy.
In about 5 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 are the health risks of surgical terminations?
With all operations, complications can occur. About 5 in 100 women who have a surgical termination will need medical attention and some may require admission to hospital for further treatment. The termination may be ‘incomplete’ with some small bits of tissue left inside the womb. This can lead to infection of the womb and/or abnormal bleeding after the procedure.
Location & transport details
Epsom Day Unit is at Greenlane Clinical Centre. Stagecoach 283 and 007 routes run through the site. Other buses with drop off points along Manukau Road are Stagecoach 304, 305, 312, 328 and 348. For details on bus and public transport routes to call AT Transport on 09 366 6400 or check AT Transport
ADHB charges for car parking. If you are parking in the Visitors car park at Greenlane Clinical Centre the charges are $6—$8 for 3 to 4 hours or $10—$11 for 6 or 7 hours. There is no charge when dropping you off or picking you up as long as this takes less than 30 minutes.
Epsom Day Unit
Greenlane Clinical Centre
214 Greenlane West, Gate 1, Epsom
Phone: (09) 631 0740
Fax: (09) 630 9819