Skip to main content

Auckland is at Alert Level 3, which means some changes to visiting and clinics. Find out more

As always, we're here if you need us.

Medical termination

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.  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 [, 422 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 second trimester medical abortion [PDF, 422 KB], which will tell you more about what you can expect.

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