Medical Abortions in Melbourne: A Discreet, At-Home Option

by | Aug 21, 2020 | Pregnancy, Women's Health | 10 comments

🕓 Reading time: 4 minutes

All the GPs at Doctors of South Melbourne consider access to safe pregnancy terminations to be an essential part of every woman’s healthcare – and a necessary right.

We’re very fortunate to live in Australia, where we have some of the country’s most liberal abortion laws.


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When considering a pregnancy termination, most people believe that a surgical abortion is the only choice.

However, it’s comforting to know that there’s another reliable option for women up to 63 days or nine weeks pregnant.

Known as a medical abortion or medical termination, this non-invasive method involves taking a course of tablets over two days.

If you’re in need, we hope this post helps give you some clarity and guidance.

What Steps Are Involved in Getting a Medical Abortion?

Medical abortions are carried out over four stages. You’ll typically need three appointments throughout the treatment and a minimum of three blood tests.

Stage 1 Initial consultation (1st appointment)

At your first appointment, your GP will discuss your medical history and give you all the essential information. This info includes the steps involved in the procedure, as well as before- and after-abortion care.

They’ll then organise an ultrasound and a blood test to confirm your pregnancy particulars, get your consent to proceed, and answer any questions.

You can estimate how many weeks pregnant you are using this gestational calculator.

Stage 2 Pregnancy test results & prescription (2nd appointment)

When you return for the second appointment, your GP will look at your test results to confirm how many weeks pregnant you are.

They’ll also confirm if you have an intrauterine pregnancy, which means your pregnancy is within your uterus. Doctors can prove this via an ultrasound from 5-6 weeks.

Having a medical termination of pregnancy when you have an ectopic pregnancy can be unsafe.

If you’re up to nine weeks pregnant (intrauterine) and decide to proceed, your GP will give you a prescription for the medication, commonly known as MS-2 Step.

You’ll then fill the prescription at any pharmacy to take home. Doctors don’t give you any medicines or drugs for the medical abortion.

Your GP will also give you pathology forms for two more blood tests to be done before and after taking the medication.

Stage 3 Blood test and taking the medication at home

Before taking the medication, you’ll need a blood test conducted by a pathologist. This should be done the morning you intend on taking the medication (or the day before at the earliest).

Following the blood test, take one tablet containing mifepristone followed by four misoprostol tablets between 36 and 48 hours later.

abortion pill in melbourne

Mifepristone, also called RU486, blocks progesterone – the hormone that allows your pregnancy to grow.

Misoprostol softens your cervix to help your uterus expel the pregnancy.

You’ll experience a miscarriage in up to 24 hours. It’s a good idea to take it easy for a few days and have a friend or family member around for support.

Stage 4 Blood test, follow-up, and pregnancy test (3rd appointment)

You’ll need to do another blood test 7-10 days after taking the medication.

You’ll also need to return to see your GP for a final appointment 12-14 days after taking the medication.

At this appointment, your GP will confirm that you are no longer pregnant and check that you are feeling OK. If necessary, they may need to order further testing or treatment.

How Much Does a Medical Abortion Cost?

The GPs at our clinic charge only for three standard appointments. Please see our Appointments page for fees.

Depending on the pharmacy, the MS-2 Step prescription will cost $35-50 for Medicare cardholders. People without Medicare can expect to pay approximately $340 for the medication.

Typically, the blood tests are bulk billed by the pathology company.

Some radiology companies will bulk bill the ultrasound while others might charge – it’s best to check before making your appointment.

How Do I Prepare?

A pregnancy termination can be pretty daunting. Being the case, you should weigh up your options and talk it over with someone you trust.

On the other hand, some people take a pragmatic approach to abortions – many view such procedures as part of the family planning journey.

There’s no right or wrong approach to this complex and personal health issue. Any caring doctor will respect your point of view.

Will I Be In Pain?

After taking the mifepristone tablet, you won’t be in pain but may feel nauseous and notice some light bleeding.

medical terminations rest

As the second dosage of tablets containing misoprostol starts to take effect, you may experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Bleeding:
    • Heavier bleeding for up to four hours.
    • Moderate bleeding for up to seven days – similar to a regular period.
    • Intermittent bleeding may continue for a month.
  • Cramps
  • Headaches
  • Occasional vomiting

Once the abortion is finished, symptoms tend to subside after a few hours.

Most women find that over-the-counter pain relief, a hot water bottle, and a few days resting at home work wonders.

What Should I Do After the Procedure?

It’s a great idea to take it easy on yourself in the days following the procedure. There’s a 1% chance of infection, which can be minimised by avoiding:

  • swimming or taking baths;
  • sexual intercourse;
  • inserting tampons or anything else into your vagina, and
  • exerting yourself with exercise, manual labour, or heavy lifting.
abortion mental health

An abortion can sometimes cause considerable emotional distress. Though most people are relieved after such a procedure, around 10% of patients suffer from negative thoughts or confusing feelings.

Rest assured, this is entirely normal and understandable.

If your mental health is getting the better of you, your GP is here to help. They can also refer you to a mental health professional as needed.

Will an Abortion Affect My Fertility?

No. Medical and surgical abortions do not affect your fertility or future reproductive health.

Pregnancy terminations are some of the most common and safest medical procedures conducted in Australia.

In saying this, there’s a very slim chance that a surgical abortion can result in uterine cavity scarring, known as Asherman syndrome.

Following your next menstrual cycle, your body will no doubt bounce back and begin functioning normally.

Where Can I Get a Medical Abortion?

You can access a medical abortion through your doctor or any number of women’s health and sexual health clinics.

Your GP must be certified to offer medical advice and prescribe the required medications.

If you’re unsure, we suggest getting in touch with us to discuss your options.

Like More Information?

There are plenty of resources available to women seeking objective information and advice, including:


Doctors of South Melbourne icon

A few GPs at Doctors of South Melbourne have specialised training in medical pregnancy terminations and related care.

If you’re in need, please call us on (03) 8579 6838 for more information and to make an appointment.


10 Comments

  1. Darren

    Hi,we are looking for the first steps to start an medical abortion and we are currently 10 weeks pregnant and looking for guidance on the best way to go about this

    Reply
    • Doctors of South Melbourne

      Hi Darren,

      We recommend you book a 30-minute appointment as soon as possible. Your GP will talk through you and your partner’s options and help you decide the best approach for your circumstances.

      Kind regards,
      Doctors of South Melbourne

      Reply
  2. G

    Hi, am I allowed to get a medical abortion if I don’t have a medicare card? Thanks

    Reply
    • Doctors of South Melbourne

      Hi G,

      Yes, you are allowed to get a medical abortion without having Medicare card. However, please be aware that the costs could be quite high as you’re not eligible for government Medicare subsidies.

      Kind regards,
      Doctors of South Melbourne

      Reply
  3. V

    Hi, I pregnant for few weeks, can I do medical abortion? I have Medicare card. How much does it cost?

    Reply
    • Doctors of South Melbourne

      Hi V,

      Though every woman’s situation and circumstances are different, medical abortions can generally be undertaken for women who are up to 63 days or nine weeks pregnant.

      We charge appointments at our usual rates, which you can find on the Appointments page of our website under Fees & Payments: https://www.doctorsofsouthmelbourne.com.au/appointments/

      Kind regards,
      Doctors of South Melbourne

      Reply
  4. S

    I am more than 16 weeks need to terminate my pregnancy asap is that can happen in your clinic

    Reply
    • Doctors of South Melbourne

      Hi S,

      If you’re over 63 days (or nine weeks) pregnant, you’re not eligible for a medical termination. However, there may be other options available to you.

      We suggest you speak with your GP, who may refer you to an appropriate service.

      If you cannot discuss the matter with your usual GP, feel free to book an appointment with one of the doctors at our clinic.

      Take care,
      Doctors of South Melbourne

      Reply
  5. L

    Hi, currently at most approx 4 weeks pregnant, booked an appointment, but I’d like some information regarding ultrasounds/bloodtests; are they referrals to another healthcare provider to book into or completed on the day within the appointment?

    Reply
    • Doctors of South Melbourne

      Hi L,

      During your first appointment, your GP will outline the process and make referrals for all the necessary tests.

      Blood tests don’t require an appointment and can be done at any pathology blood collector. An ultrasound will require an appointment – your GP will explain the optimal timing to book this.

      At your second appointment, your GP can then prescribe medical termination medications. In most cases, they will not need to refer you to a specialist.

      Kind regards,
      Doctors of South Melbourne

      Reply

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