Do you think you might be pregnant? Or has it recently been confirmed that you are pregnant? If you have had sex and missed a period it is important that you find out whether or not you are pregnant as soon as possible.

If you are pregnant, you should make an appointment to see a midwife as soon as possible. To do this, you will need to phone your GP surgery, local health centre or maternity hospital, and ask for a booking appointment with a midwife.

Don’t drink alcohol if you think you are pregnant or are planning a baby.

Alcohol during pregnancy can affect your baby’s brain and development.

Remember: No alcohol, no risk

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When your pregnancy test is positive but you didn’t want to be pregnant

You may feel confused, upset, shocked or dismayed. However you may feel you will need to consider the options open to you. How much time you have depends on how far on in the pregnancy you are already.

These are your options:
1. continue with the pregnancy and keep the baby
2. continue with the pregnancy and have the baby adopted or temporarily fostered
3. having the pregnancy terminated (have an abortion)

There are a number of people who can help and advise you. You may wish to discuss things with the clinic nurse or doctor, with your GP, the staff at the Day Ward at Ayrshire Maternity Unit, Crosshouse or the dedicated counselling service at Ayrshire Central Hospital, Irvine .

If you do not wish a termination but couldn’t cope with bringing up a child, then adoption might be the answer for you. You can find more about this from the Social Worker at Social Work Department, Ayrshire Central Hospital, Irvine.

It may also be helpful to discuss the options with your partner, a friend or your family before making your decision.

In the end only you can decide what is the best thing for you to do.

Many people have faced the same choice and most feel they made the right decision in difficult circumstances.

The nurses and doctors at your GP practice or sexual health clinic can talk over the options with you, at the time the test is done and at a later appointment. If you decide to continue your pregnancy, you can be referred to the antenatal clinic. There are ‘pro-life’ charities that can offer emotional and practical support to women who request it.

Thinking about termination?

Before you decide, you need to consider the reasons you want a termination:

  • Is it the only option?
  • If you have financial problems – would talking to a social worker help?
  • If you feel you couldn’t cope – consider what help might be available – would your family be supportive?
  • Would talking to a medical social worker help?
  • How you will feel – immediately afterwards and in the long term
  • If you are going to tell anyone
  • The possible complications of a termination- although these are rare

The Law

If you want an abortion, the law says two doctors need to see you to confirm that the abortion would be legal according to the criteria set out in the Abortion Act. There are time limits to abortion, so the sooner you get advice the better. Remember that the number of weeks you are pregnant is worked out from the first day of your last normal period.

Legally in England , Wales and Scotland, you can have an abortion up to the 24th weeks of your pregnancy, with the agreement of two doctors. However it is safest if the abortion happens in the first 9 weeks of pregnancy . Most abortions are carried out before this time. : At Day Ward in Ayrshire, abortions are carried out up to 17 weeks and 5 days. If it is not possible to obtain a termination from the NHS or you wish to go privately, arrangements can be made locally or through the British Pregnancy Advisor service (BPAS) or private clinics. This may be expensive depending on how far advanced the pregnancy is. Some of your costs may be met by the NHS

Having an abortion in Ayrshire

In Ayrshire terminations are performed in a dedicated unit called the Day Ward at Ayrshire Maternity Unit at Crosshouse.

If you decide you want to be referred for a termination you need to speak to your GP or staff at a sexual health clinic. They will make a hospital appointment. The termination is not usually done at the first hospital appointment although depending on the consultation, the first part of medical treatment may be offered. You will have a scan to check how many weeks pregnant you are and you will be given a date for the termination which is usually within a few days.

There are two types of termination:

  • Surgical termination is a day-case procedure under general anaesthetic (no need to stay in overnight usually)
  • Medical termination. You take tablets and 2 days later go back to the hospital for some vaginal tablets which leads to the womb expelling the pregnancy

Some women are able to go home to expel the pregnancy (early discharge), but depending on the stage you are in your pregnancy and other factors you may need to remain in the Day Ward.

An abortion is a way of ending an unwanted pregnancy using either medicines (drugs) or a surgical procedure. The types of abortion that can be used depends on the stage of pregnancy.

In Ayrshire medical and surgical abortions are available. You should ideally have a choice of methods, although this may not always be possible.

Whichever type of abortion you have, you will usually be able to go home the same day.

In Ayrshire abortions are done in a self contained ward.

Early medical abortion – up to 9 weeks of pregnancy

Medical abortion is the most effective method for women who are less than 7 weeks pregnant. It is also a possible choice at any stage of pregnancy.

You will need to attend the hospital or clinic twice, on 2 separate days. On the first visit you take tablets of mifepristone to block the hormones that help a pregnancy to continue.

On the second visit you will be given prostaglandin, either as tablets or as vaginal pessaries. Prostaglandin is a hormone that makes your womb expel the pregnancy, usually within 4 to 6 hours. Some women can go home after the vaginal pessaries (early discharge) to complete the abortion at home. The nurse will discuss this option with you at the clinic to see if you are suitable for this.

Medical abortion – after 9 weeks of pregnancy

You take the same drugs as you would for an early medical abortion. At this stage, however, abortion takes longer and you may need to have more than one dose of prostaglandin.

Suction termination– usually from 7 to 12 weeks

In Ayrshire, suction termination is carried out under general anaesthetic.

The entrance to your womb (known as the cervix) is gently stretched and opened until it is wide enough for the contents of the womb to be removed with a suction tube. The extent to which the cervix needs to be opened depends on the size of the pregnancy. To make this safer tablets containing misoprostol (a type of prostaglandin hormone) are put into your vagina to soften the neck of the womb.

You can find more information about having an anaesthetic at:


You have a right to confidentiality if you are seeking an abortion. Your GP, parents or partner do not have to be informed, even if you are under 16.

If you have an abortion arranged by a sexual health clinic, you will be asked if you give permission for your GP to be informed. It is better for your GP to know what has happened, but the choice is yours. About abortion care in Ayrshire: what you need to know. This information is for you if you are considering having an abortion.