Pregnant? What can I do?
Finding out you are pregnant can be scary, but there is confidential help to support you and to discuss your options around making the right decision for you, and if appropriate, your partner
Early Signs of Pregnancy
Some people can tell that they’re pregnant because they feel different. For example, they might feel sick, tired, have tender breasts or experience mood swings. Often, the first time someone thinks they might be pregnant is when their period is late. But not everyone experiences all the possible symptoms of pregnancy.
Most pregnant people don’t get periods. However, if you have noticed that your periods are shorter or lighter than normal this can be a sign of pregnancy. There’s also something called implantation bleeding which can happen during pregnancy – after the egg is fertilised and attaches itself to the womb lining, some bleeding may happen. Sometimes, people mistake implantation bleeding for a period and don’t realise they’re pregnant. Implantation bleeding happens between 6 to 12 days after ovulation, while a period usually starts 10 to 16 days after ovulation, so it’s easy to mistake one for the other. The only way to find out for sure if you’re pregnant is by taking a pregnancy test.
Getting a test
If you have had unprotected sex, then there is a chance that you are pregnant.
The first thing to do is get the pregnancy confirmed. You can do this by going to any of the Sexual Health Clinics in Tayside or the Western Isles, your GP, The WEB, The Corner, Young people's services for free or you can buy a test from the pharmacy.
What are my options?
1. Emergency contraception
You can use this up to 5 days after unprotected sex to prevent a pregnancy. CLICK HERE for details of your choices.
Emergency Contraception is available free from your GP, pharmacies, & sexual health clinics across Tayside & the Western Isles.
2. Continuing with the pregnancy
If you decide to continue with the pregnancy you will be supported throughout the pregnancy by the Maternity Department, and ante natal services in Tayside. If you are aged 19 or younger you will be offered support from the Family Nurse Partnership throughout the pregnancy and after the child is born.
If you decide to continue the pregnancy but reliquish care of the child, then the ante natal services will contact the Social Work team, and a worker will support and take you through the options available to you and your child.
4.Termination of pregnancy (TOP)
If you decide to have a TOP (abortion) you will be supported by the NHS to do this in a non judgemental way in confidence. If you are at risk for any reason (Child protection), other professionals may need to get involved, but you will be consulted at all times.
TOP is only available in Tayside until 18 weeks and 6 days, after this a patient would be referred to British Pregnacy Advisory Service.
Appointment for a termination of a pregnancy.
Once you have been give plenty of opportunity to discuss your pregnancy and you have decided that you do not wish to continue with it, an appointment will be made at either PRI or Ninewells clinic. If your doctor/nurse has given you a letter, please take it with you to the hospital. The appointment will last approximately and hour. Your consultation is completely confidential although you will be encouraged to speak with your parents about the situation. You will have an STI screen as a routine before you have the termination
What happens when you arrive?
When you arrive you will be seen by a nurse, they will ask you a few questions, followed by a scan to confirm your dates, this is done by placing a scanner on your tummy, and occasionally a small devise is placed inside your vagina to scan you if you are in the early weeks of a pregnancy. After the scan there will be a further discussion and if you decide that you wish to go ahead with the termination, you may be offered a medical or a surgical procedure.
Early medical termination
This is offered up to 9 weeks of your pregnancy, it involves you taking a tablet which will stop your body producing the hormones that are keeping the pregnancy going, you will go home after being given this tablet and return any time between 1 and 3 days to the hospital.
You will then have a tablet put into your vagina which will make your womb contract and expel the products. If no products were identified the patient would be given a pregnancy test, with intructions to do it in two weeks time then inform the unit of result. This visit may take between 2 and 6 hours. After the staff feel certain this has taken place you will be allowed home.
Late medical termination 9week +
Same as early medical but the pessaries continue to be given every 3 hours with a maximun of 5 doses given in a 24 hour period until products are expelled. If no products are expelled then an overnight stay would be required. Needs to be carried out in Ninewells, not PRI.
Surgical termination 9-12 weeks
This can be offered if you are between 7 and 12 weeks pregnant and involves one day in hospital, a nurse will insert tablets into your vagina and about 2-3 hours later you will be taken to the operating theatre where you will be given a general anaesthetic. A small tube will be inserted through your vagina to empty your womb. You will be allowed home 2-4 hours after this. Contraception is always discussed and counselling after your procedure is available if required.
If you are under 16 and considered competent to consent to your own medical treatment, you can consent to an abortion.
If you are aged between 14-16 you do not need to take someone with you for your clinic appointment, but it is requested that if returning for the procedure you have someone over 16 with you. You are encouraged to try to involve a parent or another adult, for example another family member or friend.
For anyone under 14 the case would be discussed with the child protection team.
CONTRACEPTION after a termination
Your fertility can return quickly after having a termination, and so it is important to think about contraception immediately. You may not feel like talking about this so soon after, but it is important.
You can get information and advice from the professionals involved in supporting you through your termination.
What if I live in The Western Isles?
If you decide to have a termination (abortion) you will have to go to Inverness to have counselling & the termination. You will be supported by the NHS to do this and it is a confidential service for all people over the age of 12 unless you are considered to be at risk.
If you think you are pregnant, or know you are pregnant you can contact the following places:
- The maternity unit on 01851 708300 and ask to speak to Catherine Macdonald or Catherine Gillies. You can also text 07769932189
- The Family Planning Clinic in Stornoway hospital Tel: 01851 708305 to make an appointment
- Your GP. GPs offer a confidential service for every one and should be able to support you through the process. Some GPs do not do this, but will refer you to the nearest service that will support you.
- The British Pregnancy Advisory Service provides a free confidential services Tel 0845 7304030
Terminations are carried out in Inverness and there is a confidential number available to discuss 01463 704431