Frequently asked questions

When am I fertile again following an abortion?

You are fertile again immediately after an abortion.

How much does an abortion cost?

An abortion is paid from the subsidies of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport for women residing legally in the Netherlands. That means that you do not need to pay it yourself. You must take proof of your insurance and a valid proof of identity to the appointment to ensure that payment is made.

In general, people living illegally or temporarily in the Netherlands are not insured in terms of the Long-Term Care Act and must personally pay for the costs of the treatment.

How great is the chance that an abortion is not done properly?

It may happen that the pregnancy is not terminated yet. In the case of being treated with the abortion pill, this occurs in between 1% and 4% of the treatments and in other cases of treatment, that chance is 1%-2%. In that case, a suction curettage must still be performed a second time.

The treatment is performed hygienically and the chances of infection are extremely small. You will be given antibiotics in the clinic as an additional precautionary measure to prevent infection.

If, after the treatment, you suffer from a fever (over 38°C) and stomach pain for longer than a day, there may be an infection. Then contact the clinic where you received the treatment or your general practitioner as quickly as possible. There is also the risk that of prolonged blood loss or intense post-bleeding. This mostly occurs if there is still some tissue left in the uterus after the treatment has been administered. If the tissue is not expelled automatically, a follow-up treatment must be performed to still remove the last few tissue remains.

All clinics have a collaboration agreement with a nearby hospital where – if necessary – support can be offered.

 

Can an abortion be performed under anaesthetic or sedation?

In principle, the treatments are performed under local anaesthetic. In addition, one can also choose to be sedated, in which case you will not notice anything of the treatment. You will then just sleep for a short while. State clearly when you make an appointment that you want to be sedated for the treatment.

If you choose for sedation, it is important that you do not eat or drink anything from 6 hours before the treatment. Chewing gum or peppermints are not allowed either. You must be sober because otherwise the contents of your stomach can run into your lungs during the treatment, which can cause serious complications. However, you may drink 2 mouthfuls of tea (without milk or sugar), apple juice or water before the operation. Smoking and the use of drugs is forbidden as from 24 hours before the treatment. The rest of the treatment is the same as in the case of a local anaesthetic.

After having undergone a treatment under sedation, you are not allowed to drive a car yourself or go into traffic. If you have certain medical problems or if serious overweight is concerned (BMI over 35), the doctor can decide not to put you under sedation to avoid any risks. You will then be treated under local anaesthetic or refer you to a hospital.

Does someone need to accompany you for an abortion?

It is not necessary, but we do recommend this. It is pleasant to have someone with you who supports you and whom you can trust. One person may accompany you to the talk with the nurse; the doctor will talk only to you during the medical pre-examination. No-one may be with you in the recovery room before or after the treatment or in the ward. Neither may anyone be with you during the treatment.

Remember that you may not drive a car or be part of public transport after you have been given a treatment under sedation.

What is the difference between an abortion and an early termination?

You will qualify for an early termination if your period has been overdue for a minimum of 10 days and a maximum of 16 days. An ultrasound scan is performed to see whether you fall within this term. The name early termination treatment indicates that an extremely early pregnancy is concerned, for which no period of reflection (waiting time) of 5 days is needed, and for which no reference is needed.

An abortion pill or a suction curettage, with or without sedation, can be administered up to 9 weeks into the pregnancy. Between 9 to 13 weeks, the treatment will be a suction curettage – with or without sedation.

 

Can I have an abortion done if I am not 16 years old yet?

Young people from the age of 16 years may personally decide on having a pregnancy terminated (having an abortion). Young people under the age of 16 years need the consent of one of the parents or of a legal guardian. If this is impossible, a second reference by Fiom, by a doctor other than the pregnant person’s own general practitioner or a consultant in our clinic will suffice.

In practice, this means that a young person under the age of 16 discusses the possibilities and personally lists the benefits and drawbacks together with an adult, makes her own decision and discloses the decision she has made.

What can I expect from using an abortion pill?

Pregnancy from the first day of the last menstruation can be terminated by means of the abortion pill (medicinal abortion).

This is how the abortion pill works:

On the first day of the treatment in the clinic, you are given medicine that blocks the functioning of the pregnancy hormone, which causes the pregnancy to stop.

From 24 to 72 hours later, you fit another vaginal medicine. You can do this at home. This way causes stomach cramps that may continue for a number of hours. These stomach cramps feel like intense menstruation cramps. Other possible side effects are nausea, shivering and diarrhoea. In combination with blood loss (which may be intense), the amniotic sac is expelled.

How long does the pain last?
The pain can be intense in the beginning and can last for another two weeks, as during menstruation.
Make sure that you have painkillers available, preferably also suppositories, because you can sometimes become nauseous from the pain.

Is it normal to have a fever?
It is normal that you body temperature increases. If your fever is higher than 38.5°C, you must contact the clinic where you were treated.

Follow-up examination
The pregnancy symptoms decrease sharply after approximately one week. It is advisable to have a pregnancy test and follow-up examination done between three and four weeks after the treatment. Feel free to contact our clinic if the complaints do not subside, the pregnancy test is (still) positive or if you still have any questions.
At the appointment for the follow-up examination in the clinic, we check to see whether you have recovered physically, (still) have any complaints and how you feel emotionally. We also discuss how you experienced the treatment and we talk about any issues you may have with the processing. We also consider contraception. You can also go to your general practitioner for a follow-up examination and, in some cases, the follow-up examination can also be done by telephone.

The abortion pill is not the same as a morning-after pill (emergency pill).

 

What are the chances of a bad experience with an abortion pill?

The chances of complications with an abortion pill are small. The most important complication is that you do have blood loss but that the pregnancy is not terminated. That is why there is a follow-up examination 4 weeks after the treatment. You can also do the pregnancy test yourself after 4 weeks.

The abortion pill causes stomach cramps that may continue for a number of hours. These stomach cramps feel like intense menstruation cramps. Other possible side effects are nausea, shivering and diarrhoea. In combination with blood loss (which may be intense), the amniotic sac is expelled.

How long does the pain last?
The pain can be intense in the beginning and the blood lose can last for another two weeks, as during menstruation.
Make sure that you have painkillers available, preferably also suppositories, because you can sometimes become nauseous from the pain.
Feel free to contact the clinic if you have complaints or questions.

Is it normal to have a fever?
It is normal that you body temperature increases. If your fever is higher than 38.5°C, you must contact the clinic where you were treated.

 

What side effects does the abortion pill cause?

In addition to blood loss, you can suffer from diarrhoea, nausea, shivering and slight temperature increase.

Are there any risks in using the abortion pill?

There is a small chance (1%-4%) that the abortion pill does not work properly and that the pregnancy has still not been terminated. A suction curettage must then still be done. There is a slight chance of an infection.

What complaints can I have following an abortion?

After the treatment, you can suffer from the following during the first few days:

  • blood loss and cramps;
  • stomach or back pain;
  • increase
  • emotional instability;
  • diarrhoea or nausea from the antibiotics;

any side effects of the pregnancy mostly disappear within between a few days and two weeks. A pregnancy test can give a positive result until 3 weeks following the treatment because pregnancy hormones may still be in your body then.

How much blood loss can I expect after an abortion?

Most blood loss often only occurs after between 4 and 7 days and can then be heavier and continue for longer than a normal period. You may also lose clots. The blood loss will often with a brownish discharge.

What should I do after an abortion treatment?

With regard to the risk of an infection, it is advisable to do the following after an abortion:

  • do not use tampons for the first two weeks;
  • do not have any sexual intercourse for the first two weeks;
  • do not have a both or go swimming for the first two weeks; you may have a shower, however.

For which complaints after the abortion treatment should I be worried?

It is advisable to do a pregnancy test between approximately three and four weeks after the treatment. Contact the clinic if you still feel pregnant, experience complaints or have any questions.

It is also important to have a follow-up examination. The follow-up examination is done in the clinic, by telephone or by your general practitioner if you prefer that. At the appointment for the follow-up examination in the clinic, we discuss whether you have recovered physically, (still) have any complaints and how you feel emotionally. We also discuss how you experienced the treatment and we talk about any issues you may have with the processing. We also consider the use of contraception.

The chance of infection is minimal but if you feel ill, have a fever (over 38 °C) for longer than a day and have stomach cramps, this may indicate that you have an infection. In that case, contact the clinic where you received the treatment or your general practitioner.

 

Will have a period again automatically after an abortion?

You should have another period within 4 to 6 weeks. Your menstruation may still deviate from your normal pattern in the beginning. If you use the pill, the bleeding will mostly occur after you have taken the first strip.

How long must I wait to have sex after an abortion?

To prevent any danger of infection, we mostly recommend not having sexual intercourse for the first two weeks after the abortion. Remember that you can become pregnant again shortly after the abortion if you have unprotected sexual intercourse.

How long must I wait to do sport after an abortion?

It is advisable to calm down after an abortion. During the first week, it is better to avoid heavy physical exertion such as doing sport or lifting heavy objects. You are the best person to feel what you and/or cannot do in due course.

I have had an abortion and I have great emotional problems as a result. Where can I find someone to help?

An abortion treatment can be an emotional incident. Even if women are sure that they do not want a child, deciding to have an abortion remains difficult. Many women struggle with conflicting feelings. Hormonal changes can also cause you to feel sad, sombre or unstable.

You can contact us if you need help to process the abortion. We can assist you or refer to someone else, e.g. for talks with an institution for social work or to participate in support groups with women who have undergone the same experience.

May someone attend the abortion?

It is impossible to have someone (parent, partner, boyfriend or friend) present before or after the treatment. It is in fact always advisable to bring your partner or someone else that you trust with you. He or she can support you before and after the treatment. You will talk to the doctor alone when undergoing the medical examination; however, someone may accompany you when you talk to the nurse.

Can I become infertile from an abortion?

This complication occurs extremely seldom. If it does happen, it is mostly caused by a subsequent infection. You will be given antibiotics in the clinic. There are no scientific indications in the literature pointing to reduced fertility after an abortion.

The following are some of the reasons why women do not become pregnant after an abortion:

  • one becomes less fertile as one becomes older;
  • dormant Chlamydiainfection development after the treatment.

When can I fall pregnant again after an abortion?

In principle, you are fertile again immediately after an abortion.

How much does an abortion (pill) cost?

An abortion is paid from the subsidies of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport for women residing legally in the Netherlands. That means that you do not need to pay it yourself. You must take proof of your insurance and a valid proof of identity to the appointment to ensure that payment is made.

In general, people living illegally or temporarily in the Netherlands are not insured in terms of the Long-Term Care Act and must personally pay for the costs of the treatment.

How will I know if the abortion has been unsuccessful?

The treatment is performed hygienically and the chances of infection are extremely small. You will be given antibiotics in the clinic as an additional precautionary measure to prevent infection.

Contact the clinic or your general practitioner if:

  • you have a fever (more than 38°C) and stomach ache for longer than one day after the treatment;
  • you suffer from prolonged blood loss or intense post-bleeding.

In the latter case, it may be that some tissue was left in the uterus. If the tissue is not expelled automatically, a follow-up treatment must be performed to still remove the last few remains. All clinics have a collaboration agreement with a nearby hospital where – if necessary – support can be offered.

Does an abortion hurt?

The pain that women experience varies from no pain at all to stomach cramps comparable to heavy menstrual cramps.

Until when can I have an abortion done?

In the Netherlands, one can have an abortion done until 22 weeks and 2 days of pregnancy (calculated from the first day of the last period). The decision whether a treatment can still be given depends on the result of the ultrasound scan on the day the treatment is given. The doctor will have the final say as to whether the treatment can be performed.

Can I have an abortion done anonymously?

An abortion is anonymous. You will not be sent post to your home and your appointment/treatment will not be registered anywhere else. For the purposes of our own administrative records and any possible changes in the  planning schedule, we only ask for your address and telephone number.
For partners, family and friends, it is handy to know that we never provide any information about possible appointments that a client might have with us. We never disclose information to third persons without your consent.

How long does an abortion treatment take? How long may I stay in the clinic?

Report to the reception for a number of details before the treatment. An ultrasound scan will first be made to be sure that you are pregnant and for how long. You will then have a talk with a doctor or nurse. You can ask any question that you may have regarding the treatment at that moment.

This is then followed by the actual abortion.

  • A first trimester treatment takes approximately 15 minutes.
  • A treatment as from 11 weeks takes a little longer, normally between 15 and 45 minutes.

After it is finished, you will still stay in the recovery room or the ward for a while. You will be allowed to go home when you feel fine again and after the nurse responsible has gone through a few matters with you.

In most cases, clients are at the clinic for a period of between 2 and 6 hours.

You must take into account that you will stay at the clinic for approximately four hours.

My general practitioner does not want to do any abortions. Where can I go to have one done?

You can make an appointment for an interview with the Amsterdam Abortion Clinic. If you have been pregnant for longer than 6 weeks and 2 days, we can perform the treatment only 6 days later because of the waiting time imposed by law (which is 5 days).

I do not want to go to my general practitioner, so where can I go for a reference for an abortion?

In principle, the general practitioner is the one who refers you to us. You can contact us if you do not want to inform the general practitioner. We will then have a look where you can be helped the fastest for the first consultation.