This Happens During an Abortion

In the event of an abortion, you will receive information, examinations, and the opportunity to speak with the GP before the procedure. In this article, you can read more about the examinations and checks you undergo at the GP and in the hospital, and about the choices you have.

The Termination of Pregnancy Act gives the woman the right to decide for herself whether she wants to terminate or complete the pregnancy by the end of the twelfth week of pregnancy. A form for requesting an abortion is filled in and signed by the woman, and the treatment is carried out in a hospital or collaboration with a hospital.

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This takes place at the primary care doctor

  • The pregnancy is confirmed based on the medical history (absence of menstruation) and a positive pregnancy test. The urine sample is analyzed if this has not been done in advance, or if the result of the test is uncertain
  • The doctor carries out a gynecological examination if there is uncertainty about the length of the pregnancy, or if it is considered necessary to take samples from the vagina and cervix. It is recommended for most people to take a chlamydia test so that any treatment can be started before the actual abortion is carried out
    • A chlamydia test can be taken during a gynecological examination by a doctor in the hospital, or by the woman herself
  • If you wish to have an abortion, you will receive information about how it takes place (see medical abortion or surgical abortion )
  • If you wish, the doctor will tell you about your options for advice and guidance. You can also get information about the help society will offer if you choose to carry out the pregnancy.
  • You fill in the form: Application for termination of pregnancy
  • The doctor submits the signed form to the hospital together with the referral. You have the right to choose which hospital you want to use
  • It is also allowed to contact the hospital yourself without going through the GP

If you wish, you can have several conversations with the doctor before the operation. It is therefore important to remember that the pregnancy must not exceed 12 weeks. You can also change your mind at any time.

This happens at the hospital

You attend the preliminary examination after the hospital has received your request. Alternatively, you can contact the hospital yourself to make an appointment. The doctor gives you information about the procedure at the hospital. You can choose between surgical and medical abortion. The choice of abortion method is made in consultation with the doctor. More than nine out of ten induced abortions are done with the help of drugs. 

The preliminary examination usually takes place at the hospital’s gynecological outpatient clinic. The doctor measures blood pressure, examines the heart and lungs, and possibly performs a normal abdominal examination. If it has not been done before, a chlamydia test is taken. If there is any doubt about the duration of the pregnancy, an ultrasound examination will be carried out.

Blood tests will be taken, you will be told the time and place of the abortion and other practical information. If you wish, you can receive contraception guidance.


There are few and not very serious complications from induced abortion.

Complications occur in less than five percent of cases, and there have been no reported deaths from abortion in Norway.

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In both medical and surgical abortions, it happens that the uterine cavity is not completely emptied. This can cause persistent bleeding, and possibly fever and abdominal pain. In some cases, a surgical scraping /emptying of the uterine cavity must be carried out. Heavy bleeding after the procedure is somewhat more common with medicinal compared to surgical abortion.

A few women get pelvic inflammatory disease, this applies to both methods. An uncomplicated induced abortion has not been shown to affect the ability to later become pregnant. A very unusual complication of surgical abortion is that a hole is made in the uterine wall during the operation. Then the woman must be admitted for observation because in some cases bleeding can occur. In exceptional cases, an operation may also be necessary.

Unusually, the operation is not successful, that is, the pregnancy is not terminated. If you feel pregnant or your period does not return within five weeks, you should take a pregnancy test or contact a doctor to find out if the pregnancy has progressed.

Possible psychological reactions after an abortion

This can be feelings of guilt, self-reproach, or grief. It is not unusual to grieve even if the choice is well-founded and correct. For most people, it will help to talk to their loved ones. You can also talk to your doctor about feelings in connection with the termination of pregnancy. If there is a need for it, the doctor can refer you to a psychologist or others who can help you process the reactions.


In connection with the procedure, it is important to take some precautions:

  • For a surgical abortion, you must fast, for a medical abortion, it is not necessary. Fasting means that you must not consume food or drink after midnight the night before the procedure. You must also not smoke after this time.
  • After the procedure, it is normal to bleed and feel period-like discomfort for the first few days
  • You should avoid baths and sexual intercourse as long as you are bleeding
  • Use pads, not tampons, for bleeding that follows the abortion
  • Menstruation usually returns four to six weeks after the abortion
  • If you develop a fever, increasing pain, or bleeding, you must contact your doctor or hospital

Contraception guidance

Both the doctor in the primary healthcare service and the staff at the hospital raise the issue of contraception. According to the abortion legislation, you have the right to receive such guidance, if you wish. Contraception guidance is also provided by doctors, the school health service, and health centers for young people.

Choosing abortion

Deciding to have an abortion can be difficult. To be as sure as possible about the choice you make, it is useful to talk to someone about this. Surveys show that most people discuss the matter with their partner, friends, or family. People who are known and trusted will often be the best conversational partners.

The doctor can provide information about the support society can provide. You can also talk to a public health nurse or midwife in the municipality. There are private organizations that offer counseling for women considering abortion. Amathea is such an organization. The organization receives support from the public for its work.

In the brochure “Til you who are considering abortion” you will get more information about where guidance and counseling are offered.