Medical Abortions are offered in PEI through the the Women's Wellness Program. A medical abortion is an abortion that uses medication to end a pregnancy. To access safe, confidential and supportive services, call 1-844-365-8258 (toll-free) to speak with a staff member or to make an appointment.
Surgical abortions are also offered through the program, for more information visit Surgical Abortions.
Out-of-province abortion services are offered at the Moncton Hospital in New Brunswick and the QEII in Halifax, Nova Scotia. To learn more, visit Abortion Services.
The below information provides answers to questions you may have about having a medical abortion in PEI through the Women’s Wellness Program.
When can a medical abortion be done?
To have a medical abortion through the Women’s Wellness Program, you must be no more than:
- 9 weeks pregnant
Your pregnancy and dating will be confirmed by staff using information about your last period, as well as, urine or blood tests, and ultrasounds. It is important to have the right dating of your pregnancy to pick the procedure that is right for you. Program staff can work with you to coordinate the testing to reduce the demands on you.
For abortions greater than 12 weeks and 6 days, staff can help you consider your options.
Will I need a referral?
No. Call 1-844-365-8258 (toll-free) to make an appointment or to speak with a staff member.
If I am under the age of 18, do I need parental/guardian consent?
No. You do not need parental/guardian consent.
Will I have to pay?
No. There is no charge for a medical abortion through the Women’s Wellness Program. However, you must have a valid PEI Health Card.
How does a medical abortion work?
A medical abortion is induced by taking two medications (mifegymiso) that will end a pregnancy. After a health evaluation, you will take a pill called mifepristone that will block the hormone progesterone, which is necessary to sustain the pregnancy. After taking mifepriston:
- changes will take place in the uterine lining;
- the cervix (opening of the uterus or womb) softens; and
- the muscle in the uterus becomes more sensitive to misoprostol, the second medication.
After 24-48 hours later, four tablets of misoprostol is taken. After taking misoprostol:
- bleeding and cramping, similar to a heavy menstrual period, will occur.
Are there side effects?
Some women may experience headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills or fatigue.
If you have flu-like symptoms or abdominal pain for more than 24 hours after using misoprostol, call the Women’s Wellness Program at 1-844-365-8258 (toll-free).
How effective is it?
Early medical abortion with mifepristone and misoprostol is 95-98% effective. In less than 1% of cases, the pregnancy continues and a surgical abortion is necessary.
Will it affect future pregnancies?
Research has shown that having an abortion will not make it harder to get pregnant again and will not harm future pregnancies.
What will I need to bring with me to my appointment?
Identification: All patients and support persons need to provide a photo ID. Patients will also be required to have a valid PEI Health Card.
Information: You may also be asked about your personal health history and medications you are currently taking. If you are taking medications, bring them with you or bring an up-to-date list of your medications [PDF | 609 KB], including over the counter vitamins or supplements.
Support Person: You can bring a support person who may accompany you to your appointment, but they may be asked to sit in the waiting area in certain circumstances. Please talk to a staff member to learn about your options.
What is the appointment process?
- After checking in with reception, you will meet with a counsellor to discuss your options and answer any questions you may have. Some people are ready at this time to make a decision and others are not. If you need more time or support before you make a decision, this will be arranged. If you are ready to make a decision and have decided to have a medical abortion, your next steps will be coordinated at this appointment.
- You will be given instructions on things to do before your next appointment. Each of these is required for your next appointment and if not done, your medical abortion will not be able to proceed:
- Blood work
- Confirming your next appointment
- You can come alone or bring someone with you to the appointment. Your support person may wait in the Waiting Room or nearby in the hospital.
- Once you check into reception, you will meet with a nurse who will review your health history.
- The doctor will review your health history with you, again, and ensure that you are comfortable with proceeding with the medical abortion. The doctor may also do a bedside ultrasound.
- You will take the first medication, mifepristone which will destabilize the lining of your uterus and end the pregnancy. Once you take this medication these effects are not reversible. You will be given the misoprostol tablets to take home with you along with other medication to help you with side effects.
- You will be given a follow-up appointment to return for an ultrasound or a requisition to have a laboratory test to determine if the pregnancy ended.
Things to remember:
- Do not take any alcohol, drugs or medications that have not been prescribed by your doctor, herbal supplements, or aspirin 24 hours before your appointment.
- The Women’s Wellness Program is scent-free, so please do not wear perfumes, scented lotions, colognes or other scented products.
- Electronic devices, including cell phones, are not allowed in the hospital service area.
- You will insert the misprostol tablets into your vagina or in the cheeks of your mouth.
- You will start to bleed with 1-4 hours and can expect to have heavy bleeding and strong cramping.
- The bleeding and cramping may continue for several hours.
- Lighter bleeding may continue off and on for about 1-2 weeks or more.
- To determine if your pregnancy has ended, you will be given a pelvic exam or ultrasound, or you may be asked to go to lab for a blood test.
- If it is determined that your abortion is complete, no further treatment or appointments are necessary.
- In the rare case that your abortion is incomplete, you may be given more misoprostol and will be asked to return or you may be asked to return for a surgical abortion.
What other support is offered?
Wherever you choose to seek abortion services, the Women’s Wellness Program can provide support and answer any questions you may have. Island women are encouraged to contact the program at 1-844-365-8258 (toll-free) to speak with program staff.
For emergency care, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency department.
Who can I contact for more information?
Women’s Wellness Program & Sexual Health Services
Prince County Hospital
65 Roy Boates Avenue
Summerside, PE C1N 2A9
Telephone: 1-844-365-8258 (toll-free)