A missed period may indicate that you are pregnant. Perhaps you have been trying to get pregnant or perhaps this is unwanted and unexpected. First, a pregnancy test is the first step in finding out if you are indeed pregnant.

Pregnancy test

You do not need a prescription to buy pregnancy tests from pharmacies or chemists. You can take the test as early as two to three weeks after you have had unprotected sex.

When pregnant, you begin to produce the pregnancy hormone HCG. A pregnancy test will detect it in your urine and show as positive. This means you are likely pregnant.

Any properly conducted test is very reliable. It is important to read the instructions carefully beforehand. A false positive result is rare (the test shows that you are pregnant, but you are not). However, a false negative result can occur (the test shows that you are not pregnant but you are). In that case, perhaps you’ve taken the test too early (too soon after unsafe sex).

Are you unsure about your pregnancy test result? Are you in shock at the results? Are you finding it hard testing yourself? Schedule an appointment at ACS. The nurse can help with testing you, and if necessary, help you further.

Unplanned pregnancy

An unplanned pregnancy can be emotional and it can bring about feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. Deciding what to do with an unexpected pregnancy can be difficult: do you want to keep the pregnancy or end it via an abortion? Alternatives such as giving the newborn up for adoption or placing it in a foster home are also considerations.

These decisions can be very hard. Especially if you have no one to talk to about these problems.

The nurse at ACS can help and support you in this. Sometimes we ask a social worker to join the discussion. A social worker can answer practical questions you may have going forward:

  • Do you want to carry the pregnancy to term? Do you want the child?
  • Do you want an abortion?
  • What is your gut feeling? What makes sense at this point in your life?
  • What dilemmas are there?
  • Will friends and family support you?
  • What will your future look like?
  • Practical issues such as housing, stopping work, health care insurance or benefit.
In short: What are the positive and negative aspects of carrying the pregnancy to term given your life situation?

You may still have doubts after talking to the nurse. The nurse will then refer you to the FIOM, a specialised institution with people who can guide you on reflecting on your motives and options.

If you decide to terminate the pregnancy, we can guide you and schedule an appointment for you at an abortion clinic. If you decide to carry to term, we will refer you to your GP or an obstetrician.

Wanted pregnancy

If you have just found out you are pregnant, there will no doubt be a lot on your mind. Perhaps you want to know when to schedule your first ultrasound scan. Perhaps there are questions about your work—how feasible is sex work when you’re pregnant? These are very personal questions; your ACS nurse is always ready to listen.

In the Netherlands, you are under the care of a midwife during your pregnancy. From about eight weeks into your pregnancy, you should have a check up by the midwife. While you are can certainly register for a midwife yourself, we can also make an appointment for you.

We do not have ultrasound equipment at ACS, but we can work out your approximate gestational age based on a pregnancy test and the date of your last period.

You are entitled to obstetric care even if you do not have health insurance. Our advice is to take out health insurance and we can help you with selecting and applying for one.


Some women know early on that they do not want a pregnancy. In the Netherlands, it is possible to terminate the pregnancy, also referred to as an abortion, up to 22 weeks since your last period.

There are several methods for terminating a pregnancy. The method performed will depend on the gestational age and your preference. This is decided between yourself and the abortion clinic.

You can opt for medication (the abortion pill) or a suction curettage. You can take the abortion pill up to 8 weeks of pregnancy (i.e. 8 weeks after the start of your last period). To qualify for this, you need to be proficient in either Dutch or English so you can understand the forms you will have to fill in. This is important.

The abortion clinic will check with you to see whether you are eligible for the abortion pill.

If you are more than 8 weeks pregnant, the abortion will be performed by suction curettage. In the case of suction curettage, light sedation is an option.


The costs of an abortion are covered by the Exceptional Medical Expenses Act (AWBZ). The AWBZ is a national insurance scheme. To be insured for the AWBZ, you must have a BSN number and be able to prove that you have been living or working in the Netherlands for at least 3 months.

If you are in the Netherlands illegally or cannot prove that you live/work here, you will have to pay for the abortion yourself. The costs differ per person and per situation. We can help you with this process too.


In the Netherlands, abortions are allowed until the 24th week of pregnancy, however it is important to note that in practice, doctors in abortion clinics will not go beyond 22 weeks as the limit. This is because a 2-week buffer is always considered when calculating gestation period.

The doctor must be sure that your choice is voluntary and well-considered. Hence the need to be proficient in Dutch or English. Abortions may only be performed in an abortion clinic or at a hospital. You can contact an abortion clinic yourself but as always, we’re able to help refer you to one.

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