By law, abortion procedures in Singapore are legal, provided that the pregnancy does not exceed 24 weeks. Terminating pregnancies after 24 weeks is prohibited, unless such procedures are necessary to preserve the health or life of the mother.
Methods used to induce abortion vary depending on the stage of pregnancy. The farther along the pregnancy is, the higher the risk of complications during abortion, and the more complex the procedure will be. Therefore it is highly recommended to make a decision as early as possible
Below 9 weeks
For pregnancies below 9 weeks, abortions are conducted through a simple vacuum aspiration. Compared to later-term abortions, early abortions done during the first trimester are relatively painless, quick, and have a shorter recovery period. Complications are rare and the procedure itself usually takes just about 15 minutes.
10 - 15 weeks
The procedure is quite similar to an early simple abortion. However, a preparatory phase is required. It is usually done 1 or 2 days before the actual abortion procedure in Singapore. Medicine will be inserted either directly into the vagina or taken orally to induce contractions, simulating the process of giving birth.
More than 15 weeks
This procedure is much more complex than a simple early-stage abortion. It also requires more than one visit to the abortion doctor. Listed below are the 4 stages for an abortion this late into the pregnancy:
Preparatory PhaseDuring a second-trimester abortion, medicine is first administered vaginally to prepare the cervix for the expulsion of the fetus. The process is done in-clinic and takes only 5 minutes. The patient may go home afterwards and come back after 2 days.
Delivery of the FetusOn the day of the actual procedure, which is usually 2 days following the initial visit, patients are advised not to eat or drink. During this visit, medication is again administered to soften the uterus and dilate the cervix, thus inducing labor. Antibiotics and painkillers may be given to help the patient cope with heavy bleeding and cramping while the fetus is being delivered. The time taken for delivery will depend on the strength and duration of the contractions.
Delivery of the PlacentaTo ensure complete evacuation of the womb and prevent complications such as infections and heavy bleeding, the remaining tissues, including the placenta and uterine lining, are surgically removed through a process known as dilation and curettage (D&C). The doctor uses a curette to gently scrape off and suction out remaining uterine tissues. The process takes less than 20 minutes and is done while the patient is sedated.
Prevention of BleedingModerate bleeding and cramping a couple of weeks following the abortion process is normal. The patient may be given antibiotics and painkillers to prevent infections and reduce pain.
To facilitate faster healing and prevent complications, patients are advised to avoid heavy lifting, aerobic exercises, and engaging in sexual activities for 2 weeks after the procedure. This includes inserting anything into the vagina such as tampons and douches. Swimming and hot baths must be avoided. Smoking, drinking and taking drugs are also not allowed.
Moderate bleeding accompanied with cramps are normal, and can be managed with painkillers. Blood-thinning medications such as aspirin should be avoided as they can increase bleeding. Antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent infections.
Menstrual cycles should begin 3 to 6 weeks after the procedure, unless the patient is taking birth control pills or using an IUD.
Additionally, a post-abortion check-up will be scheduled 2 to 3 weeks following the abortion, to ensure that everything is clear and healing as it should.
A strong advocate for women’s health, Dr. Jen Shek Wei is an accredited provider of family planning services such as abortion. He also specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of various gynecological disorders. To schedule a consultation, call 6459 2833 today.