Surgical abortion is a safe and effective method of terminating an unwanted pregnancy in Singapore. While the procedure is legal in Singapore, it is still a sensitive topic that can be difficult to discuss. If you or a loved one is considering surgical abortion as an option, this article will shed light on what a surgical abortion is, how it works, and what to expect before, during, and after the procedure.
What is Surgical Abortion?
Surgical abortion is a surgical procedure that is commonly used for the termination of pregnancy in Singapore. This procedure involves using approved medical tools to remove the contents of the uterus. The type of surgical abortion procedure performed will depend on the gestational age of the pregnancy. If the pregnancy is between 9 and 12 weeks in gestation, a certified medical practitioner will use the suction and aspiration method (vacuum aspiration). However, if the pregnancy is 12 weeks or more, a combination of medical and surgical methods are used for termination of pregnancy.
Ending an Unwanted Pregnancy Through Surgical Abortion
There are many reasons why an individual may choose to undergo a surgical abortion. The most common reason is an unwanted pregnancy. Unwanted pregnancies can occur for many reasons, such as contraceptive failure, lack of access to contraception, sexual assault, and personal circumstances. Surgical abortion provides a safe and effective way for women to terminate pregnancies that they do not wish to continue. Your abortion clinic will guide you through the following steps in preparation for the procedure.
During a consultation, the doctor will first review the patient’s medical history and perform an ultrasound exam to determine the gestational age of the pregnancy. During this visit, your vitals, including your blood pressure, temperature, pulse, weight and height will be recorded. Depending on the findings, the clinic may also request further medical investigations before deciding on the individual’s eligibility to undergo surgical abortion.
All individuals seeking termination of pregnancy in Singapore are required to undergo mandatory counselling sessions. The counsellor will provide information about the procedure, the risks and benefits, and the available options. They will also discuss the patient’s emotional and mental well-being and provide support and guidance throughout the process. Surgical termination of pregnancy can only be performed 48 hours after mandatory counselling.
A few hours before the procedure begins, the medical practitioner may prescribe some medication to help dilate the cervix. Just before the procedure, the patient will also be given light sedation to minimise discomfort.
What Should I Expect During the Procedure?
The doctor may use surgical instruments, such as a vacuum aspirator, forceps, or a curette, to remove the foetus and placenta from the uterus. The procedure typically takes between 5 and 30 minutes, and the technique used depends on the stage of the pregnancy.
Vacuum aspiration will generally take about 5–10 minutes to complete and your doctor will perform the following mandatory steps:
Step 1: Examine the uterus and insert a speculum into the vagina.
Step 2: Insert dilators to open the cervix.
Step 3: Insert the tube through the cervix into the uterus.
Step 4: Use gentle suction to pull the contents out.
During the procedure, the patient will be sedated and will not feel any discomfort or pain. Immediately after your procedure, your doctor will check your uterus to ensure it is completely empty. After the procedure, when the sedation wears off, you may feel a bit of cramping, but this will typically resolve after 1-2 hours. You will then be moved to a recovery area to rest.
What Should I Expect After the Procedure?
Taking it easy on the day of the abortion is crucial. While some individuals may resume their normal activities (except for heavy lifting) the following day, others may require additional time to recover. It is common to experience menstrual-like cramps for a few days after the procedure.
Bleeding is common after an abortion. Some may notice heavier bleeding, including the presence of blood clots, similar to a regular period, while others may experience spotting for several days or weeks.
If the patient experiences heavy bleeding — bleeding that soaks through two sanitary pads or more per hour — it is recommended to get in touch with the abortion clinic immediately.
The doctor will prescribe antibiotics and over-the-counter (OTC) medicine as deemed necessary to ensure a complication-free recovery. The clinic will also share important instructions to follow through and will schedule a follow-up visit to ensure that the patient has recovered well.
- It is recommended that patients wait at least two weeks before resuming sexual intercourse.
- It is recommended that a reliable method of contraception be adopted to avoid future unwanted pregnancies.
Risks and Complications
It is important to note that surgical abortion, like any medical procedure, carries some risks. These can include bleeding, infection, cervical tears or lacerations, and retained pregnancy tissues.
These risks are minimal when an experienced and certified doctor performs the procedure in a safe, hygienic and certified abortion clinic.
Surgical Abortion at Seng’s OG Practice
Surgical abortion is one of the safest methods to end an unwanted pregnancy in Singapore. By finding the right clinic with qualified medical practitioners, you can ensure that you receive the best care before, during, and after your surgical abortion. As a MOH-approved abortion clinic, at Seng’s OG, we always prioritise our patients’ privacy and emotional and physical well-being throughout the process. Call us today, and we will walk with you every step of the way.