In Singapore, an abortion is readily available to any woman who needs it, provided that certain requirements are met. There are two ways by which an abortion can be carried out, depending on the length of pregnancy, namely: medical abortion and surgical abortion. It is important to visit a clinic that has been accredited by MOH to perform abortions.
For early pregnancies, usually below 9 weeks, a medical abortion can be done. This involves the use of misoprostol (Cytotec), which blocks the production of progesterone, resulting in the breakdown and shedding of the uterine lining. This also leads to strong cramps and contractions that will expel the pregnancy tissues through the vagina in an experience similar to a heavy menstrual period.
For pregnancies that are early all the way up to 24 weeks, a surgical abortion is available. Surgical abortions are day surgeries that do not require patients to stay overnight at the clinic or hospital. They are done under general anaesthesia while the patient is asleep.
A surgical abortion can be done in one of three ways:
- Vacuum aspiration – This method involves inserting a small tube called a cannula through the vagina and into the uterus, and then using a manual or machine pump to gently suction out the pregnancy tissues from the uterus.
- Dilation & curettage (D&C) – This method involves using medications to first soften and open up the cervix, after which a spoon-like instrument called a curette is used to scrape and scoop out pregnancy tissues from the uterus.
- Dilation & evacuation (D&E) – This method involves the combination of vacuum aspiration and D&C. The procedure begins by first dilating the cervix and using vacuum aspiration to remove the pregnancy tissues. Any remaining contents of the uterus are then removed via a curette or forceps.
The choice of procedure will depend on the length of pregnancy and the patient’s individual condition. As long as it is conducted by an accredited abortion doctor in a licensed facility, patient safety will be assured.