THE ABORTION PROCESS EXPLAINED

Surgical abortion is a safe and established procedure to end an unwanted pregnancy by removing both the fetus and placenta from the uterus. Unlike a medical abortion, this type of abortion procedure can be performed on relatively more advanced pregnancies of up to 24 weeks in Singapore.

Surgical abortions are safe when done by a qualified and experienced professional.

What happens before an abortion procedure?

Pre-operative care guidelines vary per clinic and the procedure to be carried out, but generally, all patients who will have abortion surgery are instructed to:

  • Be at the clinic for at least 2 hours before the scheduled procedure
  • Abstain from eating or drinking (even water) for 6 hours before the operation
  • Abstain from smoking and drinking alcohol for at least 24 hours before the surgery
  • Arrange for transportation home

Surgical abortion is done while the patient is under general anaesthesia, rendering her completely unconscious or asleep for the whole duration of the abortion surgery.

What happens after an abortion procedure?

Surgical abortions, particularly those in the early stages of pregnancy, are outpatient procedures that seldom require an overnight stay at the clinic or hospital. Patients, however, are still advised to rest for a few days after the operation to allow the body to fully recover. Other post-operative care instructions include:

  • Avoid strenuous exercises such as heavy lifting for one week after the procedure.
  • Abstain from sexual intercourse for one week after the abortion surgery, or as advised by the doctor.
  • Refrain from inserting anything into the vagina, including tampons, for 2 weeks after the abortion.
  • Attend follow-up appointments as advised.

It is possible for ovulation and menstruation to begin a few weeks after an abortion. The doctor will then provide contraceptive options to the patient to prevent another pregnancy.

What are the risks of an abortion procedure?

Abortion, like any other surgical procedure, carry certain risks. Light bleeding (spotting) and cramping are normal and should subside within 2-3 weeks. Other possible risks include:

  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Infections
  • Injury to the cervix and uterus

These complications are very unlikely, particularly in the hands of an experienced and accredited surgeon.

Abortion Procedure by Trimester

There are different types of abortion procedure, with the most suitable option largely dependent on the stage of pregnancy.

  • Vacuum Aspiration (for pregnancies up to 12 weeks)
  • Vacuum aspiration involves gently suctioning out pregnancy tissues through a thin cannula that is passed through the vagina and cervix and into the uterus. Done under anaesthesia, the procedure is virtually painless though slight cramping may be experienced. This abortion surgery takes only 5 to 10 minutes.

  • Dilation & Evacuation (for pregnancies after 12 weeks)
  • This abortion procedure involves a combination of medications, vacuum aspiration, and the careful use of forceps and curettes. It begins by first dilating the cervix using osmotic dilators and medicines inserted into the vagina. Once the cervix is softened, vacuum aspiration is done to remove most of the pregnancy tissues. Finally, forceps and curette are used to gently scrape out remaining tissues from the uterus. D&E is an outpatient procedure that usually takes 30 minutes.

  • Induction Abortion (for pregnancies after 16 weeks)
  • A non-surgical form of abortion, induction abortion involves the use of medications to induce labor contractions, causing the fetus to be prematurely delivered. Misoprostol may also be first given to help loosen the cervix. Hospitalization may be required following this abortion procedure.

In Singapore, abortion procedures are only legal and the pregnancy does not exceed 24 weeks. Late-term abortions after 24 weeks are only allowed if continuing with the pregnancy poses a threat to the life of the pregnant woman. If allowed, the process involves a combination of an induction abortion and a D&E to ensure the complete evacuation of the womb.

For more information on the abortion procedure in Singapore, please contact our accredited clinic at 6455 0050. We will strive to address all your queries in a timely and sensitive manner.