Things to Consider before undergoing an Abortion
In Singapore, abortion services are available to women who need to terminate a pregnancy, regardless of reason. Despite being safe and legal, there are still many misconceptions about the abortion procedure, which prevent people from making informed decisions and seeking prompt treatment.
If you or anyone you know is considering undergoing an abortion, here are some facts you need to know:
Types of Abortion
An abortion in Singapore can only be carried out if the pregnancy is below 24 weeks, unless the mother’s life is in danger. Depending on the length of gestation, the abortion procedure can be done in one of two ways:
- Medical abortion – Usually only done for pregnancies less than 10 weeks, a medical abortion involves taking medication (misoprostol) that will cause contractions in the uterus to expel pregnancy tissues.
- In-clinic abortion – For pregnancies 12 weeks or more, abortion surgery is performed. Depending on the length of pregnancy, the abortion procedure may involve only a vacuum aspiration, in which the pregnancy tissues are suctioned out of the uterus using a thin cannula, or a mid-trimester pregnancy termination (MTPT), in which the foetus is first delivered vaginally, followed by the cleaning of the womb to ensure the complete removal of all pregnancy tissues.
Is an abortion safe and effective?
As with all procedures, an abortion carries with it certain risks, but if the abortion procedure is done by a qualified and skilled doctor, you can be assured that the abortion is safe.
In terms of safety between a medical abortion and abortion surgery, specialists agree that the latter is the safer and more effective option when terminating a pregnancy as it ensures complete cleaning out of the womb, is less traumatic (as the woman will be under anaesthesia), and there will be close medical attention during and after the procedure to ensure everything is well.
Does an abortion affect your health?
When done by a qualified professional, an abortion is very safe. It will not have any negative effect on your overall health, nor will the procedure affect your future fertility and increase your chances of having a miscarriage or pregnancy complications.
What happens after an abortion?
The recovery period will vary per woman. Abortions are usually a day procedure that does not require hospitalization, and patients are able to return to work the next day. However, sexual intercourse and physical activities, especially those that require heavy lifting, should be avoided for 1-2 weeks or as advised by the doctor. Swimming and long baths are also discouraged.
Mild bleeding and cramping after the abortion procedure are normal and should subside after a few days. In terms of emotional experience, this will also depend on the patient. Some may feel sad or regret afterwards, others may feel relief. Either way, do surround yourself with trusted pillars of support, be it from family, friends, your partner, or a professional.
Does an abortion increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer?
There has been a misconception that an abortion can cause changes in a woman’s hormone levels in such a way as to increase her risk of developing breast cancer. However, there has been no medical studies or evidence that can support this claim.
Is it safe to have sexual intercourse after an abortion?
Many women are cleared to have sexual intercourse two weeks after an abortion procedure. However, this depends on the advice of the doctor, and the recovery pace of the individual. It’s also important to note that a woman can get pregnant again quickly after an abortion, so contraception options should be considered.