Guides & References

Pregnancy & Preparations

So you’re single and you just found out you’re pregnant, what happens now? It’s alright to be scared, it’s OK to cry. This can be a very confusing time and there are probably many questions running through your mind at this very moment. The important thing to remember is that help is out there and you’re not alone. Just take Yan Ping for example.

The Dilemma: Yan Ping

Yan Ping is a mother of a clever little girl and a joyful little boy. She is in her late 30s. 

When Yan Ping found out about her first pregnancy, she was filled with fear. Everyone around her had different opinions and thoughts, and they made her feel confused and frustrated. She was torn between two options: to keep the child or to let it go. While she knew that her father wanted her to get an abortion, others told her to hold on to the “gift from God”. She felt lost and stressed. And above all, Yan Ping felt terribly and completely alone.

For Yan Ping, the decision to keep her daughter changed from day to day. There were days where the entire weight of the situation became almost unbearable and the thought of giving up seemed tempting. There were days where immense loneliness would dawn upon her. It could be in the aisle of a baby store, in the cold, sterile waiting room of a clinic, or at her dining table with all its empty chairs. Other days, she felt a little more optimistic and truly believed that she and her baby were going to be alright.


Credits:
For contents on “Single & Pregnant” on this website, we would like to credit four students from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information of Nanyang Technological University - Chng-Xin Anthia, Agnes Goh Si Lei, Ng Wei Shuen, Natalie Goh Lewa. In 2016, as their final year project, they created an online information platform for unmarried mothers to help make informed decisions in their journey of single parenthood (heysolosister.com). The contents adopted from heysolosister.com site have been modified and updated accordingly.

Confirming Your Pregnancy

If you suspect that you may be pregnant, buy a pregnancy test kit from pharmacies such as Guardian and Watson’s and do the test at home. However, to be absolutely certain, you are recommended to visit a doctor for a urine or blood test.

Seeing A Doctor

Regardless of whether you’re intending to keep the baby, seeking medical help is the safest option for both yourself and the baby. Medical professionals will be able to clarify any doubts that you might have and recommend the best course of action to take.

What About The Father?

During this time, it is your decision as to whether you would like to inform the father of the baby. Things are bound to get a little complicated – if you tell him, how will he react? If you don’t, what happens next? Will he want to stay around, get married or completely disappear from the equation? And more importantly, what do you want?

You don’t have to figure this out on your own. Talk to counsellors, get a mediator and resolve the “father” issue with them. Here are some people you can call.

HCSA DaySpring SPIN

(Single Parents INformed INvolved INcluded)
Tel: 6326 2300
Address: 1 Lorong 23 Geylang, Block 4, #01-04  Singapore 388352
 
Family Life Society
Pregnancy Crisis Service
Website: http://pregnancycrisis.sg
Helpline: 6339 9770 (24-hour)
Email: help@pregnancycrisis.sg
Address: Agape Village, 7A Lorong 8 Toa Payoh, #04-01, Singapore 319264
 
Babes Pregnancy Crisis (for teenagers only)
Helpline: 8111 3535 (24-hour)
Email: hello@babes.org.sg
Address: 26 Jalan Klinik #01-42/52, Singapore 160026
 
Sanctuary House hotline
Crisis Pregnancy / Emergency Infant Care
Hotline: 9817 0588 (24-hour)

Breaking The News

Telling the people closest to you about your pregnancy can be one of the toughest things to do. You’re worried about disappointing them, worried that they’ll leave you. You’re worried that they’ll get so angry that you’d be even more alone in this journey than you already are. These worries are real but keep in mind that family support during this time could change everything.

Revealing The Truth: Katherine

Katherine was afraid to tell her parents when she found out she was pregnant, as she was worried as to how they would react. She decided to start by telling her sister but it wasn’t long before her mother found out as well. Needless to say, her mother was very upset. Yet, when the time came, her mother’s worry turned into love for her grandchild. Thus, through the months of pregnancy and even till now, her mother has been a strong pillar of support for both Katherine and her son.

Although Katherine’s family was supportive of her, not all parents would be as accepting of such news. As such, if you need help breaking the news, seek help:

HCSA DaySpring SPIN

(Single Parents INformed INvolved INcluded)
Tel: 6326 2300
Address: 1 Lorong 23 Geylang, Block 4, #01-04  Singapore 388352
 
Website: http://pregnancycrisis.sg
Helpline: 6339 9770 (24-hour)

What Are Your Pregnancy Options?

Facing the news of pregnancy at this juncture can be overwhelming and it is normal to experience a range of mixed emotions.  As this will be one of the most difficult decisions you’ll ever have to make, it should be an informed one – made only after gathering all available information on your options and using that information to decide what’s right or what works best for you and your baby.  Sometimes it takes courage and confidence to ask others (e.g. family members, friends, counsellors or experts, etc.) tough questions to ensure the options you decide on are available to you.  Therefore, it is important that you are well educated about your pregnancy options.

These include: keeping the baby, placing the baby up for foster care or adoption, or terminating the pregnancy.

Parenthood

Firstly, consider parenthood. 

Being a single parent can be very demanding, but parenthood is also filled with much joy. Single parenting can be challenging, even if you have help from your family and friends. It may also be hard to balance the tasks of providing for your child economically (earning a living) as well as emotionally (being there to care of your child).  In addition, as a single parent, you may need to sacrifice some of your own needs and freedom. 

Here are some useful questions to ask: 

1. Am I financially equipped to raise a child?

Think practically — do you have a stable income or the financial capacity to raise a child, put food on the table, and provide a roof over your heads? Do you know, on average, how much it would cost to raise a child in Singapore?

2. Do I have sufficient support from my family (and friends) to raise my child?

Having the support of your loved ones can change your life and your baby’s life dramatically. It may seem as if your parents will be too angry and disappointed to give you their blessings. But, many cases have shown that in the end, the family always comes together to give their support to their pregnant daughter. Remember, if you never ask, you’ll never know.

3. Am I emotionally and mentally prepared to raise a child?

Over the course of pregnancy, a woman’s emotions will vary from excited or happy to probably fear and frustration. These emotions may be even more extreme if you’re going through it alone. The stress and the hurt, on top of your normal hormonal changes, can become unbearable, especially if you have no one to turn to. Do you know what to expect from this journey? Are you likely to crumble under the stress, the pain and the confusion?

4. Am I willing to make drastic changes to my plans and lifestyle for this child?

As a mother, your time will no longer be your own and your lifestyle choices will inevitably impact your child. If you’re not ready to make compromises on your schedule and habits, now may not be the best time for you to raise a child.

If you answered “no” to most of the above questions, perhaps raising a child at this point in time may not be ideal for you.

Thus, after you have decided that parenthood is not the answer, take time to explore other options (see below) before making any further decision. Also, perhaps it would be useful to hear how other mothers answered their big questions.

A Long-term decision: Jaxe

When Jaxe found out about the pregnancy, she was overwhelmed with the big decision she was about to make. But she didn’t allow herself to panic. Instead, she laid out her options and tried to figure out the next best thing to do. Jaxe consulted many people, she read stories of mothers who had been in her position and she weighed each option cautiously. She wanted to make a decision that she knew she’d be happy with in the long term. 

Even though she had always kept her options open, the few months Jaxe spent with her little growing baby made it impossible for her to ever imagine giving up her baby. And the rest is history.

The Alternative: Cindy

Cindy was pregnant with her first child when she was 16. At the time, there was little room for debate — she was going to get an abortion and that was that. She had a million excuses for not keeping the child and it didn’t seem like a very big deal anyway. It was far too early in her pregnancy for her to feel the baby and the ultrasound image didn’t even resemble a human yet. It was like it didn’t even exist. Why would it matter if she aborted it?

Years down the road, now a mother to a sensible young boy, Cindy looks back at the time with regret, feeling the guilt that only a mother would understand. Every now and then, she’d wonder how old her little baby would’ve been had she kept it. For her, the emotional torture of her abortion was enough reason to keep her baby when she got pregnant for the second time at 20.

Foster Care & Adoption

Are you struggling to decide what’s best for yourself? Find out more about each of the available options and think carefully before making any decision.

Foster Care vs. Adoption

Fostering is a temporary care arrangement and the goal is to reunite the children with their natural parents. Foster children remain the legal children of their natural parents.

Adoption, on the other hand, is a legal process where an adopted child assumes the rights of a natural child of the family. 

Foster Care

i. What is itFoster care is a way of providing family life for the children who are unable to stay with their parents.

ii. To be eligible: 

  • Your child must be below the age of 18
  • You are unable to take care of your child

iii. How does this affect my child?

A child on the Fostering Scheme keeps his/her identity (i.e. own name) and continues to be the legal child of his/her biological parents. If the situation allows, the child may eventually return to his/her biological parents.

iv. Will my child be safe?

Foster parents must meet a series of stringent criteria set out by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) to be accepted for the placement of foster children. They need to attend regular courses on child care arranged by MSF. MSF pays a fostering allowance and an educational allowance to the foster family to cover the child’s expenses.

For more information:

Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF)

There are currently four accredited fostering agencies:

1. Epworth Foster Care (part of Epworth Community Services)
Tel: 6715 3725
Email: fostercare@epworth.sg
 
2a. Boys’ Town
MSF Fostering Agency (referred by Child Protective Services)
Tel: 9113 7612
 
2b. Boys’ Town
Sanctuary Care (referred by community social workers)
Tel: 6221 0588 (Mondays to Fridays, 9am – 6pm)
 
3. Persatuan Pemudi Islam Singapura (PPIS)
Tel: 6817 6150 
Email: info@ppis.sg
 
4. The Salvation Army
Tel/Whatsapp: 8833 8173 

Adoption

i. What is it: Adoption is the legal act of entrusting your child to another person/couple to bring him/her up as their own.

ii. To be eligible:

  • The child must be a resident of Singapore (i.e. a Singapore Citizen, Singapore Permanent Resident or Dependant’s Pass holder). A child is not regarded as a resident if the child is residing in Singapore on a visit pass, a student’s pass or a special pass. (see Section 4(7)(a)(b) of the Adoption of Child Act.)
  • The child must be below 21 years of age (see Section 3(2) of the Adoption of Child Act.)
  • Consent from both parents is needed if the biological father and/or mother is unmarried and below the age of 21 years

iii. Things to note

  • It is against the law for biological parents to receive payments in return of giving up their child without the court’s approval.
  • Teenage mothers must declare the details of the child’s father, and if the father is unknown, to state as unknown.

iv. How does this affect my child?

From the law’s perspective, all legal ties between your child and you will be broken off. The adoptive parent(s) will have all the rights and responsibilities in caring and educating the child.

Once the legal statement is signed and the child is surrendered, there is no “turning back”.

v. Will my child be safe?

Child adoption in Singapore has a strict set of criteria and rules. Anyone who wishes to adopt a child from MSF will need to apply for a Home Study Report , which is conducted by professional social service staff. This is a comprehensive investigation to assess if the potential adoptive parents are ready for to adopt a child. They need to attend a Pre-Adoption Briefing (PAB) to ensure they are prepared and eligible to adopt. The adoptive parents will also be strongly encouraged to attend an Adoption Disclosure workshop.

vi. Other things to note

Placing your child for adoption can be traumatic (Source: Henney, Ayers-Lopez, McRoy, & Grotevant, 2007). You may experience grief, anger and guilt (Source: Child Welfare Information Gateway)

vii. Pre-Adoption Briefing

Attending a Pre-Adoption Briefing (available in 3 languages: English, Mandarin and Malay) is compulsory before identifying a child for adoption and applying for a home study or making an application to the Court. For detials on the available briefing sessions, click here

Find out more information:

Hotline: 6355 6388
Email: msf_adoption@msf.gov.sg
 
There are currently four accredited adoption agencies:
 
1. Touch Family Services
Tel: 6709 8400
Email: adoption@touch.org.sg
Address: 5 Stadium Walk, Leisure Park Kallang #04-05/06, Singapore 397693
 
2. Fei Yue Community Services
Tel: 6366 4096
Email: adoption@fycs.org
Address: Blk 280 Choa Chu Kang Ave 3, #01-360, Singapore 680280
 
3. Lutheran Community Care Services (LCCS)
Tel: 6441 3906
Email: adoption@lccs.org.sg
Address: 450 MacPherson Road, Singapore 368170 
4. Apkim Centre For Social Services (ACOSS)
Tel: 6295 1011
Email: info@apkim.com
Address: 134 Arab Street, Singapore 199824
  

Abortion

1. What it is: It is a medical procedure taken to end a pregnancy by removing a foetus or embryo from the womb before it can survive on its own.

 To find out more about abortion in Singapore, visit abortion page by AWARE for information about the procedures and regulation involved.

2. Other things to note

  • You may experience menstrual cramps after the procedure
  • Light bleeding may occur when your menses returns after 4-5 weeks
  • Avoid having sex for about 2 weeks after the procedure
  • Continue to observe your body for unusual symptoms
  • You may experience “Post Abortion Syndrome” or “PAS” (i.e. emotional problems experienced after an abortion experience)

3. Potential risks (varying dependent on individuals)

  • Fever
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Prolonged abdominal pain
  • Reduced chances of pregnancy
  • Emotions such as feeling of loss and regret

4. Finding someone to talk to after the abortion

The aftermath effects of an abortion can take a toll on your emotions. Don’t let your past hold you back. Find someone to talk to about it.

Tel: 6488 0278 (Mondays to Fridays, 9am – 6pm)
 
Rachel’s Vineyard (for post-abortion healing)
Website: http://www.rachelsvineyard.sg/

5. Voices of reason

If you’re still unsure of what to do, speak to someone who will be able to provide you with some professional advice. 

Babes Pregnancy Crisis (for teenagers only)
Helpline: 8111 3535 (24-hour)
Address: 26 Jalan Klinik #01-42/52, Singapore 160026
 
Website: http://pregnancycrisis.sg
Helpline: 6339 9770 (24-hour)
Address: Agape Village, 7A Lorong 8 Toa Payoh, #04-01, Singapore 319264
 

You’ve finally made the decision to keep your baby. Congratulations!

The months ahead, as you prepare to welcome your baby into the world, are going to be busy and full of difficulties. But take heart and be brave. Now that you’ve started down this road, the important thing is to keep moving forward. In preparation for the arrival of your child, there are a few arrangements you’d have to make within the few months of your pregnancy.

Healthcare Considerations

You may experience various forms of physical discomfort or changes at different stages of your pregnancy and beyond, so be sure to give your body the attention and care it deserves. You can refer to reliable organisations such as aLife for articles on pregnancy, but do consult a doctor in person for a detailed review, and go for regular check-ups during different stages of your pregnancy.

Joyful Parenting (Helpline: 6488 0286) is an initiative of Family Life Society. It prepares new mums for labour, advocates breastfeeding and provides advice on the challenges faced when caring for newborns and toddlers. It also provides new mums with information on the dos and don’ts during pregnancy, as well as support on breastfeeding. If you are looking for guidance, sharing, or a support group for new mums, Joyful Parenting offers a dedicated pool of mum volunteers, some of whom are experienced family educators, International Board Certified Lactation Consultants qualified nurses, and home-makers.

To help you prepare for your baby’s arrival, Healthy Start For Your Pregnancy is a one-stop guide for knowledge and information on antenatal care, nutrition and physical activities.

You may also want to visit KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital’s website to find out many more information on care during pregnancy, tests to take, labour & delivery, and after pregnancy.

In addition, eating right is just as important for the health of both yourself and your child. Learn more about how to plan your diet and eat well here.

Find out more information on Pregnancy Singapore (SG)a digital platform that provides practical, trusted, and bite-sized content on pregnancy care for a healthy baby.  

Labour & Delivery

Be educated and familiarise yourself with information and facts about giving birth before the big day! Find out what really happens during labour and delivery. Learn how to recognise the signs and stages of labour and get an overview of pain management techniques.

As you count down to your baby’s delivery, here is what you can expect. 

Be sure to also check out KKH’s FAQ on labour & delivery here.

Helps are available:

KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital
Tel: 6294 4050
Opening hours: Mondays to Fridays, 8.30am – 5.30pm; Saturdays, 8.30am – 1.00pm
(Closed on Sunday & Public Holidays)

O&G (24-hour) Clinic
The O&G (24-hour) Clinic, located at Basement 1 of Women’s Tower, is a walk-in clinic for women with emergency O&G conditions.
The Clinic provides round-the-clock service for early or post pregnancy related conditions, gynaecological complaints; such as acute vaginal bleeding and severe pelvic pain.

For expectant mothers who are at least 22 weeks into their pregnancy, and with concerns such as water bag leakage, vaginal bleeding or signs of labour, please directly proceed to Delivery Suite, located at Level 2 of Women’s Tower.

Family Life Society
Joyful Parenting (advice or support on breastfeeding, weaning, potty training and more)
Helpline: 6488 0286 (Mondays to Saturdays, 10am – 5pm)

Babes Pregnancy Crisis (for teenagers only)
Helpline: 8111 3535 (24-hour)
Email: hello@babes.org.sg
Address: 26 Jalan Klinik #01-42/52, Singapore 160026

Association of Women Action and Research (AWARE)
Counselling services
Tel: 1800 7745935 (Mondays to Fridays, 3pm – 9.30pm)

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