Contraception options

How to Get Birth Control in Singapore? (Expat Edition)

The healthcare system in Singapore ensures that the availability of birth control and various contraception methods are easily attained.

Ensuring convenient access to birth control goes a long way towards improving prenatal care, encouraging breastfeeding, and developing better programmes for families, couples, and individuals. Therefore, to make sure you don’t get any surprises that you are not expecting, here is a comprehensive guide on how you may obtain contraceptives in Singapore.

Birth Control in Singapore

Rest assured, contraception is legal and readily available in Singapore. The easiest birth control you can get your hands on are condoms, though the rest would require you to visit your General Practitioner (GP) or polyclinic to get a prescription. As an expat, navigating the healthcare system and finding the right contraception can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not familiar with the local healthcare system. 

Where to get contraceptives in Singapore?

Ready to take control of your reproductive health in Singapore? The first step is to schedule a visit with a trusted doctor or gynaecologist to explore your options for contraception. Whether you’re a business traveller or a digital nomad, you can choose between private or public healthcare facilities, depending on your preference and budget. Public healthcare facilities are typically a cost-effective option with some waiting time to account for, while private facilities generally have shorter waiting periods.

During the appointment, your assigned healthcare providers will likely ask you questions pertaining to your medical history, sexual activity, and any previous usage of contraceptives. For the best possible care, you are encouraged to be honest and transparent about your sexual health.

Aside from the usual healthcare facilities, there are some clinics in Singapore that focus specifically on women’s health which you or your loved ones may be more comfortable visiting. It is also important to exercise caution if you’re thinking of purchasing contraceptives online and remember to only purchase any medical products from reputable and licensed pharmacies. If you are looking for quick and convenient professional healthcare advice, you may consult a Speedoc doctor via a video consultation to discuss your concerns in the comfort of your preferred location. 

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Paying for Contraceptives in Singapore

The cost of contraception in Singapore depends on the type of contraceptive and the healthcare facility you head to. Public healthcare facilities, such as national hospitals and polyclinics, are typically known to prescribe contraception at a more affordable rate.

Can Telehealth Provide Contraceptives in Singapore?

Yes! Some telehealth providers do provide some contraceptives, all from the comforts of your own home. Telehealth providers are usually able to provide less-invasive contraceptive methods, such as birth control pills and transdermal birth control patches. So say goodbye to awkward doctor visits and hello to telehealth- the hassle-free solution for all your contraceptive needs in the privacy of your home. Additionally, you may receive and manage your contraceptive prescriptions through telehealth platforms after consulting the doctor. Most telehealth providers can prescribe medications and deliver them right to your doorstep.

Types of Birth Control in Singapore

1. Condoms

After all, studies suggest that condoms have an effectiveness rate of 85% when it comes to preventing unplanned pregnancies. Tried and true, condoms are probably the most common and cost-effective birth control method anywhere you go. Compared to other forms of birth control types, this is the only one that helps prevent the spread of STIs.

Male condoms are typically composed of thin materials such as latex, polyurethane or polyisoprene. 

Where to get Condoms in Singapore

  • supermarkets

  • grocery stores

  • convenience stores

2. Contraceptive Pills/Birth Control Pills

This is another commonly used and highly effective (up to 91% efficacy rate) contraceptive method. Taken orally, contraceptive pills work by providing oestrogen and progestin to halt the ovulation process. The pills also work by increasing the thickness of the cervical mucus lining thus impeding the progress of sperm as it makes its way towards the ovaries.

Where to buy contraceptive pills in Singapore?

  • your preferred gynaecologist

  • neighbourhood general practitioner (GP)

  • selected private clinics

  • polyclinics

  • local pharmacies, if you have a doctor’s prescription

3. Transdermal Patches for Birth Control

It works exactly like the birth control pill, except without the need to remember to use it every single day. You are only required to replace the patch once every three weeks. Be sure to put it on Day 1 of your menstrual cycle to reap its full benefits. If you start wearing the transdermal patch on any other day of your menstrual cycle, you will need to use a condom for the first 7 days of wear.

Here’s a plus point! You don't have to worry if it falls off as it usually has very strong adhesives. This allows you to shower, swim and exercise with the patch on.

Where to get transdermal patches in Singapore?

  • your preferred gynaecologist

  • neighbourhood general practitioner (GP)

  • selected private clinics

  • polyclinics

  • local pharmacies, if you have a prescription

4. Contraceptive Injections

This is just another form of birth control pills as well. If you're using this contraceptive method, you just need to get an injection once every three months. However, you shouldn't take it for more than 2 years and if you decide to have children, you will have to wait up to 14 weeks before you can try conceiving. 

Where to get contraceptive injections in Singapore?

  • your preferred gynaecologist

  • neighbourhood general practitioner (GP)

  • select private clinics

  • Singapore polyclinics

5. Contraceptive Implants

With an efficacy rate of up to 99%, contraceptive implants are often considered because it offers a longer term solution. It is a flexible plastic rod inserted into your upper arm, where the rod gradually releases progestin. Once it's implanted, you just need to replace it once every three years, unlike most other contraceptives where you have to replace them more frequently. 

This procedure is reversible too. Whenever you decide to get pregnant, your healthcare provider can remove the implant and you may start trying for a kid as soon as it's been removed.

Where to get contraceptive implants in Singapore?

  • your preferred gynaecologist

  • neighbourhood general practitioner (GP)

  • selected private clinics

  • polyclinics

6. Intrauterine Device (IUD)

At this point, the IUD may well be an old school method of birth control. It is a small T-shaped device that fits snugly in the uterus stopping the sperm from reaching and fertilising the eggs. The IUD does not alter your hormones, so your period cycles will not be affected. While it can have a long-term, direct spermicidal effect, your periods can be heavier and more painful in the first few months. For most, the pain gradually subsides with time. You can get pregnant as soon as the IUD is removed.

Where to get IUDs in Singapore?

It is best to verify with your healthcare provider before scheduling an appointment, as IUDs may only be accessible at certain healthcare facilities.

7. Emergency Contraception Pill

Also known as the “morning after pill', this birth control method may help to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. 

Studies have suggested that emergency contraception can decrease the probability of pregnancies by 75-90%. That said, the sooner you pop a morning after pill after unprotected sex, the more effective it is. If you are in need of emergency contraception pills, visit a doctor as soon as possible, ideally within 48-72 hours of unprotected sex. 

In Singapore, emergency contraception pills can only be obtained through a prescription, which requires a consultation with a doctor. General practitioners are typically able to provide this service.

One thing to note is that emergency contraception pills are not the same thing as the 'abortion pill'. If you are already pregnant, emergency contraception does not cause an abortion. 

Where to buy emergency contraception pills in Singapore?

  • your preferred gynaecologist

  • neighbourhood general practitioner (GP)

  • selected private clinics

  • polyclinics

It is necessary for you to personally consult with a doctor if you require contraceptives, your partner is not able to obtain them on your behalf. During the consultation, do remember to also notify your doctor of any drug allergies or if you are currently taking any other medications. Your sexual health is just as important as your physical and mental health, there is no shame in wanting to protect yourself in the midst of enjoying the process.

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This article was adapted from a publication by the team at MetroResidences.