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Unfortunately, miscarriage is the most common type of pregnancy loss according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). A D&C, also known as dilation and curettage, is a surgical procedure often performed after a first-trimester miscarriage. Some women feel comfort in miscarrying in their own home, trusting their body to do what it needs to. Some see this as a vital part of the healing process, eliminating the question of “what if?” about the viability of the pregnancy. For some women, the emotional toll of waiting to miscarry naturally is too unpredictable and too much to handle in an already challenging situation. A D&C procedure may be performed as an outpatient or inpatient procedure in a hospital or other type of surgical center.
The vacuum aspiration (also called suction curettage) procedure uses a plastic cannula (a flexible tube) attached to a suction device to remove the contents of the uterus. Once the health care provider has seen that the uterus has become firm and the bleeding has stopped or is minimal, the speculum will be removed and you will be sent to recovery. Most women are discharged from the surgical center or hospital within a few hours of the procedure. Most women can return to normal activities within a few days, and some feel good enough to return to normal non-strenuous activity within 24 hours. You may experience some painful cramping initially, but this should not last longer than 24 hours. You should not insert anything into the vaginal area (including using a douche or having sexual intercourse) for at least 2 weeks or until the bleeding stops.


Tampons should not be used until you start your next regular period, which could be anywhere from 2-6 weeks after the D&C procedure. It is unknown when ovulation will return, so once sexual intercourse is allowed, you should use a method of contraception until your health care provider says it is okay to try to get pregnant again.
Most women experience few complications after a D&C procedure, but you should be aware of symptoms that could signal a possible problem. Sign-Up For The APA NewsletterGet a roundup of all the best pregnancy news and tips from around the web with exclusive discounts and giveaways from our sponsors.
The Association is only able to accomplish our mission with the commitment of people like you. Studies reveal that anywhere from 10-25% of clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage, and most miscarriages occur during the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. The earlier you are in your pregnancy, the more likely your body will expel all the fetal tissue by itself and will not require further medical procedures. If the cervix is closed, dilators (narrow instruments in varying sizes) will be inserted to open the cervix to allow the surgical instruments to pass through. The cannula is approximately the diameter in millimeters as the number of weeks gestation the pregnancy is.
If there are complications or you have other medical conditions, you may need to stay longer.
Your health care provider should give you specific instruction for when intercourse can resume.


Your tax deductible contribution provides valuable education and more importantly support to women when they need it most. Pregnancy can be such an exciting time, but with the number of  miscarriages that occur, it is beneficial to be informed in the unfortunate event that you or someone you know faces one.
If the body does not expel all the tissue, the most common procedure performed to stop bleeding and prevent infection is a D&C. Curettage may be performed by scraping the uterine wall with a curette instrument or by a suction curettage (also called vacuum aspiration).
Most often, general anesthesia is used, but IV anesthesia or paracervical anesthesia may also be used. You will more than likely be given an antibiotic to help prevent infection and possibly some pain medication to help with the initial cramping after the procedure.
You should be prepared to have someone drive you home after the procedure if general or IV anesthesia is used. The use of a curette (sharp-edged loop) to scrape the lining of the uterus may also be used, but this is often not necessary.



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