PLEASE NOTE: While we make every effort to ensure that this information is accurate it cannot replace a consultation with your doctor, midwife or other health professional. They are the only ones qualified to offer specific advice on your particular situation. If you have any concerns please see a health professional immediately.
A good place to start is the EB article on miscarriage.
What is a D&C?
D&C stands for Dilatation of the cervix and Curettage of the uterus. That is a medical term that means the cervix (entrance to the uterus) is enlarged (dilated) and the lining of the uterus is scraped away (curetted). The uterine lining may also be suctioned out, also known as suction curette or suction D&C. Another term used for a suction D&C is D&E (dilatation of the uterus and evacuation of the uterus).
Why is a D&C performed?
In the context of this document, a D&C is performed after a woman had has an incomplete miscarriage. This means that the baby has died in the uterus and the body has failed to expel it, or has only partially expelled it.
What are the risks of D&C?
- Heavy bleeding or haemorrhage
- Perforated uterus: this occurs when the curette punctures the wall of the uterus
- Incomplete curettage, resulting in left over products of conception, placenta or other tissues being left behind
- Asherman’s Syndrome: a very rare complication in which scarring inside the uterus can interfere with your menstrual cycle and stop further periods occurring, rendering you infertile
When can I expect to get my period after a D&C?
Menstruation should occur by 12 weeks after the D&C. IF you have not had a period by then you should see your doctor.
Is there anything I need to avoid after a D&C?
- Do not use tampons until your first period after the D&C. This is because your cervix is open after the operation and can more easily transmit infection.
- You should not have sexual intercourse for 2 weeks after the D&C and until all bleeding has ceased. Again this is due to infection risk.
When can I try to conceive after a D&C?
There is some anecdotal evidence to suggest that there is a slightly higher risk of miscarriage if a pregnancy occurs before the first normal menstrual cycle after a miscarriage or D&C. Wait until you have one normal menstrual period and then you can begin trying again on that cycle.
What will my period be like after a D&C?
There is really no ‘normal’ for the first period. It can be: [list]
- Very heavy (but not enough to make you feel faint)
- Very light (but more than spotting)
- Terribly crampy or not at all
- Be heavy initially, then drop quickly to spotting
- Spotting for several days, then heavy after that
The following bleeding is not normal and is not considered a menstrual period:
- Light spotting that only spots for days on end
- Light spotting that comes and goes
- Heavy bleeding that makes you go through a pad every hour or 2 for more than a week
If you are concerned about heavy bleeding please see a doctor or go to your local hospital’s emergency department immediately.
Essential Baby Support Articles
Advice on coping with a miscarriage
Women’s experience of miscarriage
Helping a friend who has suffered a loss
Links to Websites with Miscarriage and D&C Information
emedicinehealth.com – D&C article
medicinenet.com D&C article
The document last updated 9 February 2009.
Many thanks to babyg1 for her assistance in writing this document, as well as her idea to have it in the first place!
Once posts with questions/information have been processed I will delete them, to try and keep this tidy.