Pregnancy Complications: What To Expect From A D&C

Health & Medical Blog

When you get pregnant, the last thing you want to hear from your doctor is that your baby is no longer developing and you are going through a miscarriage. Pregnancy loss is a very difficult thing to go through, but there are some decisions to make. One decision is whether or not to have a dilation and curettage. A dilation and curettage, or D&C, is an outpatient procedure that removes the tissue from your uterus. It is often done for women with abnormal bleeding, but also performed for women with a missed miscarriage or incomplete miscarriage. Here is more information about the D&C and what to expect from the procedure.

Is the D&C always required?

In many cases, getting a D&C is completely optional. A missed miscarriage means you went to a doctor's appointment assuming you were still pregnant, but your baby has stopped developing. You may not have had any spotting or signs of the miscarriage. In this case, you can either choose to let the miscarriage happen naturally and pass the tissue on your own, or you can opt for a D&C, which removes the tissue directly from your uterus.

Why should you choose a D&C?

Some women don't have a choice in the matter, because following a miscarriage, their doctor found more tissue in their uterus that needed to be removed. Even if you have a choice in the matter, you risk infection if all the tissue is not expelled from your uterus naturally. You may go through the miscarriage naturally, but still have to get the D&C. Another reason to get it is that the bleeding and cramping tends to be less severe if you have a D&C, as opposed to waiting for the miscarriage to occur naturally. Some women also find it easier to get through it faster and start the emotional healing process.

Are there any risks of getting a D&C?

There are few risks involved with getting a D&C. There is the risk of puncturing the uterus, though this is extremely rare. You could also experience weakening of your cervix or scarring of the uterus. Since the procedure is performed under anesthesia, there is also a risk there, especially if you have never had anesthesia and are not sure how your body reacts to it.

How is a D&C performed?

The D&C is an outpatient procedure, meaning it is performed in a hospital or doctor's office. Most doctors advise women to get general anesthesia for the D&C, which means you will be asleep and not at all conscious during the procedure. Others can get local anesthesia, though this is not as common. Once the anesthesia is administered, doctors open your vagina with a speculum, then dilate your cervix. They use tools to scrape out the tissue remaining in the uterus. Once done, they remove the speculum and wait for you to wake up from the sedation.

What is the recovery process like?

There are two stages of recovery after a D&C: physical and emotional. The physical recovery should be relatively easy. There will be some bleeding and mild cramping, which is mostly due to your cervix being dilated and the removal of the tissue. This is gone in a few days following the procedure. The hardest part for many women is the emotional recovery of the pregnancy loss. It is recommended that you talk to someone and get support, seeking counseling if you need it.

For more information, contact a local gynecology center like Naples OBGYN.


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