14 answers

D&C Vs. "Natural" Miscarriage? Your Advice Needed...

I wanted to thank all of you for your posts on my question about low fetal heart rate and baby's size being too small. You have helped us make the decision to definitely wait things out until our next doctor's appointment, and to not take action until <God forbid> there is no heart beat remaining. From what a lot of you said, and the research that I've done since then, the outcome doesn't look so good. But we still have hope.

If the baby's heart beat disappears, the doctor has recommended a D&C. I'm writing to ask your opinions on getting a D&C vs. letting the miscarriage happen "naturally"... Have any of you had experience with either or both? Does one have benefits over the other physically? Does the "natural" miscarriage take a lot longer? Is either one easier to recover from? Can a D&C affect future fertility in any way? Does bleeding last longer with either one? How did you feel afterwards? Anything else that I've forgotten to ask?

I am 38, so time is an important factor in being able to try to conceive again.

I am praying, and thank you for all of your prayers that the heart beat and size will be fine on Monday. Thank you for your advice. I am so happy to have all of you!


UPDATE 06/23: We were very nervous going to the doctor today. Baby's heart rate increased from the mid-70's to 108 (up, but still low). Size is still small, one week behind. The doctor said I'm to come back next Thursday to see if the HR increases or decreases. She said that she is more optimistic than not with these numbers going up a bit, and said it would be great if the HR continues to increase (I hope and pray so). I am continuing to pray for a good outcome (although I am still cautious, and have prepared myself for bad news at any point). I can't thank you enough for all of your responses, support and prayers (keep those coming!)! I can only hope that this baby is healthy enough to live. And if it isn't, the information I have received from all of you have helped me make the decision to have a D&C if the heart beat disappears (God forbid). Please continue to send good thoughts for this little guy our way.

UPDATE 07/08: Unfortunately, the baby's heartbeat stopped last weekend, and I was sent to the hospital for a D&C the next day. I had a rough recovery, and had to return to the hospital the following weekend, but I am no longer in pain and am now able to mourn our loss. I just wanted to thank all of you for your support and prayers, they were really needed and much appreciated. All of you amazing ladies really helped me through this, and I thank you for it. ~M.

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More Answers

I did read your other post and my heart goes out to you. I hope everything is fine at the doctor today. My first pregnancy ended in a miscarrige. It just happened naturally. It is a very hard thing to go through but it is more emotional than physical. It is like having a period only more intense. The cramps are more intense and the bleeding is heavier. But it is all manageable. I was happy that I was able to just relax at home and not have a medical procedure. The doc said we could try again after 1 period. We ended up getting pregnant again 4 months later (weren't really even trying). And now I have a healthy 15 month old daughter. Whatever you decide will be fine. You will be in my thoughts.

I'm very sorry this is something that you may need to think about. I miscarried last year, about this time. It was very difficult on me - we tried for almost a year, and gave up on trying & conceived (wouldn't you know it) and miscarried. I was 7 weeks along and was feeling a lot of morning sickness (always felt like I was going to throw up-never did, could only eat very small meals, extremely tired, very crabby), so when my baby had no heart beat, it felt like a piece of me died with it. I opted for the DNC because I wanted it all over with. If I wasn't going to have a baby, I didn't want to continue to feel sick get more bloated than what I already was. I had the DNC the day after I had the final ultrasound. I went to a surgery center (I had been there for two other procedures in the past) and they were great to me. The nurses know what you're going through and most of them knew you probably didn't want to talk about it, so they would talk to you about other things, to keep your mind off what was going to happen. Yes, they do put you under sedation, but it's not a heavy level...you should only be out for 45 minutes at the most. There is not cutting, they do go inside you, but it wasn't painful. They do something to your uterus to make it go back to it's normal size, so I cramped a little - much less than period cramps, and they put you on medication so the bleeding doesn't last too long. Plus this way the doctor also takes the placenta and they send it out for testing, to make sure there was no major reason why this happened (you have a major disease, etc.). I didn't want to let it happen naturally because I wanted it over sooner than later and I also didn't want what was once my baby being flushed down a toilet (I know it sounds wierd) & my doctor told me it was healthier to have the DNC. He assured me there were no repurcussions on trying to conceive again because of having the DNC versus natural miscarriage. It's honestly up to you - how you feel about it. Personally I wanted the DNC to make sure everything that is supossed to come out did & I wanted it sooner than later.

I went through both. Even though both were devestating, the first time it happened, it was a home and it seemed worse, waiting and bleeding so much, but the psycholocgical aspect of it, knowing that my baby was coming out (sorry) really affected me, depression hit hard and I would have a D&C if, God forbid, I ever do have annother miscarriage. I don't like to say the second miscarriage was easier, but I didn't even know there was something wrong, I went in, they couldn't find the heartbeat, they scheduled a D&C, no bleeding, no cramping, nothing, the worst was, I still felt pregnant, so it was a total surprise that it was happening again. I pray your baby is growing stronger everyday, and the docs miscalculated, which does happen, it happened with my angel baby, he is now a healthy, very active, one year old!

This happened to me just about 11 years ago.I was 4 and a half months along. We had a heartbeat one month and the next there was nothing.My doc, said we could wait for the baby to pass, or a DNC. I opted for the DNC, I was so heart broken over the fact that this baby was gone, like I did something wrong. But the reality set in that there was something wrong with him/her, and it was all for the best. I had my DNC, I bled no longer than a normal period, I do not recall any pain I do know that when I had to gp thru this they do have to make sure all remains are removed. I was able to try again after 1 or 2 cycles, it did takes us about 4 months to get pregnant again. But now I have a happy and very athletic young man who will be 11 on Wednesday. I just came to the reasoning that everything happens for a reason. God took that baby to give me my son for one reason or another. But I have a very smart 13 year old daughter, and my son. I wish you the best of luck, on which ever way you go. God Bless

Sorry about this event in your life, I have had this happen to me twice last year I went through the same thing it happened naturally, but in most cases its incomplete so you will have to have the d and c anyway.

I'm so very sorry you're going through this.

In 2000, I was 4 months pregnant when I miscarried. The baby would not come out on its own and the doctor recommended a D&C. I was able to conceive about 6 months after the procedure and carried the baby to term (healthy girl - 9 lbs 1oz).


My first m/c was very early on and the doctors wanted to let it happen naturally. After about 7-10 days, my hcg levels weren't dropping so they opted for a D&C. The procedure was quick and pretty painless. The second time I m/c'd, I was almost 12 weeks and there wasn't much discussion. The doctor had me get a D&C the next day. But, that's what I would have wanted anyway.

There are a few factors that you can consider before you make your choice. Personally, if the pregnancy was over - I wanted it totally over. I didn't want to wait and wait. I was angry at my body (I was angry at the whole world, actually) and I didn't like not knowing that the baby was still (possibly) in me. But, that was me.

Another thing is that I wasn't on fertility and my age wasn't as much of a factor (I was 31-32). After the D&C, I bled for about a week (?) and was cramping pretty bad. We were told to wait for two cycles and then we could start again. We were blessed because I get pregnant VERY easy. I've been pregnant four times and 3 happened the first cycle and the 4th was the second cycle of trying.

As for the D&C and future fertility... I do seem to remember that there was some increased risks for the future and pre-term labor or something. I'm not sure though. Please check with your doctor or WebMD or some other reliable website.

Finally, I should warn you that IF this ends up being the route you need to take (I'm hoping not), you may have the word "abortion" or "spontaneous abortion" on paperwork or used by medical professionals. This really threw me for a curve as I was sad to hear/see those words with regard to my situation. I'm pro-choice, but it was upsetting to me. One of the nurses at my doctor's office was kind enough to apologize for the fact that the paperwork even had it on there. ALSO, when I was at the hospital for the procedure, I had to sign a release that would let them take "the products of conception" and that I didn't want "it" for any religous purposes. THAT really hurt for some reason and made the whole thing just so real. I started to cry when I had to sign the paperwork. So, just be prepared.

I hope that all turns out ok for you and your baby. I'll keep you in my thoughts. Please let us know.


There is another option - I can't remember the name of the medication, but when this happened to me, the doctors offered me the option of having medication inserted vaginally that triggered miscarriage. It was much less invasive than a D/C plus just easier to know when it was going to happen versus waiting for the miscarriage to happen on its own. I went to the office in the morning, had the medication inserted, went home and believe that it happened by 7 p.m. There was some cramping, but nothing worse than a period. This isn't easy - I remember waiting between ultrasounds to find out. Good luck.

I had a D&C after a miscarriage and was able to conceive later. My very wise, conservative doctor prescribed the D&C. If there had been a better alternative, I'm sure he would have taken it instead. Our hearts all go out to you in this difficult 'waiting and hoping' stage.

I know myresponse is later than others, just read your posting. Having done both, the D&C is faster, shorter recovery due to the fact that there is less bleeding. Neither affects future fertility unless you have other issues compromising your fertility. Our child now is five years old. I pray for all the best for you and your little person.

I only have experience with a "natural miscarriage." I was 10 weeks along. I personally experienced a significant amount of pain and it took several days. The entire experience is emotional but it was really hard not knowing what was going to happen and when. I had two successful pregnancies that followed. The first one was within 6 months. My prayers are with you.

I think I responded to your earlier request but I can't remember. At any rate, I knew that at week 7 our little baby would not be developing further. Our doctor wanted us to wait to see if my body would take care of the miscarriage but let us know that if a certain date had passed and it hadn't happened, then she would do a D&C.

It was two months later that I miscarried naturally. It did not hurt at all and was like a heavy period for about 3 days (total bleeding was about 8 days in all). I took a break from fertility treatments and during that time (two months after the natural miscarriage) we became pregnant. Other than being kind of "icky", I was not in pain nor did I have bad cramping.

Talk to your physician as he or she knows the total picture of your health. I'm certain you've done this, but share your concerns about your age, your fertility, and your desire to become pregnant and ask him or her what he or she thinks is best for your condition. I wish you nothing but success!

Hey M. -
Your story really touched me. I had my FIRST D & C on Nov. 16, 2007 with twins. I have 2 children previous to that! I am now 11 weeks pregnant & I am a nervous wreck! Everything happens for a reason babe - your prayers are with me!


I am so sorry about your situation BUT never give up, we didn't. I actually have had both, a D & C and a natural miscarriage. I wouldn't want either one again, but if it were to happen I would take the D &C over the natural. While the D & C is a major procedure and you have to be put out which can be scary, the natural one was extremely extremely painful and you don't know when it's going to happen. The situation is painful enough, noone needs the physical pain on top of it. It does not affect fertility and I seem to remember that it's actually better, they can make sure everything is taken care of to try again. Feel free to ask me ANY questions. I hope this helps and I feel for you.

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