24 answers

What Should I Expect with a D&C?

I posted before about being pregnant but only seeing an empty gestational sac. Well, I had my last ultrasound today, which still showed an empty gestational sac that was collapsing on one side. At this point, I know it's a loss and the doctor thought a D&C should be performed because he's worried about a possible ectopic pregnancy. I haven't had any cramps or bleeding, except sometimes when I wipe and don't know how long it would be before I miscarried naturally. At this point I'm ready to have the D&C procedure and put this behind me. Is it safe enough? What should I expect? He said it would be scheduled this week and said I would be ok the next day but that's all he told me.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I am home from the procedure and almost feel like nothing happened. I have very minimal bleeding and no pain or cramping, at least not yet. My husband and I are fine emotionally right now as we are busy taking care of our 14 year old, 3 year old and 4 month old boys. This was much easier to deal with than the one I lost at 5 months and had to be induced and deliver. That was a nightmare! Thanks again for all your replies.

Featured Answers

I had one after a misscarriage and there were no side effects. You should not even know you had it done.

More Answers

Hi KZ,
I'm sorry to hear how it turned out.

The proceedure was pretty basic. Had to register at the hospital, get blood work done that morning, etc. Showed up at 5:00pm and was home by 10:00pm. Had to have someone drive me home and then stay with me for 24 hours cuz of the anesthesia. Physically it was ok, recovery was just like a regular cycle, just a bit heavier.

Emotionally, I was a mess. I had mine the same day that I found out that things were over. Be forewarned that the nurses will use all of the cold, generic, medical terms. The nurse in the prep room, verifying the proceedure, etc. asked me in front of my husband if I had had a failed abortion! I totally freaked! She apologized and said that she just meant that my body hadn't handled things. The nurse called for a grief counselor. I took a few days off of work and my Mom came to stay with me. Give yourself some time.

Surprisingly I was pregnant again a few months later, and was able to carry that pregnancy to term. She will be 2y old next month.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi! I haven't read the other responses and see that you have had quite a few, but I wanted to let you know that the procedure is safe. I had one 2 years ago performed by my Ob-Gyn. Physically the recovery wasn't too bad except I bled longer than they said I would (also bled longer than they said after my c-section, so I guess that's just me). I am not an overly emotional person normally, but after the D&C I randomly cried - very often. It lasted for probably a month. I would be sitting on the couch and suddenly start crying and not really know why. I felt like I was going crazy until I did some internet research and found out it was normal - so I just wanted to warn you that it could happen, and if it does you aren't crazy! Good luck.

I will echo what others have said: I've had a D&C, it was no big deal physically. Losing a pregnancy is rough, though. YOu have my sympathy....Also, just fyi, if a nurse or doc should refer to a "failed abortion," be advised this an alternative medical terminology for "miscarriage." Does NOT imply that you've just tried to end a viable pregnancy because you didn't want it. Go ahead, get it done, go home, have a stiff shot of brandy, and cry your eyes out. And then get better.

I'm so sorry you have to go through this. I've been there, and it's hard. It is a safe procedure though. Usually you're in and out the same day, and you're out during the whole thing. I had no pain. Just couldn't take a shower for 24 hours, and had a little bleeding (like a light period) for a few days. There is also sometimes a possibility that they can have the tissue removed tested to try to find out why the pregnancy ended. It helped for me to find out the cause. I hope everything goes ok, and that you are ok. It takes time, but it does get better.

I see that you have already gotten some responces, but I just wanted to post my experience. I had a D&C 3 years ago after a miscarriage. I was 4 months pregnant and the babys heartbeat had stopped. My Dr also suggested the D&C because they didnt know when or if I would miscarry (the baby had stopped growing but my uterus still thought I was pregnant and was still growing) I was very scared and upset, but it was not a bad experience at all. After being put to sleep, I dont remember a thing. When I woke up, and went home, there was some cramping, like menstral cramps but not as bad. They gave me pain meds to take, and I slept a lot the first 2 days. I will add that 3 months later, I was pregnant with my daughter, who is now 2...
I had more emotional pain during that time than physical pain. It is a very safe procedure and recovery is fast. Make sure you get some rest after the surgery, and get pampered while recovering. Surround yourself with friends and family to keep your spirits up. You will be in my prayers.

K Z, you'll be fine! It's a very short and simple procedure that they do. Because of the anesthesia, you'll be sleepy afterwards or a bit drained but other than that, you'll be fine. I wish you the best and I'll keep you in my prayers.

i am very sorry for your loss. i had a d&c several years ago before i finally had to have a hysterctomy due to fibroids. the afterwards of dc were a bit of cramping and fellt like i had my period you know pain in legs etc. but i was ok.


I had a D&C six years ago. I was pregnant, but then had a vaginal ultrasound and the doctor couldn't find a heartbeat. I had to wait a few days for the procedure and went to the outpatient surgery center. You can't eat after dinner the night before, but you can drink water so your veins don't collapse when they try to put in the IV (something they neglect to tell you). The procedure itself was easy to get over, I went home the shortly after I woke up from the anesthesia. The first day wasn't bad. It was the next day that was awful. My hormones started disapating pretty quickly, and the drop is really hard to deal with and difficult to explain to some one who hasn't experienced it. Take at least a week off from work and make sure you have someone to stay with you if your husband has to go to work. Choose carefully; my brother was great because he didn't even pretend to understand. My sister was a total bad-word because she thinks she knows everything and is totally thoughtless. I know I cried for a week. One third of the women in the world are crying with you because that is how many have had miscarriages.

Five months later I conceived my beautiful daughter and she truly is a gift from God. My prayers are with you.


I had a D&C five days after my daughter was born because parts of the placenta were still inside causing major blood clots to pass (my bought thought it was still nourishing a baby.) The doctors put me under for the procedure, which was my choice, and I went home about 8 hours later. It was really quick and easy and I had no internal pain or anything. The worst part was the major dry mouth side effect--ice chips didn't even help. I will say that I was still in pain from child birth and the episiotomy so the anesthesia really knocked me out for a few days afterwards. You should be fine physically, maybe a little crampy and tired if the put you under. Best of luck to you!

KZ, I am so sorry to hear this. As far as the DNC goes, it isn't terrible, as long as you are put under. Don't let them do it with a local anesthetic. I have had both and the latter is terrible. As far as the recovery, give yourself a couple of days to rest. It can give you cramping, bleeding and some general discomfort. Atleast that has been my experience. Good luck.

I know there are lots of other responses, but I just wanted to chime in that the procedure is certainly a safe one, and doctors do this all the time for whatever reason. I've had 2, under local anesthesia, and they were uncomfortable (the application of the anesthesia was the worst part like it often is with surgical procedures). But is seems as though they've gotten much better under general anesthesia, so I'm sure you'll do just fine! Best of luck to you.

Hi. I had one before. My Dr. gave me an iv and I was fine, during and after, very little pain. My mother had it done before and had it done with the anesthia (sp?) done through a shot in her vagina. She said the shot hurt but it wasn't unbearable, and the procedure was painless. It is safe and women have it done for many different reasons. Good luck. oh p.s. I was fine afterwards, went to work the next day. I didn't even have all the bleeding they said I might have. No cramping what so ever.

I have had 2 D&C's due to miscarriage. Everything has risk as you know, but this is an extremely easy procedure that literally takes minutes. You should't feel much discomfort afterwards and will be up and about the next day. God bless you.

I had one after a misscarriage and there were no side effects. You should not even know you had it done.

So sorry about your situation. It has been quite a while since mine (1981), but it went well. Your doctor is correct in that you'll be OK the next day. There were only 45 minutes I couldn't account for during my procedure, including being put under and waking up! Mine was due to a miscarriage, also. I actually delivered the baby, but needed the D&C to get everything else. I was a bit weak due to loss of blood, but that wasn't necessarily due to the procedure. Go ahead and don't worry.

Hi KZ,
I would not worry at all about the proceedure. I'm sure your doctor has experience with this. It's a very short proceedure. Once you wake up from the anesthesia you can be up and about almost immediately. He'll most likely prescribe pain medication and antibiotics. In my case I felt no pain and did not need any pain meds. The good thing is that you will start to feel better in terms of the nausea and fatigue if you have not already. I wish you the best.

I had a D&C in February this year. They put me out during the procedure & when I woke up there was just mild cramping (like being on a period). My doctor's office was excellent about making sure I felt comfortable every step of the way. I, too, was unsure of when the miscarriage would actually happen. I was just lightly spotting, no cramping.

The hardest thing for me was getting over the miscarriage. I was depressed for a few months. It took 5 weeks to get my period after the D&C,but that is because I have long cycles. If you want to get pregnant again, the D&C will get all of the pregnancy hormones out of your body so that you can "start fresh" physically at least. I was worried that I would be extremely scared once I was pregnant again, but now I am 12 weeks along & have not worried one bit. I think you just no when something is wrong & when something is right.

I wish you the best during this experience. As hard as it is, just relax and let the doctor take care of you.

I just recently had a D&C on August 1st. :( I'm so sorry that you have to experience this...

I went in for surgery and the worst of it was when they gave me the iv! I'm used to shots, so it didn't bother me at all. THey started to wheel me back and they said "We're just given you something to make you feel sleepy." I remember going into the OR, and moving on to another bed...that's all I remembered. When I woke up, I was in the recovery room and I felt fine.

I did get sick from the anesthesia. I had a horrible migraine and felt nauseous, but that's just me. I also felt EXTREMELY tired for about 3 days after my surgery. A few of my friends who had to have D&C's as well said they felt just fine. I was given metheregen (sp?) to help control the bleeding afterwards and stopped bleeding after about 3 days.

Good luck!

Hi! I had a D&C 11 yrs ago on my first pregnancy. Everything went well. It was an out patient surgury so I went home after it. My doctor told me I should get it done rather than having a miscarriage. He said if I miscarry I would have more scaring and you don't want that mostly if your trying to have a baby. It decreases the chances. It wasn't bad at all. In the beginning when they put the medicine in your arm you feel a burning sensation. It only lasts for a short time before you are out. After the surgury try not to drink or eat a lot you might throw up from the medicines still in your body. When you get home you should feel weak and out of it until the next day. You should have bleeding like your period. Just take it easy it's alot to deal with physical and emotionally. I don't know if this is your first pregnancy, but if it is just to give you hope I have three handsome health boys today.
I will keep you and the surgury in my prayers this week.

That happen to me my first time being "pregnant" (I now have a 21 mo and expecting #2 in about a week!). You'll go to the hospital and they will give you something so you sleep through the whole thing. You'll wake up with the lovely mesh undies and i think bleed for a week... I think. And you will be "normal" by the next day. Nothing hurt me physically, it's emotionally that hurts. My husband and I made sure that that weekend we just spent time together and be sure to cry, it's a sad time. I had my surgery in early Nov and we were pregnant with #1 in March. So sorry you have to go through this.

I'm so sorry. The same thing happened to me with my first pregnancy, I felt pregnant and then went in for the ultrasound and there was nothing there. I was given the option of letting nature take it's course or having the D&C an ultimately opted for the D&C. If this tells you anything I don't remember much about it I went home the same day and don't think it effected me all that much physically the toll was more emotional. I don't think I was in the hospital more than a few hours.

Good luck - R. A

They've been doing D&C's for a very long time. My mother got one when she miscarried 30 years ago. She's fine. If I'm not mistaken, she had one with a previous miscarriage as well.

I'm so sorry for your loss, and hope you the best with your next pregnancy.

God Bless.

It is really okay-- I was pregnant about a year and a half ago and they found after several weeks that the baby didnt have a heart beat, I choose to have a D & C and I had no problems what so ever. They will put you to sleep and when you wake up it is all over with. I experience some bleeding after and a little discomfort but nothing big to worry about at all. I am sorry for you loss and hope everything goes well with your procedure.

Dear KZ
I had a miscarriage (over 3 months into the pregnancy) many years ago and needed an emergency D&C. It is true, that the recovery is pretty quick. At the time, my son was not quite 2. The ultrasound had already confirmed that the pregnancy was no longer viable - something we knew for a few weeks but the doctor preferred to have me wait until I miscarried.

Without family near (but wonderful, supportive neighbors, thankfully!), I was worried about being able to take care of my very active son. Because of the anesthesia, you will want to have someone stay with you for the first day. The pain, for me, was minimal, and controlled by the high dose motrin. That was really only necessary for the day after the procedure. I felt much better afterward. Because I was so emotional, my doctor did not recommend that I postpone the next pregnancy. Some will ask you to wait a few months. I got pregnant with our daughter 6 weeks later and had a much better pregnancy. I am sure part of the emotions were the emergency nature of the D&C.

I had my second D&C last week, as a means of controlling post menopausal bleeding. This was scheduled and easier to handle than the emergency situation where I was bleeding uncontrollably and had my son with us. The procedure was Thursday and I returned to work Monday. I slept much on Thursday (off and on) but was ok on Friday. I am taking it easy, physically, still.

About me: Happily married 33 years and have 2 wonderful adult children.

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