D&C Vs. Natural Cleansing

Updated on August 24, 2010
R.A. asks from Indianapolis, IN
22 answers

I found out yesterday at 8 weeks pregnant that I lost our baby. I'm dealing with it emotionally but now what I have to decide is whether to have a D&C or just let my body do it's thing naturally. My doctor talked about both options and now I need to make the decision. I'm leaning toward the natural way but wanted to get some input both from women who have had a D&C and those who have gone the other route. If you chose a D&C please tell me why and what your experience/recovery was like. If you let your body do it's own cleansing please share those details (ie. how bad was the cramping/bleeding and how long did it last?). Also, how long after losing the baby did it take for your body to start the process?

Thanks in advance for your answers.

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So What Happened?

Thanks so much to all the women to responded to my question. After 3 1/2 weeks of waiting, I finally miscarried naturally. While it wasn't physically painful it was very difficult emotionally. I'm praying I never have to experience that again. Now I feel like I can continue the healing process and move on.

More Answers



answers from Pittsburgh on

Personally, I had two D&Cs. The first after nothing "happened" on it's own for several (3-4) days and the second right away. For me, once I knew the baby was not viable, I just preferred the idea of having it taken care of right away.
I'm so sorry for your loss.

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answers from Fort Wayne on

I am so terribly sorry for your loss. :(

I had a D&C, but it was after the baby had already passed. I bled for almost a month straight. My doctor and I decided to go ahead and do the D&C since the bleeding wasn't showing any signs of stopping.
I went to the hospital an hour or so before my surgery. They used general anesthesia. I was only out for about 10 minutes. The recovery was fairly easy, but I only had a small amount of tissue removed. I was really groggy and very crampy when I woke up. They gave me some pain medicine and I then I was fine. In the recovery room, they gave me pitocin to stimulate the uterus to return to it's normal shape. It made me very very crampy, but the pain medicine helped a lot. Once I was able to move around and urinate on my own, they sent me home. I spent the rest of the day resting. I felt a little groggy, but it wasn't too terribly bad. I was fine the next day. I never had any cramping or bleeding once I got home. Both are very common though. Each person's experience is going to be a little different. I had already passed the baby and most of the placenta, so there wasn't much left for them to take out. I would imagine your procedure would be more involved and it would take longer. The longer you're under anesthesia, the longer it takes to recover from it.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I am sorry for your loss. I had 2 miscarriages before my son. The first one I had a D&C and the second one I was going to but had to schedule it later and it ended up passing on its own. I suggest the D&C so you can start moving on and trying again. When I let it go on its own, it seemed like forever because you have to wait to make sure everything is out of your system. I went every week for blood tests to make sure the hormone levels were dropping as they should and my doc eneded up having to remove more. I think I was laid up for maybe a day but recovery was fairly quick. I hope you know that it is normal and that given it was so early just means your body was taking care of something that wasn't right. It will happen and when it does, will make the pain lessen, I promise! Good luck!

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answers from Cleveland on

I'm so very sorry. We lost two, one at 6 weeks and one at almost 8 weeks in the past year. Both were taken care of naturally. As for the details, it was nothing worse than a nasty period with some heavy clotting, last 5-7 days. That being said, it took me a long time, and I still don't know if I'm completely over the fact that I flushed two of my babies down the toilet. It isn't a pretty thought, and it's not like it was in my control, but it made the healing process very difficult for me. It's possible I would have found a reason to guilt myself even if we had a D&C done, but I don't know. It bugged me so much for awhile I wanted to sell my house and move, and had nightmares about it. Good luck with whatever you decide, you'll be in my prayers.

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answers from Houston on

I went the natural way and I'm glad I did. It helped with my grieving. As I recall from many years ago, I bled for about 4 or 5 days. The cramping was far less than labor, but more than period cramping, but I'm sure some of that was from the tension, fear and sorrow. I think the cramping was most severe for two days, then just a bit for another two or three. But again, I needed to feel my body's sorrow during the time that my heart was so broken by my loss. I found that as my body returned to normal (no cramping and bleeding) my emotional healing was following the same course.

I don't know when my body would have been back to normal as far as my cycle because I got pregnant again within 3 or 4 months. Sorry I can't help there.

I had a D&C for other reasons many years later. I didn't react well to the anesthesia, so my input there wouldn't be typical of others, I'm sure. I hope I don't have to have another one.

I am so sorry for your loss. I know it hurts deeply.

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answers from Boston on

I am sorry for your loss. I had a D&C for a different reason. I had day surgery and very minor cramping and discomfort. I was told that I could return to work the next day but my scheduler had one in the past and for the job that I did she gave me the week off. I was told no sex or anything in the vagina until my follow up appointment. My periods returned to normal in about 2 months and the second time I had one I was pregnant 3 months following it but I as I mentioned I had them for a different reason so I don't know if it will take a while for your hormones to return to normal and I am sure everyone is different. I have had friends that needed D&C following a miscarriage because their bodies didn't cleanse themselves sufficiently.

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answers from Albuquerque on

I'm so sorry for your loss. I just went through this in June, at 11 weeks we found out the baby had passed at 8 weeks. I really wanted to avoid a d&c so I decided to let my body handle it on it's own. We found out on a Tuesday and on Friday I started spotting. So Saturday at around 1 in the morning I started cramping and actually felt it coming down (hard to explain) but I was in the bathroom pretty much the whole night. I'm so glad it happened that way and not in the daytime when my girls would be up and running around. After that I bled like a normal period with some clotting for around a week. They were also having my blood drawn to check my levels so the Sunday after my levels were around 700 and the next Sunday they were at 1. I just had faith that my body would know how to handle it and it did.

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answers from Chicago on

I am so sorry for your loss.

"I have had friends that needed D&C following a miscarriage because their bodies didn't cleanse themselves sufficiently."

That was me. My mom had just passed away, and then I lost the baby. I was a wreck. What helped me through it was knowing my mom had my baby in Heaven. Honestly, I don't really remember how long it took me to recover (it was 10 years ago), but i do remember that I was pregnant with my 2nd daughter 6 months later. She's a healthy, happy 9 yr old now!

Best wishes.

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answers from South Bend on

I had 3 miscarriages last fall, before finally conceiving this one that I am carrying now. The first 2, I m/c naturally, just a heavy period with some cramping, but not intolerable. Although, I think the pain may have been dulled by the emotional pain. The 3rd m/c ended in a d&c after I started hemorrhaging.

Here is my opinion (from both a personal and medical standpoint)........I think the best way is for the body to let it handle itself. It actually can take several weeks (and in rare cases a couple months) to start the m/c. The hormone levels have to get down to 0 before your body can cleanse the uterus. So, just because you don't start bleeding right away, doesn't mean your body won't take care of you. The only reason I had the d&c the last time was for blood loss (I also have a clotting disorder, btw). Don't let that s
care you though.......doesn't happen often AND there is actually a medication that the doctor can give you a script for to have on hand. Then, if you start bleeding heavier (more than 2-3 pads in an hour) you can take this med. It will slow things down for you, without further need for medical intervention. Also, there is actually a risk of hemorrhaging if you HAVE the d&c, so that should not be your deciding factor.

There are pros and cons to either side. So, this is something only YOU can decide. If it is important enough for you emotionally to be "done" with the whole situation faster that you are willing to take the risks of scarring, cervical damage, etc (not a super high risk, but there all the same) ........then, the d&c is for you. If you would rather let your body handle it in its own way and not take those risks unless necessary.......then, you should probably just wait it out. Either way, do what is best for YOU. Take some time for yourself and start the grieving however you do it best. If that means getting back to work, life, etc......do it. But, if that means taking some time off and crying......do that (and don't feel guilty about any of it).

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answers from Minneapolis on

Sorry for the loss. I had two d&c's. My doctor really convinced me that I could hemorage if I didn't do it that way. With the first I had already started bleeding and I felt the "m/c symptoms" so I didn't have any regrets, it took a day and then you can take time off of work. For me, I didn't- I just wanted to keep going with life(just how I coped). With the second, I never experienced the symptoms of m/c so I actually regreted the D&C and wished I had at least let my body start the process. I wondered if I really m/c or they read the u/s wrong- probably not but it was the feeling I was left with. In terms of recovery, with both I don't really remember but it wasn't that bad I don't think. If anything the bleeding was not painful, and I don't remember for how long.

The D&C process is very "non-eventful"- it is in and out and the whole hospital experience just takes a long time. I think I read somewhere it causes scarring. If you start to wonder how long before trying to get pregnant again- my cycle got really out of whack with the m/c's and I got pregnant far more quickly than we planned on trying. They say wait two cycles to be confident it is not a false positive. I wasn't as worried about false positives after having the d&c's. It may be the farthest thing from your mind right now, but it was something that overwhelmed me.



answers from Cincinnati on

I am so very sorry; that is such a terrible loss. First, know that you are not alone. For some reason, that made me feel much better with my experience. I chose to have a D&C because I emotionally needed to have some closure more quickly. It had been a long process to determine whether or not I had miscarried and I was emotionally wrung out. The process itself was fairly quick. They put me under, did the procedure, I was in recovery for a couple of hours and then home I went. I was back at work within the next day or two. I bled for about a week and a half including passing some larger clots within the first three days.

Obviously, either way you go has risks but I hope the information is helpful. Again, I am so very sorry for your loss.



answers from St. Cloud on

I miscarried naturally 4 times.

At 5 1/2 and 6 1/2 weeks the pain was nothing. It seemed like a regular period.

The other 2 were at 9 1/2 weeks and 12 1/2 weeks. Those were painful. The thing that helped was sitting in a tub of really warm/hot water. It made the pain bearable. I took no medication, aspirin, etc. So that may help as well...... Bleeding lasted about as long as a normal period for all of them.

I just preferred to go the natural route because there is a (small) possibility of scarring with a D&C and I didn't want to be worried about that if we didn't get pregnant again right away. My doc wanted me to have a D&C with the 12 1/2 week pregnancy because we found out at about 9 1/2 weeks that the baby had died. However, after researching, we decided to wait it out. I'm glad we did even if it was painful......

We felt that God made our bodies perfect and that they are capable to deal with these issues. So we chose to trust that and took (and still take with many things) the natural way.



answers from Cincinnati on

I'm sorry for your loss. I m/c between 12 and 14 weeks before I ever knew I was pregnant (was BF'ing so no period). I cramped and bled really hard for a week before the dr belived I wasn't just having my period. I went a total of 6 weeks of regular - heavy bleeding before deciding to have the d&c. I was sore the rest of the day and bled for 4 more days before I was finished. If I ever needed to make the decision again I would try to let nature take its course but after a few weeks I would do the d&c again.



answers from Cincinnati on

I am so sorry for your loss. I was in your exact same situation about 2 years ago as far a weeks go. I think we found out the heart was no longer beating through ultrasound at about 8 weeks. My doctor recommended the natural way unless it didn't happen within 2 weeks. About 3 days before the 2 week wait was up I started to miscarry. My doctor told me that I should take several Aleve to get ahead of the pain. So I did that and I think it helped a lot. I still had severe cramping for about 3 hours, but after that it turned into more of a heavy period. I really wanted it to happen on its own. Even though I had to wait for it emotionally, this was our 2nd IVF cycle and I didn't want anything to possibly (no matter how small a chance) hurt my chances in the future. I have known friends who have had D&Cs and gone on to have kids, so it is really a personnal choice. If I were in the situation again, I would do it the same way as long as the doctor was still recommending the option. Good luck. Know that you are not alone.



answers from Indianapolis on

I'm so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you. I had a D&C. I had what is known as a blighted ovum. The pregnancy cells were there, but there was no sign of a baby developing in the womb. My doctor said I should have a normal period that would cleanse my body naturally ridding it of the pregnancy cells and bringing everything back to normal. However, after a month of nothing happening and my body still thinking it was pregnant, I decided to go in for the D&C. I was released to go home the same day after it was done. There was some discomfort for a few days at most, but I was able to walk and resume my daily activities after the D&C. Emotionally, I found it a struggle to wait it out for a period that never happened. And on that same note, it was emotional to go in for the procedure, because it was a defining moment that put things into reality and perspective that this pregnancy was not going to happen. The D&C was the final chapter of feeling pregnant. I was extremely grief stricken, but the loving support of my husband, family and friends helped a lot. It's really a personal choice, there is no right or wrong answer to your decision on what you decide to do. It is your body, after all, and you have a right to heal it emotionally and physically in your own way.



answers from Cincinnati on

I have had both procedures done. I would recommend the D&C. My natural process carried on for about 4 weeks and still included visits to the Dr to ensure all was passed. It was so hard to move on and stop crying with the natural process happening. To me, the explanation of what was happening was as devastating as the initial loss. The D&C was a painless procedure for me, outpatient. I was put to sleep for about 50 min, and then on my way home with no pain. Either option sucks, but end your suffering ASAP.



answers from Toledo on

One more opinion for you. I am so sorry for your loss. I miscarried my first pregnancy at 8 wks also. My husband and I elected the D&C because I needed to have it over. I psychologically needed to have the baby out because I kept having dreams that they were wrong and the baby was going to be fine. It also happened the week before Mother's Day and all the commercials just broke my heart because I didn't know if I would get pregnant again. The D&C was not painful at all, but they performed an epidural for the pain and he nicked the dura. Because of this I had migraines when I sat up for a few days afterwards. If they hadn't stopped on their own they were going to have to do a blood patch. Fortunately they did stop but that scared me off of an epidural when I did have children later.
We got pregnant again at the end of July. I needed to get pregnant as soon as I was allowed. Again, psychologically I needed to know I could get pregnant and carry the baby. Looking back, I wish I would have gone naturally. With my first daughter's birth I dilated really early but managed to carry her to term. I was not as lucky the second time and my second daughter was 6 weeks premature. No one has ever said, but I will always wonder if there was some cervical damage from the D&C.
At the time, given the information and emotions I was having, the D&C was the right answer, but hindsight being 20/20, I wish I had tried to go naturally. Good luck to you. Please know all our thoughts and prayers are with you.



answers from Columbus on

I am sorry for your loss. :( I have been in your shoes. I will share my story:

Last year I had two miscarriages. In January, we found out at 11 weeks that we had twins but that they basically stopped growing and had no heartbeats. The choice was a D&C or wait. Well, I waited 2 weeks and finally started miscarrying. I bled for a solid hour with cramps but stopped as abruptly as it started. I remember my thoughts being "ok, that wasn't too bad." Wrong. I should've known that miscarrying takes longer than an hour. The next day, I started bleeding again while my hubby was at work. After three hours with the bleeding getting worse, I called him home to take me to the ER. I laid in the ER 9 more hours while they attemped to stop the bleeding (that's another story in itself about the incompentance of this particular hospital). All in all, I bled for more than 13 hours, lost more than half of my blood volume and ended up with an emergency D&C anyway-- the very thing I was trying to avoid in the first place. For me, though, in that moment, I was relieved to finally get the surgery started since that was literally the only thing that was going to stop the bleeding. I lost so much blood that I had to have two seperate blood transfusions over the next two days.
Not to scare you, but you need to know the possibilities of waiting it out and make an informed decision. I wish someone had told me what could possibly happen.
I got pregnant two months later in March and at 7 weeks, and miscarried again. This time, it was a natural miscarriage that I don't remember much about other than it felt like a heavy period with cramping. It did last longer than a normal period, too. I think compared to the previous ordeal, it is something my mind has mostly forgotten.
I will tell you that i'm glad I didnt have two D&C's and if I ever have a third miscarriage, I would probably try to go naturally again. I understand my first situation was an extreme case and not likely for most people to experience.
Good luck in whatever you choose.



answers from Cleveland on

First I would like to say that I am very sorry for your loss. Having a miscarriage is very emotional and a hard time. I had a D&C about 6 years ago...so I will try to remember. I was 10 weeks pregnant. The doctor highly recommended the D&C because knowing that the baby was still inside me and who knew when my body will start to deliver the "baby" could cause more emotional stress on me. Plus you lose a lot of blood and cramp a lot more if you go naturally...that with me being 10 weeks pregnant would probably put me in the hospital anyways. I was an emotional wreck at the hospital when I got my D&C. But then afterwards, there was only slight cramping (like with a period). I think I bleed for about a week...and then spotted after that (I'm trying to remember). The recovery period is faster and less emotional. I only missed 1 day of work. I am glad I went with the D&C. We had to wait 2 - 3 months until we started trying for another baby again. I think I got pregnant 4 months later and our healthy baby girl just started kindergarten today!



answers from Indianapolis on

I miscarried twice. The first time I opted for D & C and had complications, remember, it is a surgical procedure so that should factor into your decision. The 2nd miscarriage I let my body do it's own thing. It was not any more uncomfortable than a period but it did seem to last quite a while. I am sorry for your loss.



answers from Cincinnati on

Two years ago I miscarried. I was probably about 10 weeks along when I had my first ultrasound and that's when I found out, I was told that I was about 6 weeks along when I lost the baby. I opted for the DC. I started to get really sick towards the end and I figured since it's been 4 weeks and my body hasn't done it naturally it might not do it. I also had talked to my mother in law who miscarried and again got violently ill and went to the ER and that's how she found out she miscarried they had to do a DC on her.

But I also wanted the whole process to be over. My sister-who went through 2 miscarriages naturally told me that I should wait at least a week, but again it had already been about 4 and nothing had happened. I didn't want to wait, I wanted the whole thing to be over with so I could move on.

The hospital that I went to for the DC, they were great, the nurses and doctors were wonderful. Being there for such a sad reason, I actually enjoyed everything that they did for me. I didn't have a long recovery time at all. I was a little bit sore for a few days, but nothing major (well not for me at least, I have very painful periods anyways and the pain I felt from the DC couldn't compare to period cramps). I think I spotted for a few days but it wasn't anything major. I couldn't have sex for a few weeks to let the area heal and I was told not to try and conceive for at least 3 months (give or take).

It took me a little over a year to want to try and have kids again. I was spiteful, especially towards someone I knew that didn't mean to get pregnant and she did. The littlest of things would make me cry. It was really hard for me. I won't lie and say I was over it in a few months. I am pregnant now, 10 weeks along, but at least I was able to hear the heartbeat a few weeks ago and that helps me but there's a part of me that is scared. I try not to let that over come me.



answers from Indianapolis on

I miscarried once, over 10 years ago, after having my two daughters. I started spotting, and that is when I discovered I was miscarrying, so my body did it naturally. My doctor just followed my blood levels until they returned to less than 5. I don't remember a lot of cramps, just a normal period.
I am sorry you are having to go through this. Best of luck to you as you go through this process. I hope whatever way you choose works out best for you.

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