If You Could Choose to Have a D&C or a Natural Miscarriage

Updated on February 15, 2011
T.S. asks from Sioux Falls, SD
26 answers

I just found out on Friday that I no longer have a viable pregnancy. My doctor did an ultrasound, and the baby measured where it should be - about 9 weeks, 2 days, but the doctor could not find a heartbeat. She has given me the option to schedule a D&C this week or wait and miscarry naturally at home (assuming no complications). I had a D&C last spring, because I had a partial molar pregnancy. In that case, I was not given an option, plus, during the ultrasound, the baby was measuring 2 weeks behind where it should have been, so it was an easier choice. So, for those of you that miscarried at home, do you have any advice. I am concerned about the pain and potential complications, plus I am not sure I want to wait until my body recognizes it. My doctor said that could take some time and the farther along you are, the more risk for heavy bleeding, etc.
Just to clarify - I did have my HCG levels checked on Friday when I found out, but since that was my 1st appointment, I do not know if the doctor will be able to confirm based on the levels, or if I will need to have another draw this week so they can compare (that they have not increased). I, too, am concerned about choosing the d&c based only on not finding the heartbeat. My doctor is not in until this afternoon, so I need to wait to get the answer to that.

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the support and advice. I had another ultrasound today because I needed that confirmation before I went ahead with the D&C. The 2nd ultrasound confirmed what the doctor found last week - that there was no heartbeat. I have a D&C scheduled for Thursday.

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answers from Denver on

I am sorry that you are dealing with this. I had the same experience at about 8 weeks. I elected to "wait it out". After almost three weeks of light bleeding and spotting (not much pain) - just like a LONG period, the Dr. said it wasn't over. I don't think they can predict the experience as they are alI different. I wouldnt' think it would be too bad at 9-10 weeks, but again, I never experienced the full miscarriage. I was emotionally tired of "waiting" so elected for the D&C at that point. I don't regret that choice at all. I needed to move on. 2 mos. later, I was pregnant with my first - she's now almost 5! Hang in there and do what is right for you. Take good care.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

So sorry...

I had the exact situation .. heard the heart beat, then a week later no heart beat. Tough. I had a D&C b/c I couldn't go through (mentally) the whole not knowing when it was going to pass, what if it started when I was out somewhere, etc. I preferred to know when it was going to take place and when I could start my grieving/moving forward process.

Good luck w/ whatever decision you make.



answers from Seattle on

I opted to have the miscarriage at home and unfortunately had to have a d&c 3 weeks later. The miscarriage itself wasn't so bad, it wasn't as painful as I thought, but then it was incomplete. I do wish though I didn't have to have the d&c. I am sorry that you have to go through this. My heart goes out to you.

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answers from St. Cloud on

I miscarried naturally (at home) 4 times. At 5 1/2 weeks, 6 1/2 weeks, 11 weeks, and 13 weeks.

YES, it is painful. (The 2 that were further along.) However, once the miscarriage started, I filled the tub with REALLY WARM water and spent my time soaking in there and alternately sitting on the toilet when I knew my body was going to expel something.

HOWEVER, I DON"T REGRET IT AT ALL! I didn't want to have to wonder if the doctor made a mistake. (I had read some stories online about that happening.....) I didn't want to have to worry about scarring. I did NOT have excessive bleeding afterward. I still bled for a few days but not what I would consider "excessive". Just the day of the miscarriage would seem like a lot.

I found out our baby's heart stopped at 9 1/2 weeks (I was then 10 1/2 weeks) and I miscarried at 11 weeks.

I found out at about 10 weeks that our baby's heart stopped beating at 6 weeks. I didn't miscarry that one till about 13 weeks.

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answers from Phoenix on

First, so sorry for your loss.
I've been through both a D&C and 2 natural miscarriages. My D&C I was 11 1/2 weeks, the other two I was 6 weeks and 9 weeks. For my 9 week one it was heavy cramping but not horrid pain. In my experience, the pain of miscarring at home isn't anything worse than the pain of recovering from a D&C.
If I was in your shoes I would set a time limit, something like if I haven't passed it on my own in 10 days, schedule a D&C. The longer it takes for your body to recognize it and pass it on your own is when your risks go up of severe bleeding and emergency D&C (I don't want to scare, but a good friend of mine tried to miscarry at home, ended up with severe bleeding and an emergency D&C and it was pretty rough, so that is why I say give yourself a time limit.)

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answers from Albuquerque on

I'm so sorry. I went through this last year too. I was 11 weeks when the U/S showed no heartbeat, the baby passed at around 8 weeks. I chose to wait and miscarry on my own, I guess I just had faith that my body would know what to do. I think I also just wanted to wait "just in case". About 4 days later it started. I had really heavy cramping and then I could actually feel when it came down, just be prepared to be near a bathroom when you start cramping. I thank god it happened in the middle of the night so that I wasn't trying to run after my girls at the same time. I bled kind of like a heavy period for about a week after that and my hcg levels were down to 01 after that whole week. They usually want to moniter your levels to make sure they go down to zero. I also had an ectopic last year and my doc told me they do that because any leftover hcg can be cancer causing. Take care.

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answers from Houston on

Having miscarried at home twice, with no prior warning, I would probably choose to do the same again. My first was around 8 weeks and my second 11-12 weeks.

The first time it wasn't much more than a really heavy period and very bad cramping. The second time was more like a mini labor. It took about 5 hours to complete and was the worst pain I'd felt up to that point.

There is a lot of blood and pain, but I believe that it is best to let them pass naturally whenever possible. Of course, you should get a follow up whatever you decide.

I am sorry for your potential loss. For me, not being able to find a heartbeat isn't enough. I'd want an HCG level taken to be sure.

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answers from St. Louis on

I chose a natural miscarriage, followed by a D&C. I felt it was a "true" end to my pregnancy.



answers from Minneapolis on

So sorry to hear about your miscarriage. I too had a miscarriage last April. I did not want to wait until my body miscarried on it's own. My dr gave me the option of taking medication to start the process. I choose that option (sorry I do not recall the name of the medication). I had to take 2 doses but it worked for me and did not cause any extreme pain. My dr. did have me come back a week after my 1st ultrasound to double check the size of the embryo before anything was decided. Best of luck to you.



answers from Dallas on

Have them do an US in a day or two just to confirm...if the heartbeat is still gone, I would do a D&C.

I've had both, and IMO there's no need to suffer through a natural (painful).

I'm so sorry for your loss. Prayers are with you.



answers from Minneapolis on

I am sorry for your loss. I had 2 miscarriages before my first child. First one D&C, second one I scheduled D&C but ended up happening naturally. Personally I like the D&C better. For me, I was ready to have a child and letting it pass naturally was such a waiting game. I couldn't start trying again until everything passed in my system and had to have HCG levels checked once a week . There was one clot that the doctor ended up having to remove because it was taking forever. Obviously be sure that it is a miscarriage but I think teh D&C helps you move on and focus on more positive sooner!



answers from Charlotte on




answers from Colorado Springs on

I would wait. First, it is possible that the u/s is wrong. Our bodies are made that they normally naturally take care of these things. A D&C can also cause scarring in the uterus, making it more difficult for you to carry a baby in the future (baby can't implant). I had a miscarriage in November, and it all happened naturally. It was hard emotionally and physically, but not impossible. You cramp (sort of like labor, I suppose), but it all stops when the baby passes. Then, you bleed for several days like a heavy period. I'm so sorry for your loss, if in fact the baby is no longer living. Because the baby measured the right size for your dates, I would definitely not rush to terminate the pregnancy. You just never know, and they are wrong sometimes.


answers from New York on

The ultrasound is quite accurate at detecting a heartbeat, so unfortunately, your diagnosis is likely to be correct. I lost two pregnancies this way, so I can very well imagine what you are going through. After trying to let it happen naturally, in both occasions I had to have a D&C because not everything came out and I was wanting to try to get pregnant again right away. If you decide to choose a D&C, make sure to have it done with an experienced doctor at a hospital. It is a simple procedure and you should be fine. If you go the "natural" route, just keep in mind that it can take some time and not all the contents may be expelled completely which will further delay your ability to get pregnant again.
Please remember that miscarriages of this type are much more common than you might think. Because we are able to detect pregnancy so early, we now can document these cases, when before, some women may have thought it was just a heavy period.
I also want to let you know that I now have a wonderful and healthy 3 year old daughter, so don't get discouraged.



answers from Minneapolis on

I am sorry for your loss. This is a difficult thing to go through, especially having had a previous loss. Several years ago, I went in for an U/S at 8 weeks and was told the baby was gone. My doc actually never even asked me if I wanted a D&C, she just gave me some info, sent me home, and told me to call if I had any questions, problems, or discomfort. I did not want a D&C, I wanted to do it naturally, that was my personal choice. It did take 3 weeks to happen, though, and that time was difficult. I took time off work and felt like I couldnt leave the house, just in case something happened. But, I was grieving, so I was ok being home most of the time. Finally, the day it happened, I started having cramps a few hours ahead of time, and I sent dh and ds (who was 8 at the time) out of the house. I wanted to be alone, wanted privacy, and did not want our dc there. Looking back, I probably should have had someone home with me, in case there was a problem. It took a couple of hours of sitting on the toilet with cramps and blood and clots coming out. I laid in bed until I felt like I had to go back to the bathroom. There was alot of cramping, but it was managable. When I felt like it was done, I called dh to come home, and he did. I had very little, light bleeding for a couple of days after, like a period, but that was it. For me, it pretty much all happened at once. It was much more painful emotionally than physically. I am glad I let it happen naturally, it was the right choice for me. I wish you luck and again, am so so sorry.



answers from Minneapolis on

I'm not sure if you have already done something or not, but I just wanted to give my two cents worth!

My SIL went in for her first doctors appointment. She was extremely regular and knew she was pregnant. The first ultrasound showed nothing and it was suggested that she do a d/c. She refused. A few weeks later, there was a heartbeat!

In my case, I only ever got an ultrasound at 20 weeks. For my second one, I went in at 11 weeks preggo. (I use the Creighton model so I knew I was pregnant and when I got pregnant.) We didn't hear a heartbeat at 11 weeks, I was told to come back in two weeks and low and behold- a heart beat. He came out 10 lbs, 5 1/4 oz and is a very healthy baby boy!

I wish you the best!



answers from Omaha on

At home hands down.

D&C's hurt a heck of alot more than natural plus cost a buttload more. Plus you get to do it and mourn in the privacy of your own home.

But the downside to natural is it last days instead of just a couple. It hurts till the majority of it passes. You'll have cramps in intervals like you are in labor. It will be like you are in labor but it won't hurt nearly as bad. Not even a fraction. Just more severe than a period's and that is just till it passes. Not to mention if you are trying most doctor's will let you try straight away after a miscarriage after a D & C most or some want you to wait 3 months.

But I've had both and I'd go natural in my own home any day to laying on a cold bed with nurses and doctor's around me knowing what has happened and what is about to happen. It was well terrifying.



answers from Chicago on

Firstly let me say, I am so sorry for your loss.

I miscarried at 13 weeks, finding out at a routine Dr appt where no heartbeat was found. The fetus was developed up to that point, so it appeared to have just happened. My Dr recommended a D&C, but I too had many concerns that the ultrasound was wrong. My Dr was very supportive of offering me another ultrasound or Dr to review my situation, which I opted out after many many hours of careful consideration.

I can tell you that emotionally the pain I experienced in the days prior to the D&C was terrible. Fortunately I did get the piece of mind I searched for as I began to naturally miscarry just prior to the D&C. The pain then was terrible, but nothing like what I had experienced emotionally.

No one can tell you what to do in this case, but I will tell you to go with your instincts. If you need assurance, insist to have whatever tests you need to confirm the result. For some miscarrying naturally gives peace while others like myself needed the D&C to move on.

Good luck, and again I am so sorry for your loss.



answers from Minneapolis on

I think it is always better to let your body do its thing (as long as there are no complications such as fever/infection/etc) on its own. Especially if you're early along & they couldn't find a heart beat. At 16 weeks w/my first baby, they couldn't find the heart beat. So they sent me in for a regular ultrasound + trans / vag if needed. During the ultrasound, my son was quiescent for 2 minutes, and then, outta nowhere - 145, 150, 143, holding... a strong, healthy heart beat. I know how it feels to miscarry - I would go w/ your instincts & try to just let this happen naturally if you can. I hope the best for you dear.



answers from Phoenix on

I am so sorry you are faced with a decision such as this! My heart goes out to you and your family.

I have never had a miscarriage so my advice is based solely on feeling not experience. I think I would wait.....the baby was measuring right on target, just didn't hear a heatbeat...maybe something was off or baby was not turned right? I am not sure that not the doctor not hearing a heartbeat once would be enough for me to decide to do a D&C. Is there another test they can do? Check HCG levels? Another ultra sound? IDK I guess I would have a hard time accepting it unless my body naturally took care of it...just MHO



answers from Pittsburgh on

I had 3 miscarriages & two D&C's. The first mis was so early on I didn't even realize I was pregnant & thought it was my period.

With the other two (both at approx 10-11 weeks), as soon as I knew the baby was gone I felt better having the D&C. I just felt I wanted it to be over with as soon as possible. My doctors always just sort of went into D&C mode. Maybe it was my reaction, but I don't remember getting a choice other than when I started getting brown blood late in the week, the nurse said I could "rest and keep my feet up and see what happens" which I didn't see as a suggestion for natural miscarriage.
I'm sorry for your loss.



answers from St. Louis on

I would wait and see what happens before doing a D&C. I would also get your beta HcG checked again, it should be checked often to make sure the levels are dropping (if it is a miscarriage) or rising (if your baby is still growing). Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

I had two early miscarriages, the first I waited for almost 3 months and then finally had a D&C because it didn't clear on its own despite on and off bleeding and my hormones were making me feel weird and have bad acne. The second time, at about 9 weeks, the miscarriage did happen on its own. It wasn't painful, and the bleeding was not very heavy and lasted about two days. I immediately felt fine afterwards.

All experiences are different. Based on my own previous experience, I would wait for awhile to first confirm the loss, and then see how your body responds.


answers from Honolulu on

I'm so sorry for your loss. I've got to agree with the other mommas that ultrasounds at 9 weeks are very accurate and I would not encourage you to hold out hope for this pregnancy. If it would give you peace of mind to have an HcG level checked again (today would be just fine, you can call the office and see if you can just walk in and have them do a blood draw) then do so.

It's really difficult to advise mothers on how to handle a miscarriage. I had one at 9 weeks and it was quite painful on the day it started and I bled more heavily for about a week, but it wasn't something I couldn't manage and my doctor was fine giving me something to help with the discomfort. Fortunately it was complete and I didn't need a D&C. I did not know before hand that the pregnancy was lost, so there was no waiting for me. If I was going to have to wait I can guarantee I would have gone with a D&C just because I wouldn't have been able to wait. That's just me.

I'm so, so sorry you are going through this. My heart goes out to you momma.



answers from Duluth on

first and foremost, i am so sorry that you are experiencing so much loss. i know you must be heartbroken, and ive been there too (i m/c before i got preg with my son whos now 4). im so sorry.

you can wait a week and see. ask the doctor if they are ok with you having weekly appointments to keep an eye on it. its likely that if it is a miscarriage, it should begin soon, and i would think you can still choose a d&c after it begins (my doc said that sometimes it doesnt complete on its own, so a d&c has to happen anyway. i chose the d&c based on the fact that it was almost Christmas, and i live an hour from the clinic.)

so anyway, you've been through one before, you dont have many unknowns. but if you arent sure, i would advise you to wait, but keep in touch with the clinic/doctor, and try frequent appts.

good luck. you will get pregnant, you will have a baby, one way or the other. God bless you.



answers from Minneapolis on

I was scheduled for a D&C, but started to miscarry naturally before the appointment. I went to the ER because it was so incredibly painful. I think I would choose the D&C.

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