Dr Suman Bijlani, Gynaecologist, Sonologist, Infertility Specialist, Obstetrician and Laparoscopic Surgeon, Mumbai.

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Surgical Abortion (D&C)


If you have an unwanted pregnancy, you can opt for the abortion pill or you may go for a surgical procedure (D&C) in a legalised abortion clinic.

Q. I am 6 week pregnant. Should I choose the abortion pill or is it better to undergo D&C?

The abortion pill has a success rate of about 95% for up to 7 week pregnancy (49 days from the date of the last menstrual period).

D&C with an experienced gynaecologist is a safe and reliable procedure. You can go back home in about 4 hours (day care procedure). There is no waiting or anxiety about whether the abortion is successful or not. You feel no pain (the procedure is performed under anaesthesia) although there may be mild pelvic discomfort or heaviness for a few days.

Q. Up to how many weeks can I undergo D&C?

You may undergo D&C up to 12 weeks of pregnancy (from date of last menstrual period). Up to 9 weeks, you may take the abortion pill (although they work best up to 7 weeks). After 9 weeks, D&C is your only option for termination of a pregnancy.

Q. How do I prepare myself for a D&C?

You have to be on an empty stomach (no fluids or food) for 6 hours before the D&C.

Please carry all your blood and test reports as well as your doctor’s notes with you on the day of the procedure.

Make sure you have an adult companion along with you.

Inform your gynaecologist about any allergies or medical condition that you may have.

If you are on thyroid, BP, TB or diabetes medicine, please ask your doctor if you need to take a dose on the morning of surgery.D & C

Q. How long would I bleed after the D&C?

Most women would expect something like a normal menstrual period for up to a week. However, the amount of bleeding varies from woman to woman. Some may not bleed at all or bleed very little. If you bleed heavily or for more than 7 days, you should contact your gynaecologist.

Q. What do I expect after a D&C?

On the same day –

You should be on your feet on the same day. If you are very nauseated or giddy, due to anaesthesia (rare), your gynaecologist may give you IV fluids. You can take light meals about 4-6 hours after D&C. You can take a bath and resume your normal activities. However, you should avoid travel and exertion. Try and take as much rest as you can.

The following week –

You may feel weak and may experience some lower abdominal discomfort or heaviness for the next few days. You may bleed for up to a week. You may choose to take rest from work for a week or two to recover your physical and emotional self. You can resume your normal chores. Avoid intercourse till you stop bleeding completely or up to a week, whichever comes later.

Q. What are the warning signs after D&C for which I should see my gynaecologist?

  • Severe tummy pain, vomiting or bloating of the stomach within 48 hours after the procedure
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Persistent giddiness or nausea the next day
  • Prolonged bleeding (more than 7 days)
  • Persistent lower abdominal pain
  • Foul smelling vaginal discharge
  • Fever within 3 days of the procedure
  • Missed period (no period for a month after D&C)

Q. What complications can occur from a D&C?

Complications from a surgical abortion are very rare in good hands. However, the possible complications are:

  • Injury to the uterus or internal organs like the intestines
  • Haemorrhage (heavy bleeding)
  • Incomplete abortion (some bits left inside the uterus)
  • Infection
  • Delayed resumption of periods
  • Adhesions in the uterus (leading to light & painful periods and difficult in conception)

Q. When can I expect my next period?

Most women can expect a normal period about a month after the D&C or after stopping the pack of birth control pills. However, this may vary from woman to woman. If you have missed your period or got your period too soon, do see your gynaecologist.

Q. When can I resume my sex life?

You need to abstain for about 7 days after the D&C or after you stop bleeding completely, whichever comes later.

Q. Can I use birth control pill immediately after D&C or do I wait for the next menstrual period?

Yes, you should start a new pack of birth control pills in the same cycle, within 3-5 days after the D&C.

Q. Can I have an IUD inserted at the time of D&C?

Yes, that is a good idea. Speak to your gynaecologist about it. You can have the insertion pain-free under anaesthesia at the same sitting!

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