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From time to time, a transferred embryo will implant but fail to lead to a viable pregnancy. Generally, only 10-20% of pregnancies confirmed by either blood test or ultrasound are statistically likely to end in miscarriage. This is likely a very emotional time for both you and your intended parents, but you will need to make the decision on how you will clear your uterus of the placenta and tissue formed during early pregnancy.

In most cases of an early miscarriage or blighted ovum, you will be presented with a few options. The most common options include either a natural miscarriage or a medical dilation and curettage (D&C) procedure. Weighing the benefits of a D&C vs a natural miscarriage is important. Here’s a look at how they differ.


Choosing a natural miscarriage will allow your body to dispel the tissue on its own and without medical intervention. This process will begin naturally, usually within a week of stopping your medications. A natural miscarriage is completed at home and generally includes period-like cramping, some of which may be severe, and bleeding. 

Once you pass the tissue, you will see a doctor to monitor your hormone levels as they naturally lower to a non-pregnancy level. The doctor will also monitor your bleeding levels to ensure that your body dispelled all of the internal tissue appropriately. In the instance that this does not happen or you experience excessive bleeding, you may need to undergo a D&C procedure to complete the clearing of the uterus. Many women choose this natural method as a way to have closure of the end of an intended pregnancy.


Occasionally, depending on how many weeks into the pregnancy you were when the fetus stopped growing, you will not have the option of a natural miscarriage. If you choose to have a D&C procedure or it is medically recommended, you will generally be scheduled very quickly after stopping your medications. The procedure is done by a medical professional either in their office, or in some cases, in the outpatient surgery center of your local hospital. While the procedure is medically coded as minor surgery, it is very common and routine for most OB-GYNs. Patients are usually put under general anesthesia so that they will comfortably sleep through the procedure.


The procedure consists of your doctor using a device to dilate your cervical opening, and then using a sharp instrument, such as a scalpel, or suction to clean out the tissue inside your uterus. The entire process takes under a half-hour, and you will be discharged roughly 2 hours following the procedure. 


Typical recovery can include light cramping and bleeding, and you’ll generally follow up with your doctor 2 weeks after the procedure. Learn what to expect with your first menstrual cycle after a D&C procedure in our related blog post.


You should note that this procedure does carry potential risks, including scarring of the uterus that may make future pregnancies more difficult. Even so, many women elect to complete a D&C to provide quicker closure and swifter recovery. You will be compensated if you choose to have this invasive procedure.

Choosing the best method for you involves many variables. While this is a personal choice, your case specialist, medical nurse, and physician are always ready and willing to help you sort through the decision-making process. Feel free to contact Growing Generations.

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