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Discharge Instructions for a Dilation and Curettage

A dilation and curettage (D&C) was done to manage a health problem. You should feel better in a few days. Medicine will ease discomfort.

Steps to Take

Home Care

Light bleeding and cramping are normal. This can last from a few days to 2 weeks. Use sanitary pads as needed. Do not use tampons or douche until your doctor says it is okay. This will help lower the risk of infection.

Your period may happen earlier or later than normal. The lining of the uterus has to rebuild.

Physical Activity

You can return to normal activity in a few days. Avoid heavy lifting or strenuous activities during this time. In general:

  • Do not have sex until your doctor says you can. You may need to use birth control until your doctor says it is safe to get pregnant.
  • Wait for your doctor to say it is safe before you go back to work.
  • Do not drive until your doctor says it is okay.

Medications

If you stopped taking medicine before the procedure, your doctor will tell you when to start them again.

Medicine can help ease discomfort. Some pain relievers, such as aspirin, increase the risk of bleeding. Your doctor will let you know which ones you can use safely.

When taking any medicine:

  • Take medicine as directed. Do not change the amount or the schedule.
  • Be aware of the side effects of your medicine. Tell your doctor if you have any.
  • Medicine can be dangerous when mixed. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking more than 1 medicine. This includes over the counter products and supplements.

Follow-up

Your doctor may want to check on your progress. It is important to go to any recommended appointments.

A miscarriage can cause a range of emotions. Therapy or a support group may help you and your partner work through your feelings.

Call Your Doctor If Any of the Following Occur

Call your doctor if you are not getting better as expected or have problems such as:

  • Signs of infection such as fever, chills, increasing pain, or foul-smelling discharge from the vagina
  • Heavy bleeding from the vagina—soaking more than 1 pad an hour
  • Ongoing nausea or vomiting
  • Breathing problems
  • Lightheadedness or fainting

If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.

RESOURCES:

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
https://www.familydoctor.org

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
https://www.acog.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
https://www.sogc.org

Women's Health Matters—Women's College Hospital
https://www.womenshealthmatters.ca

REFERENCES:

D&C procedure after a miscarriage. American Pregnancy Association website. Available at: https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/d-and-c-procedure-after-miscarriage. Updated July 19, 2017. Accessed July 1, 2019.

Dilation and curettage. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: https://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq062.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20120813T1113192776. Updated March 2019. Accessed July 1, 2019.

Dilation and curettage (D and C). Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/dilation-and-curettage-d-and-c. Accessed July 1, 2019.

First trimester pregnancy loss. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/first-trimester-pregnancy-loss. Updated June 10, 2019. Accessed July 1, 2019.

Last reviewed May 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mary-Beth Seymour, RN  Last Updated: 11/22/2019