The D&C or a Natural Miscarriage?

If you've lost a baby early in the pregnancy, you may be given a choice. You can either have a D&C or you can wait for a period to see if the baby expels itself. When you've just been given the surprising news that your pregnancy is over, it's often very difficult to make this decision. Here, we try to offer a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of both choices.

Advantages of Waiting

Some women feel that they'd rather wait for a period of time before opting for a D&C. While waiting, you can feel certain that there was no mistake. If the baby comes out naturally, then you'll know that nature ran its course and that there was nothing you could have done differently to prevent the miscarriage. You'll be in the comfort of your own home when the miscarriage happens, and you won't have to undergo a medical procedure.

Disadvantages of Waiting

The problem with waiting to have a miscarriage naturally is that it may not happen. You might end up having a partial miscarriage, and then have to undergo a D&C anyway. It may also be distressing for you to walk around for the next few days, knowing that you have a baby inside that is no longer living. You may also become frightened, should you miscarry at home. The natural miscarriage may be painful and may take awhile to occur.

Advantages to the D&C

If you decide to have a D&C right away, after learning that your pregnancy is no longer viable, then you are able to get back on track sooner. The physical part of your sad situation will be over quickly, and you can start to deal with your emotions and with your future. This procedure may also be less painful than waiting to have a miscarriage naturally.

Disadvantages of the D&C

Anytime that you go into a surgery, there are risks. The D&C can damage the cervix during dilation and may puncture or perforate the uterus during the procedure. These risks are small, but they are possible. You will also need to go to the hospital or the doctor's office to have the procedure done. You'll be under anesthesia for awhile, and will need someone to bring you home. Afterwards, you'll need a few days to recover and may be quite sore.

The decision to have a D&C is not always yours to make. Sometimes, however, you are given the opportunity to decide whether to wait for a natural miscarriage or to have a D&C. It's important to weigh all of your options and to make the best decision for yourself. Speak to friends who have had both experiences to get other opinions and talk to your doctor at length.  No matter what decision you make, give yourself time to recover afterwards.  Hopefully, this experience will soon be behind you and you will be able to look forward to a healthy pregnancy in the future.

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