Dilation & Evacuation

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What is a dilation and evacuation?

Dilation and evacuation (D&E) is one of the methods used when a woman is having a miscarriage. A D&E is done to completely remove all of the tissue in the uterus after confirmation of no fetal heart tones or severe fetal abnormalities in the second trimester of pregnancy.

What are the risks associated with this procedure?

As with any procedure, there are risks. Be sure to discuss these risks with your physician prior to the procedure. Making a hole in my uterus that could cause serious bleeding, which could require hysterectomy.

  • You may have difficulty emptying my bladder.
  • D & E may not correct your condition.
  • You may develop infection in the uterus or the pelvis.

What happens after the procedure?

Antibiotics are given to prevent infection. Rest quietly that day. You can do normal activities the following day, based on how you feel. Acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen (such as Advil) can help relieve cramping pain. Medicines may be given to help the uterus contract and return to its pre-pregnancy size. Do not have sexual intercourse for at least 1 week, or longer, as advised by your health professional.

You may experience irregular bleeding or spotting for the first 2 weeks. During the first week, avoid tampons and use only sanitary pads. Cramps similar to menstrual cramps, which may last from several hours to a few days, as the uterus shrinks back to its nonpregnant size.

When should I call Greenville OB/GYN?

Call our emergency number at any time if:

  • Severe bleeding. Procedures like this usually cause bleeding that is different from a normal menstrual period. Severe bleeding can mean:
  • Passing clots that are bigger than a golf ball, lasting 2 or more hours.
  • Soaking more than 2 large sanitary pads in an hour, for 2 hours in a row.
  • Bleeding heavily for 12 hours in a row.
  • Signs of infection in your whole body, such as headache, muscle aches, dizziness, or a general feeling of illness. Severe infection is possible without fever.
  • Severe pain in the abdomen that is not relieved by pain medicine, rest, or heat.
  • Hot flushes or a fever of 100.4 F or higher that lasts longer than 4 hours.
  • Vomiting lasting more than 4 to 6 hours.
  • Sudden abdominal swelling or rapid heart rate.
  • Vaginal discharge that has increased in amount or smells bad.
  • Pain, swelling, or redness in the genital area.

Call during regular office hours if:

  • You have questions about the procedure or its results.
  • You want to make another appointment.

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