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What is dilation & curettage (a D&C) / ERPOC

A D&C and Evacuation of Retained Products of Conception is a common surgical procedure that may be necessary after a miscarriage or sometimes after birth

Posted: 2 October 2010
by Maria Muennich

What is a D&C?

Dilation and curettage (D&C) is a minor surgical procedure to remove excess tissues from the womb. It involves scraping the lining of the uterus and is also know as Evacuation of Residual Products of Conception (ERPOC).

You are most likely to have a D&C as a day-patient as it is considered a safe and routine procedure. Usually used to diagnose problems, in this context, it is performed to clear out pregnancy tissues from the womb that the body has not completely removed for itself.

Why might I have a D&C?

If you have an ultrasound that shows there are tissues remaining from our pregnancy, you will be recommended a D&C. This can be after birth or after a miscarriage.

• An incomplete miscarriage happens when you suffer a miscarriage but your womb doesn’t expel all of the pregnancy tissues. This can cause further bleeding and be uncomfortable or even painful.
• If you have given birth but have been found to have tissues retained in your womb, you may have a D&C to clear any residual traces of placenta. This will help prevent abnormal postnatal bleeding and infection.

When not connected to pregnancy, a gynecological D&C is often used to investigate the causes of very heavy or irregular periods, or post-menopausal vaginal bleeding.

If you are booked in for a D&C, read up on what to expect, how you can prepare and the risks involved in our guide to D&C. You can also learn more about the recovery process.

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Discuss this story

hi ya to anyone who reads these comments  

 I suffered a second trimester missed misscarriage in late oct 2007.   for any one who does'nt know what that is!! it is when the baby dies and you dont know it because there are no signs except that you gradually loose the pregnancy feelings like the breast swellings and morning sickness... I had no bleeding just a tiny bit of spotting and was told by my GP it was probably nothing to worry about and to wait for my scan. That was when I was told the baby had no heart beat and after a discusion and a second scan a week later they said i could wait and see if i would miscarry naturally or i could have the D&C straight away...i waited another five weeks and nothing happened so i had to have the opp anyway. ive just had my third cycle since and im still hoping for another chance but its a slim one cause of my age...any support or comment welcome please!!! thinking on you guys who have the same problems

Posted: 05/02/2008 at 11:52

oh , dear ,

do not be abset , do not be sad , i know how do you feel , you need to think positively.

and try to enjoiy and do do your best

good luck

Posted: 05/02/2008 at 15:49

Hi Katherine. I had a missed m/c back in july 2000. I also waited for another scan a week later but there was no HB. And like you i also decided to have the D&C. I was 11 weeks pregnant when the baby died. Although it was unplanned, i was devestated. I did however fall pregnant again in December 2000 (although on the pill) and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl in september 01. I then had another baby girl in August 05 and had my 3rd 9 weeks ago. Everytime i fell pregnant, i dreaded the 12 week scan as i couldnt help thinking it was going to happen agai but it never did. All i can say is if you want another try then go for it hun, it is very possible to fall pregnant again soon after.I hope it works oout for you, good luck x

Posted: 05/02/2008 at 16:10

Hi Emma,

i'm glad someone read what i said, i was a bit scared to write at first...thought it might sound absurd that i should be so upset even now five months later. My problem is that ive had other children all of which have been ok; in a previous relationship that all went wrong, finally just when i thought no man could be trusted i met someone ,fell pregnant on the pill totally unplanned at 40yrs old...i knew he would'nt turn his back on me even though we had only been together 5/6months but he thinks it probably went wrong because of my age and is not keen to try again, i would love to have had that baby for him as well as me but it was'nt to be and i know there are so many others out there with similar problems...i just wonder if there is anything to improve my chances without going to the dr only to be told its my age or something like that...many thanks hun hope your really happy with your new baby

Posted: 05/02/2008 at 21:43

hi all,

Hi Katherine, You can't say for sure that it was your age. The hosp I was at say they have at least two women who come in for the d&c everyday. I had mc at 25 so anyone can have one. There are lots of things you can do. I took pregnacare before I conceived my daughter and it made my feel reassured that she was getting the vitamins she needed,etc. Tried to eat more oily fish and took omega tablets also from the pregnacare range in the third trimester. You may not be thinking or trying again or wish to wait a little longer but just to let you know incase you are interested the most ferrtile period for women is around two weeks after first day of your period so there are just two to three days for conception to really take place each month. 

My hubbie and I were just letting nature take it's course and then I was preg in June and mc in Aug/Sept. Then I was sort of really wanting a baby like never before. I was worried that I couldn't carry a baby & feelings like this were going on. If you need any advice just ask.

Thank you for your story Emma. Very uplifting to read. I also lost at 11 weeks. I'm waiting a few years before no2 as I want my daughter to be past the terrible two's stage! Also want to enjoy watching her growing up a bit. Are you having anymore or is 3 enough.sx 

Posted: 06/02/2008 at 14:44

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