D&C: Dilation & Curettage Abortion Procedure (Within 12-15 Weeks)

  • Dilation and curettage is similar to suction aspiration, except that it uses a curette (a long, looped shaped knife) to scrape the lining, placenta and fetus away from the uterus.
  • A cannula completes final suctioning.
  • This procedure usually lasts 10 minutes with a possible stay of 5 hours.

D&E: Dilation & Evacuation Abortion Procedure (Within 15-21 Weeks)

  • In most cases, 24 hours prior to the actual procedure, the abortion provider will insert laminaria or a synthetic dilator inside the patient’s cervix.
  • Cone-shaped rods of increasing size continue the dilation process.
  • Next, the  cannula begins removing tissue away from the lining. Then a curette scrapes any residual material from the lining.
  • Finally, forceps remove larger parts, if needed.
  • The procedure normally takes about 30 minutes. It is usually performed in a hospital or an abortion clinic with trained providers because of the greater risk for complications.

Risks and Side Effects

  • Nausea, bleeding and cramping may occur for two weeks following the procedure.
  • Infection due to retained products of conception or infection caused by an STI or bacteria being introduced to the uterus can cause fever, pain, abdominal tenderness and possibly scarring.
  • Although rare, the following are additional risks related to dilation and evacuation:
    • Damage to uterine lining or cervix
    • Perforation of the uterus
    • Infection
    • Blood clots

Fetal Development:  Week 14-16

  • Fingerprints have developed
  • Baby begins sucking, which may be visible on ultrasound
  • Baby responds to outside stimuli
  • Patient can feel baby start to move, which seems like fluttering in the stomach

Fetal Development:  Week 17-20

  • Nails growing on fingers and toes
  • Eyebrows and eyelashes grow in
  • Patient feels baby’s movements more strongly

How far along you are in your pregnancy determines which type of abortion procedure you may have. An ultrasound can provide you with a confirmation of a viable pregnancy, as well as tell you how far along you are. To schedule an ultrasound, click here.

Options for Women Pregnancy Help Clinic does not perform or refer for abortions. 

Fetal Development citation: http://mayoclinic.com/health/fetal-development/PR00114