Infection is one such possibility when performing a D and C. There are bacteria in the vagina, and they could travel up into the uterus and cause an infection. To minimize this possibility, in our medical clinic we give antibiotics before the procedure as well as afterwards. Also, we use sterile instruments and cleanse inside the vagina with a powerful antiseptic called betadine solution. To minimize infection risk, it is recommended that nothing get inserted in the vagina afterwards for 4 weeks. This means no sexual activity and no tampons.
Bleeding excessively is another risk of pregnancy interrruption. A cenception has a large demand for blood to sustain itself, and naturally the pregnant uterus has a high amount of blood flowing to it. There will be some bleeding during and after the process, and this is expected. However, sometimes the bleeding is higher than average, and if it is too much that constitutes a hemorrhage. In our medical facility, we usually inject the uterus with medications that help the blood vessels go into spasm in order to lower blood loss. We also have medications to give in case of excessive bleeding. Regardless, heavy bleeding could occur despite medications.
During the dilation of the cervix, as well as during the curettage, there is also the risk of perforating the uterus. A perforation means causing a hole in the uterus. A perforation that occurs during the D and C usually heals on its own. At other times, however, it can lead to heavy bleeding, or allow the surgical instrument to come into contact with other internal organs and cause them to be damaged. Injuries to other internal organs like the intestines or bladder would need to be repaired by having extensive abdominal surgery.
Any of the above complications can be significant enough to require hospitalization and further surgeries. They can also be severe enough to cause death.
Even though a D and C has such risks, the good news is that the likelihood of them happening is extremely low. They happen on the order of less than 1% of the time. In the hands of an experienced doctor (such as in our family planning clinic) it happens even more rarely than that.
Of course the alternative to an interruption is to continue the pregnancy. Many people only mention the risks without mentioning the risks of the alternative, which is continuation and childbirth. Unfortunately, childbirth also carries the chance of bad things happening. There is the chance of infection, bleeding, pulmonary embolism, eclamptic seizures and stroke as well as some others. In fact, the possibility and severity of childbirth related risks are higher than those of a termination.
All of these pros and cons must be weighed accordingly in order to make an informed decision. Please remember that what we mention here is only meant to provide information on risks for general knowledge. It is not meant as a substitute for face to face contact and individual advice that can only be offered by consulting with an abortion provider. If you need more information on such facts, please call us to schedule a consultation.
Learn more about abortion history here.