Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) for Abortion
What To Expect After Surgery
Dilation and evacuation (D&E) is a surgical procedure. A normal recovery includes:
- Irregular bleeding or spotting for the first 2 weeks. During the first week, avoid tampons and use only 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.
- Reference Emotional reactions for 2 to 3 weeks.
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 prepregnancy size.
- Do not have sexual intercourse for at least 1 week, or longer, as advised by your doctor.
- When you start having intercourse again, use birth control. And use condoms to prevent infection. For more information, see the topic Reference Birth Control.
Signs of complications
Call your doctor immediately if you have any of these symptoms after an abortion:
- Severe bleeding. Both medical and surgical
abortions 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 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 belly that is not relieved by pain medicine, rest, or heat
- Hot flushes or a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher that lasts longer than 4 hours
- Vomiting lasting more than 4 to 6 hours
- Sudden abdominal (belly) swelling or rapid heart rate
- Vaginal discharge that has increased in amount or smells bad
- Pain, swelling, or redness in the genital area
Call your doctor for an appointment if you have had any of these symptoms after a recent abortion:
- Bleeding (not spotting) for longer than 2 weeks
- New, unexplained symptoms that may be caused by medicines used in your treatment
- No menstrual period within 6 weeks after the procedure
- Signs and symptoms of Reference depression Opens New Window. Hormonal changes after a pregnancy can cause depression that requires treatment.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: August 31, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Rebecca H. Allen, MD, MPH - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Reference Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology