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Surgical miscarriage management

Vacuum aspiration awake

You should plan to be at the clinic for 3 hours.

Vacuum aspiration uses gentle suction to remove the pregnancy and takes about 5-10 minutes. You will need to rest for about 30-45 minutes before going home. This treatment can be done up to 12-14 weeks of pregnancy and you will be awake. When you arrive, a healthcare professional will talk with you and answer your questions. You will take pain relief tablets if you have not had any before coming to the clinic.

You will be shown into a treatment area and asked to lie on a treatment couch which supports your legs. A healthcare professional will stay with you to provide comfort and support. The doctor will examine your uterus (womb) and a speculum is inserted into your vagina. The doctor will then inject a numbing medication (local anaesthetic) into or near your cervix (neck of the womb).

The opening of your cervix may be stretched with thin rods called dilators. A tube is then inserted through the cervix into the uterus. Either a hand-held suction device or a suction machine gently empties your uterus.

You will feel cramping, similar to period pains, during the procedure. For some women the procedure can feel uncomfortable. Gas and Air will be available to you as needed for extra pain relief.

With your permission we will place some antibiotics in your bottom and you will be given some to take home.  If you prefer you can take the antibiotics orally. 

If your blood group is Rhesus-negative you will also have an Anti-D injection directly after the procedure.

Vacuum aspiration asleep

You should plan to be at the clinic for the whole day.

Vacuum aspiration uses gentle suction to remove the pregnancy and takes about 5-10 minutes. This can be done up to 12-14 weeks of pregnancy and you will be asleep or sedated.

When you arrive, a healthcare professional will talk with you and answer your questions. You will change into a gown and be asked to lie down on a trolley. Your anaesthetist will meet you, answer your questions and take you into theatre.

A small cannula (a fine plastic tube) is placed in a vein, normally on your hand. Medication is given through the cannula to put you to sleep (general anaesthetic) or make you drowsy (conscious sedation).

Once asleep or sedated, your legs are placed in supports. The doctor examines your uterus (womb) and a speculum is inserted into your vagina. The opening of your cervix (neck of womb) may be stretched with thin rods called dilators. A tube is then inserted through the cervix into the uterus.  Either a hand-held suction device or a suction machine gently empties your uterus.

You will not feel any pain during the procedure.  You will wake up in the recovery area to be observed for about 1-2 hours before going home.

With your permission we will place some antibiotics into your bottom and you will be given some to take home. If your blood group is Rhesus-negative you will have an Anti-D injection directly after the procedure.

After a general anaesthetic or conscious sedation, you should not drive for 24 hours. Read more about general anaesthetic.

Dilatation and evacuation

You should plan to be at the clinic for the whole day.

Instruments and suction are used to remove the pregnancy. It is usually performed between 15 and 24 weeks of pregnancy. In addition to the procedure described below you will need cervical preparation on the day of surgery, or the day before. Read about cervical preparation here.

When you arrive, a healthcare professional will talk with you and answer your questions. You will change into a gown and be asked to lie down on a trolley. Your anaesthetist will meet you, answer your questions and take you into theatre.

A small cannula (a fine plastic tube) is placed in a vein, normally on your hand. Medication is given through the cannula to put you to sleep (general anaesthetic).

Once asleep, your legs are placed in supports and the doctor examines your uterus (womb). A speculum is inserted into your vagina. The opening of your cervix (neck of womb) may be stretched with thin rods called dilators. The pregnancy is removed using narrow forceps passed through the neck of the womb. A tube is inserted through the cervix and a suction machine is used to gently complete the evacuation.  

You will not feel any pain during the procedure, which takes about 10-20 minutes. You will wake up in the recovery area to be observed for about 1-2 hours before going home.

We will give you antibiotics to prevent infection. If your blood group is Rhesus-negative you will have an Anti-D injection directly after the procedure.

Do not drive for 24 hours after a general anaesthetic.  Read more about general anaesthetic here.

If you choose surgical management you will not need a follow-up appointment. You will be told what is expected as you recover and how to contact us if you have any problems.

Read about miscarriage recovery here.