Doctor's Responses Archive

Viewer Question:

Please explain to me what is normal to expect after I have had a D&C. My baby did not have a heartbeat after the 7-9th week of pregnancy and I only found out in my 12th week sonogram. My body did not warn me of a problem with perhaps cramps, heavy bleeding or any kind of nausea. Yet I continued to gain weight, experience very sore breasts and fatigue. What should I expect hormonally and emotionally in the next few weeks since I am no longer with child?

Doctor's Answer:

There are certainly many emotional and physical consequences of losing a fetus. It is always difficult to tell apart which symptoms are aggravated by the emotional distress a woman experiences after undergoing a D&C for pregnancy loss. Certainly a woman can get tired from blood loss that is due to the procedure. Sore breasts, fatigue and weight gain are all characteristics of hormonal changes that occur as a result of pregnancy. Therefore if all the pregnancy-related tissue was successfully removed (this is usually confirmed with blood tests), then all symptoms related to the pregnancy should gradually resolve. The resolution is gradual because the hormone levels take a while to come back down to normal. The period of time required for resolution may vary from woman to woman.

I hope you feel better soon. If you do not, you should discuss your symptoms with your physician and see what further evaluation would be necessary.

Thank you for your question.

Carolyn Janet Crandall, M.D.

Medical Editor: William Shiel, MD, FACP, FACR
Last Editorial Review: 4/23/2002

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