What is Dilation and Curettage (D&C)?

Dilation and Curettage (D&C) is an outdated method of surgical abortion that has largely been replaced by vacuum methods of abortion.

During a D&C, the cervix is dilated and then sharp curettes are used to scrape the walls of the uterus to remove the pregnancy. There is increased risk of complications, as well as pain, when a D&C is performed in comparison to a vacuum aspiration. For this reason, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that D&C should be replaced by vacuum aspiration abortions, or medical (pill) abortions, whenever possible.

Even though it is not recommended, it is still practiced in some locations. If your health-care provider mentions this method, we advise you to discuss alternatives [1].

[1] “Safe abortion: technical and policy guidance for health systems.” World Health Organization, second edition, 2012, www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/unsafe_abortion/9789241548434/en/. Accesed November 2020.


*Nothing provided herein should be construed as professional medical advice and no medication / pills should be used without a prescription from a licensed / registered medical practitioner eligible to prescribe such medication in your local jurisdiction.