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Vacuum Aspiration for Miscarriage: Care Instructions


Vacuum aspiration uses gentle suction to empty the uterus after a miscarriage. Many miscarriages pass on their own, but some don't. With an incomplete miscarriage, some of the pregnancy tissue stays in the uterus. With a missed miscarriage, all of the tissue stays in the uterus.

You may have manual or electric vacuum aspiration. With manual vacuum, the doctor uses a specially designed syringe to apply suction. With electric vacuum, a thin tube is attached to a pump that provides suction.

After the procedure, you may have bleeding and spotting. These symptoms usually don't last more than a few days. You also may have cramps that feel like menstrual cramps. Cramping may last up to a few weeks.

It's common to have many different emotions after a miscarriage. It's also common to want to know why a miscarriage has happened. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can make emotions stronger than usual. These feelings can last awhile.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Rest as much as you can. Getting enough rest will help you recover.
  • Ask your doctor when you can return to normal activities and strenuous exercise. Most people can return to normal activities 1 to 2 days after the procedure.
  • Be safe with medicines. Take medicines exactly as directed
  • Use sanitary pads until you stop bleeding. Using pads makes it easier to monitor your bleeding.
  • Do not rinse inside your vagina with fluid (douche). This could increase your risk of infections that can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • Ask your doctor when it is okay to have vaginal sex. You can get pregnant in the weeks after a vacuum aspiration. If you don't want to get pregnant, talk to your doctor about birth control options.
  • If you need help coping with your feelings, consider meeting with a support group. You also may want to read about the experiences of others or talk to a friend, family member, or counsellor. If you feel sad, depressed, or anxious for longer than a couple of weeks, talk to your doctor or a counsellor.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have severe vaginal bleeding along with light-headedness or nausea.
  • You have chest pain, are short of breath, or cough up blood.

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have pain that does not get better after you take pain medicine.
  • You cannot pass stools or gas.
  • You have bright red vaginal bleeding that soaks through a pad in an hour, or you have large clots.
  • You are sick to your stomach or cannot drink fluids.
  • You have symptoms of a blood clot in your leg (called a deep vein thrombosis), such as:
    • Pain in your calf, back of the knee, thigh, or groin.
    • Redness and swelling in your leg or groin.
  • You have signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain.
    • A fever.
  • You have vaginal discharge that has increased in amount or smells bad.
  • You still feel pregnant or have pregnancy symptoms.

Watch closely for any changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.