Dilation and Suction Curettage

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Dilation and Suction Curettage is the most common method of abortion in New Zealand[1]. This method is used to kill an unborn child between 5-6 and 15 weeks since the last normal menstrual period.

The Procedure

The abortionist first checks the size of the unborn child and its position in the womb with an internal examination. The abortionist uses a local anaesthetic to numb the mother's cervix.

Metal dilators are used to stretch the cervix to a diameter of over 1cm. This can be painful, similar to menstrual cramps. Misoprostol or Mifepristone is taken before the abortion to soften the cervix and makes the dilatation easier.

A small plastic tube, the cannula, is inserted through the vagina and the now dilated cervix into the uterus. This tube is attached to a suction pump which is used to vacuum up everything in the uterus, including the unborn child. This physically rips the child apart, if it is not small enough to be vacuumed up whole. If the child is too large to be dismembered with suction a pair of forceps will be used to remove limbs and shred the body, allowing the vacuum to suck the smaller pieces up.

Potential Complications

External Links


  1. Surgical Abortions in NZ, Dilation and Suction Curettage (accessed 9 May 2010)