Dilation and evacuation for second-trimester genetic pregnancy termination

Obstet Gynecol. 1990 Jun;75(6):1037-40.


Dilation and evacuation (D&E) is the most common procedure for second-trimester pregnancy termination currently used by United States obstetrician-gynecologists. Although this method carries morbidity and mortality rates significantly lower than methods requiring labor induction, the procedure most commonly used for second-trimester genetic terminations seems to be labor induction (eg, vaginal prostaglandin suppositories). Many geneticists appear reluctant to recommend D&E over induction methods of pregnancy termination because they perceive that fetal abnormalities cannot be consistently confirmed by evaluation of the products of conception obtained by D&E. We report here 60 consecutive patients who underwent D&E (14-22 weeks' gestation) after detection of fetal abnormalities. The prenatal diagnoses were confirmed in all cases. Our experience thus indicates that D&E is reliable in confirming most prenatal diagnoses and should be the procedure of choice when second-trimester pregnancy termination is chosen because of fetal abnormalities.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Eugenic / methods*
  • Abortion, Induced / methods*
  • Congenital Abnormalities / diagnosis
  • Dilatation / methods
  • Extraction, Obstetrical / methods
  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Second