Hesperian Health Guides
Chapter 23: Manual vacuum aspiration (MVA)
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Manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) is a fast and safe way to empty the womb using a large syringe and cannula. It can be used:
- to help a woman who has had a miscarriage or abortion that was not complete.
- to regulate monthly bleeding.
- to end an unwanted pregnancy.
Using MVA to empty the womb is done the same way in each case.
In this book we explain how to use MVA to help women who have had incomplete abortions or miscarriages — when a pregnancy ends early but some tissue is left in the womb. Chapter 22 explains other ways to help a woman after an abortion or miscarriage. MVA is only part of the care that she needs.
MVA is safer, simpler, and less expensive than other methods used to empty the womb. While other methods are usually only done by doctors in medical centers, MVA can be done by midwives, nurses, or anyone who has been trained, who has the right tools, and who can sterilize those tools. If midwives and others learn to use MVA safely, more women, especially poor women and women who live in villages far from medical care, will have access to safe abortions and to life-saving care after incomplete miscarriage and abortion.