One of the most commonly asked questions after having a tubal ligation is: what are my chances of becoming pregnant again?
Most women who do this procedure have already decided that their family is now complete and they need or want no more children. For some women, months and even years after a tubal ligation, they find themselves asking the question, “Is what I’m experiencing, pregnancy symptoms? Or am I just being paranoid?”
Before the procedure is done your physician usually briefs you on your chances of becoming pregnant afterwards, what to look out for and methods you can use to further lower your chances of becoming pregnant. Why?
Because there is still a chance of becoming pregnant after tubal ligation.
What Is A Tubal Ligation?
A tubal ligation is a sterilization procedure for women that involves cauterising, cutting, clamping or removing a small portion of the fallopian tubes.
The objective of this procedure is to prevent eggs from moving from the ovaries to the uterus, but they are still produced monthly.
It is one of the most popular forms of birth control due largely to its effectiveness. The estimated chances of becoming pregnant after a tubal ligation varies largely by age. Women under age 28 have a 5% chance while women between ages 28 and 33 have a 2% chance and those older than age 34 have only a 1% chance of becoming pregnant after the procedure.
This procedure is usually done as an outpatient surgery and is minimally invasive. Your physician will make small incisions in your abdomen and special instruments are used to sever the fallopian tubes.
The ligation is usually carried out after childbirth for women who’ve had children. For vaginal deliveries, the procedure is very much the same as that for an outpatient. For Caesarean section deliveries, your physician will perform the ligation through the Caesarean incision.
In this situation, pregnancy can only occur if the fallopian tubes grow back together after the procedure.
The chances of this happening increase with time. It is important to speak with your physician about your growing concerns, so that he/she can carry out tests to ensure that your tubes have not regrown.
What Are the Risks of Tubal Ligation?
Women opt to have a ligation for a number of reasons. They may not wish to have any / anymore children, their families are complete or pregnancy poses a grave risk to their health.
As the procedure is minimally invasive and typically done right after childbirth, the fatality risks are quite low. Only one to four in every 100,000 ligations end in death. Other risks include haemorrhaging and infections, but the most concerning is usually pregnancy.
A pregnancy after a ligation is risky not only because it might come as an unexpected shock to the mother, but it could result in an ectopic pregnancy, which could endanger both child and mother..
An ectopic pregnancy occurs when an egg is fertilized outside of the uterus - usually in the fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancies can be life-threatening because a developing foetus needs more space to grow than the fallopian tubes provide. This can lead to the tubes rupturing if the pregnancy is not spotted early enough.
For this reason, it is of utmost importance to speak with your physician if you suspect that you may be pregnant after you’ve done a tubal ligation.
What Signs Should I Watch For?
As the procedure should not affect your menstrual cycle, you will still ovulate so there is a real possibility of becoming pregnant. Pregnancy symptoms - in cases where a pregnancy occurs - are more or less the same as that of a regular pregnancy:
Cravings or food aversions
Nausea and/or morning sickness
Signs of an ectopic pregnancy include these symptoms along with pain or pelvic pressure and vaginal bleeding. If you experience any of these symptoms or test positively with a home pregnancy test after a tubal ligation, speak with your physician immediately. The unfortunate fact is that an ectopic pregnancy cannot go to birth. However, if caught early, the chances of survival for the mother increase.
Although tubal ligation is classified as a permanent form of birth control, there is still a chance of becoming pregnant after the procedure is done. Due to this risk factor along with the danger of an ectopic pregnancy, couples are encouraged to use additional methods of contraception after a tubal ligation.
Additionally, women should have regular check-ups with their physician to ensure that their fallopian tubes have not grown back. Also, pay very keen attention to the tell signs of your body and do not to ignore these signs. Act immediately and reach out to your physician if you think you may have become pregnant after your procedure.
Thanks for taking the time to read through this article. We hope it provided you with useful information that can shed some light on the topic of tubal ligation. Please share your experience in the comments section below and share this article with other moms who may be considering this procedure so they may also benefit.