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The procedure of tubal ligation is an effective method of preventing pregnancy and is generally considered as a permanent form of birth control. Also known as “tying up of your tubes”, the process consists of cutting and tying off the fallopian tubes in order to stop eggs from entering the uterus. Although modern surgery techniques are capable of reversing this procedure, the possibility of pregnancy after tubal ligation cannot be assured.
What Are the Chances of Pregnancy After Tubal Ligation?
Tubal ligation is considered to be a near-foolproof method of preventing pregnancy since there is a 1 in 1000 chance of getting pregnant after the first year. While performing a tubal ligation surgery, the surgeon cuts, and then seals or ties the fallopian tubes. Pregnancy can occur if the fallopian tubes grow back after the procedure. After the fifth year, however, there is a 2-10 in 1000 chance of pregnancy. Also in the case of pregnancy being established after tubal ligation, the probability of risking an ectopic pregnancy is high. It is best to speak to your doctor if you notice pregnancy symptoms after having had a tubal ligation in the past.
Reasons of Tubal Ligation Failure
The following are the probable causes of tubal ligation failure:
- Improper sealing off of fallopian tubes during tubal ligation
- Technical mistakes caused during the surgery
- Incorrect identification of fallopian tubes and knotting another anatomical part in their place
- Recanalization – the regeneration of fallopian tubes when they are improperly closed
- Luteal phase pregnancy where pregnancy remains unobserved before tubal ligation surgery
- Using the wrong device for the occlusion process
- Tuboperitoneal fistula due to inadequate healing of the fallopian tubes
Risks of Pregnancy After Tubal Ligation
Like all surgeries, tubal litigation though safe, carries some risks. Your surgeon will provide you with a consent form explaining the risks associated with tubal ligation. The potential risks include the following:
- Ectopic pregnancy, where the egg fertilizes outside the uterus
- Bleeding due to a cut from inside the abdomen
- Improper closing of the fallopian tubes which leads to pregnancy
- Damage to other organs
- Risks associated with anaesthesia
Other risks depending upon your specific health condition include:
- Abdominal surgery in the past
- Lung disease
- Being overweight
- Pelvic inflammatory diseases
Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy After Tubal Ligation
You could have a full term pregnancy if your fallopian tube grows back together after tubal ligation is carried out. The following are the symptoms associated with pregnancy post tubal ligation:
- Frequent urination
- Tenderness in the breasts
- Unsolved fatigue
- Cravings for specific foods
- Morning nausea
- Missing of menstrual periods
- Nausea after seeing or thinking about specific foods
In a normal pregnancy, the fertilized egg moves through the fallopian tubes and gets implanted in the uterus. The pregnancy which occurs due to the implantation of a fertilised egg anywhere outside the uterus – most commonly inside the fallopian tubes – is known as ectopic pregnancy. Though such pregnancies are rare, they need to be treated on priority as they could lead to a complicated situation. It is also known as tubal pregnancy.
Apart from the traditional pregnancy symptoms, ectopic pregnancy can display the following symptoms:
- Light vaginal bleeding
- Abdominal pains
- Pelvic pressure during bowel movement
- Pelvic pain
- Pain in the shoulders
- Feeling of light-headedness
- Extreme vaginal bleeding
- Losing consciousness or passing out
The following are complications associated with ectopic pregnancy:
- Breakage of fallopian tubes
- Internal bleeding
- Loss of blood in large quantities
- Death if left untreated
Who is at Risk of Ectopic Pregnancy?
Females with the following risk factors are at risk of an ectopic pregnancy:
- A number of induced abortions
- Using fertility medications or treatments
- Maternal age between 35 and 44 years
- Abdominal or pelvic surgery in the past
- Previous ectopic pregnancy
- PID-Pelvic Inflammatory Diseases
- Pregnancy after tubal ligation process
What Are the Options for Pregnancy Post Tubal Ligation?
If you are wondering how to get pregnant after tubal ligation, then check out the following options:
Tubal Ligation Reversal
The procedure to restore fertility after a woman has undergone tubal ligation is known as tubal ligation reversal. During this procedure, the blocked portions of the fallopian tubes are reconnected to the fallopian tubes again. This can help the eggs to move into the fallopian tubes and meet up with the sperms that have travelled up too. When the fallopian tubes are least damaged the chances of success are higher.
If you have had a tubal ligation and then change your mind about having a child then In vitro fertilization or IVF is an option. Originally created to help women with tubal problems like blockages etc. this is a popular option for women to conceive after Tubal ligation. This procedure is a safe choice for many women especially with growing medical expertise.
Gestational surrogacy is carried out after tubal ligation if the mother decides to conceive despite the procedure. In this case, a surrogate mother carries a child who is not biologically connected to her. Here the eggs of the mother or a donor are fertilized by the sperm of the father or a donor and then implanted through IVF. A woman who has had tubal ligation is thus able to become a gestational surrogate since the surrogates aren’t being used in this case.
Although tubal ligation is an effective method of preventing pregnancy, it isn’t 100% protection and carries its own set of risks. Since it does not safeguard you against sexually transmitted diseases, using a condom is highly recommended. Check with your doctor if you are unsure about tubal ligation and its effectiveness.