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Wanting to start a family is a beautiful feeling. It’s only natural to want everything to go smoothly, especially your pregnancy and the delivery of your baby. But if you’re told that you need to undergo a procedure called LEEP before you can conceive, don’t panic. There is no reason to fear that a LEEP will decrease your chances of getting pregnant or have a negative effect on your fertility.
What is LEEP?
LEEP or Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure is a procedure that is done to treat a pre-cancerous cervix. The doctor will use an electrically charged wire loop to remove the affected cells from your cervix while you are under local anaesthesia. Although it might sound daunting, it is not a major medical operation, and you can go home on the same day.
Is it Easier to Get Pregnant After LEEP Procedure?
Many women usually get anxious about whether LEEP affects their chances of getting pregnant in the future. If you look up LEEP on the internet, you might see articles related to miscarriage and infertility. But the fact is that although there is a slight increase in the potential for pregnancy complications after LEEP, most women do not have any sort of problems with getting pregnant. If your doctor is too rash with his excision during LEEP, it can lead to some scarring which can affect future pregnancy, but the good news is that there are various treatment options for you to still get pregnant and deliver a healthy baby.
Risks Associated With Pregnancy After a LEEP
There are risks that are associated in the recovery period of a LEEP procedure. There is no reason to believe that you will definitely undergo them, but it is still important to keep them in mind as precautions.
1. Cervical Incompetence
Cervical incompetence means when your cervix becomes ‘incompetent’ or unable to stay closed during a pregnancy. It can sometimes result in a miscarriage of preterm labour. However, a cervical cerclage is a procedure that can be done to sew the cervix during the pregnancy and ensure that it stays closed. But only a small number of women who have had a LEEP will require to have a cervical cerclage.
2. Cervical Stenosis
This term is used to refer to the narrowing or tightening of the cervix. This condition can make it hard for the cervix to dilate during delivery of the baby.
Studies have shown that women who became pregnant within a year of having a LEEP procedure were slightly more at risk of having a miscarriage. But the same study also showed that women who became pregnant after a year or so of a LEEP procedure had no more risk of a miscarriage than normal women.
4. Difficulty Conceiving
Little research has been done on the odds of getting a pregnant post a LEEP procedure, but also there is a small risk, a good gynaecologist will be able to guide you through it.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
If you are trying to conceive after a LEEP procedure, there are several things you want to make sure of by consulting with your doctor. Here are a few questions you should remember to ask:
1. Is LEEP the only option of treatment I have?
This question is to rule out every other treatment option, as the doctor may in some cases suggest an alternative method.
2. How long do I have to wait before getting pregnant after LEEP?
It is very important to know from a medical professional how long you need to wait before trying to get pregnant so that unfortunate complications do not occur.
3. How does LEEP affect my pregnancy?
You need to know each and every effect that a LEEP can have on your pregnancy, and the best way is to hear it from your own doctor.
4. How long will my cervix take to recover?
The answer to this will help you not only wait a bit to get pregnant till your cervix heals but also not place undue pressure on it with vigorous movements or exercise.
5. When can I start having sex again?
Sexual intercourse is a physical action which may again hurt your cervix, especially when it is healing. The optimal time to wait before having sex is 4 to 6 weeks, depending on how much cervical tissue is removed.
It is actually a blessing right now to have so many screenings and tests available which can predict precancerous abnormalities in your cervix. You get a chance to remove them before cervical cancer develops through procedures like LEEP. So, if you are diagnosed with the condition that requires a LEEP, don’t worry, just go through with it, ask the necessary questions, practice the precautions, and soon you’ll be pregnant again, on the way to having a healthy baby!