Pregnancy After Tubal Ligation – Is It Possible?
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- What Are the Chances of Getting Pregnant After Tubal Ligation Procedure?
- Can You Notice Signs of the Fallopian Tubes Growing Back Together?
- Reasons for a Tubal Ligation Procedure Failure
- How Can You Get Pregnant After Tube Tied?
- Risks Associated With the Tubal Ligation Procedure
- Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy After Tubal Ligation
- Ectopic Pregnancy
- Who Is Most at the Risk of an Ectopic Pregnancy?
- What Are the Options to Get Pregnant Post Tubal Ligation?
- When to Call the Doctor?
Tubal ligation is an effective method for preventing pregnancy and is generally considered a permanent form of birth control. Tubal ligation is when a woman gets her tubes tied in order to prevent pregnancy. The procedure involves cutting and tying off the fallopian tubes to prevent an egg from entering the uterus. But the question is, is it possible to get pregnant with tubes tied?
Although it is a permanent procedure and very effective, it is still possible for a woman to get pregnant. Let’s learn more about this in the article given below.
What Are the Chances of Getting Pregnant After Tubal Ligation Procedure?
Tubal ligation is considered to be a near-foolproof method for preventing pregnancy. There is a one in 1000 chance of getting pregnant after the first year. While performing a tubal ligation surgery, the surgeon cuts and seals or ties the fallopian tubes. Pregnancy can occur if the fallopian tubes grow back after the procedure. In some cases, pregnancy can also occur if the doctor performs the surgery incorrectly. After the fifth year, however, the chances of getting pregnant may increase. So, can you get pregnant with tubes tied? The chances of getting pregnant after undergoing a tubal ligation procedure depend on the age of a woman too. A woman who is below the age of 28 has a 5% chance of getting pregnant after undergoing this procedure. On the other hand, an older woman has only a 1-2% chance of getting pregnant. Furthermore, if a woman does conceive after a tubal ligation procedure, there will be a risk of an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is a medical emergency as it could cause the fallopian tube to rupture and lead to bleeding.
Can You Notice Signs of the Fallopian Tubes Growing Back Together?
The process of growing back of the fallopian tube is known as recanalisation. In this, the new passage in tubes is created that allows your eggs to meet with sperm for fertilisation. But it is quite unlikely to sense your own fallopian tubes growing back together, as this can happen in very rare cases.
A few uncomfortable post-op symptoms that you can feel related to a tubal ligation include nausea, stomach pain, cramps, dizziness, and bloating.
Reasons for a Tubal Ligation Procedure Failure
Mentioned below are some of the possible reasons for the failure of a tubal ligation procedure.
- Technical mistakes that happen while the surgery is being pregnancy.
- The tubal ligation procedure may prove ineffective if the fallopian tubes are sealed off incorrectly.
- Recanalization – the regeneration of fallopian tubes when they are improperly closed.
- Luteal phase pregnancy where pregnancy remains unobserved before tubal ligation surgery.
- Tuboperitoneal fistula due to inadequate healing of the fallopian tubes.
How Can You Get Pregnant After Tube Tied?
There is no method of contraception that is 100% effective. Tubal ligation is just an effective way to prevent pregnancy. Although the possibility of conceiving is low, pregnancy can still happen. Unfortunately, after a tubal ligation procedure, the risk of experiencing an ectopic pregnancy increases if a pregnancy is to occur.
To understand it in detail, fallopian tubes connect the ovary to the uterus, where the fertilisation egg develops into a fetus. Fertilisation is the joining of the sperm and egg and normally takes place in the fallopian tube. Suppose fallopian tubes are blocked/damaged/tied. In that case, this can stop a woman from conceiving and increases the risk of becoming pregnant in the fallopian tube (ectopic pregnancy).
Pregnancy can also happen in case the eggs were fertilised shortly before the procedure.
Risks Associated With the Tubal Ligation Procedure
A surgeon usually provides a consent form to a woman wanting to undergo tubal ligation. The form explains the risks associated with the tubal ligation procedure. The potential complications that may arise after undergoing this procedure are given below.
- Ectopic pregnancy, where the egg fertilizes outside the uterus
- Bleeding due to a cut in the abdomen
- Damage to other organs
- Risks associated with anaesthesia
Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy After Tubal Ligation
If the fallopian tubes grow back together after undergoing a tubal ligation procedure, a woman can get pregnant and have a full-term pregnancy.
The following are the symptoms associated with pregnancy post tubal ligation:
- Frequent urination
- Missed periods
- Tenderness in the breasts
- Cravings for specific foods
- 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. A 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. Although such pregnancies are rare, they need to be treated on priority as they could lead to further complications. It is also known as tubal pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is common after a woman undergoes a tubal ligation procedure.
Symptoms of an Ectopic Pregnancy
Apart from the normal pregnancy symptoms, one may experience the following symptoms in case of an ectopic pregnancy.
- Light vaginal bleeding
- Abdominal pain
- Pelvic pressure during bowel movement
- Pelvic pain
- Pain in the shoulders
- Extreme vaginal bleeding
The following are complications associated with an ectopic pregnancy:
- Fallopian tube may get ruptured
- Internal bleeding
- Loss of blood in large quantities
- Death, if left untreated
Who Is Most at the Risk of an Ectopic Pregnancy?
If a woman has had a tubal ligation in the past, she can still conceive. She will be at the risk of having an ectopic pregnancy in the following cases:
- If she has had induced abortions
- If she has taken fertility medications or treatments
- If she is between the ages of 35 and 44 years
- If she has had abdominal or pelvic surgery in the past
- If she has pelvic inflammatory diseases
- If she has endometriosis
- If she smokes
What Are the Options to Get Pregnant Post Tubal Ligation?
If you are wondering how to get pregnant after tubal ligation, then the following options may help:
1. 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 in the past and now you want to have a child, then you can consider in vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF can help you conceive even after undergoing a tubal ligation procedure. This procedure is a safe choice for many women, especially with growing medical expertise.
Gestational surrogacy is carried out after tubal ligation if a woman plans to conceive despite undergoing the tubal ligation procedure. In this case, a surrogate mother carries a child. Here the eggs of the woman 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.
When to Call the Doctor?
You must consult with a doctor in the following cases:
- If you spot signs of infection at the incision site.
- If there is heavy bleeding from the vagina on the first day, or if bleeding does not lessen after the first day.
- If there is any redness, swelling, or discharge.
- But if you suspect that you are pregnant, you should take an at-home test. If it’s positive, connect with a doctor to confirm the pregnancy.
Although tubal ligation is an effective method of preventing pregnancy, it is risky and may not offer 100 % protection. 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.
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2. What Do I Need to Know About Conceiving After Tubal Surgery?; reproductivefacts.org; https://www.reproductivefacts.org/news-and-publications/patient-fact-sheets-and-booklets/documents/fact-sheets-and-info-booklets/what-do-i-need-to-know-about-conceiving-after-tubal-surgery/
3. Tubal Ligation; hopkinsmedicine.org/; https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/tubal-ligation
4. Tubal ligation – discharge; medlineplus.gov; https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000288.htm
Also Read: Common Causes of Not Conceiving