Getting Pregnant

Pregnancy After Tubal Ligation – Is it Possible?

Medically Reviewed by
Dr. Sabiha Anjum (Obstetrician and Gynaecologist )
View more Obstetrician and Gynaecologist Our Panel of Experts

Tubal ligation is an effective method for preventing pregnancy and is generally considered as 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. Although it is a permanent procedure and very effective, it is still possible for a woman to get pregnant.

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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 1 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. The changes of getting pregnant after undergoing a tubal ligation procedure also depend on the age of a woman. 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 1-2% chances 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.

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Reasons for a Tubal Ligation Procedure Failure

Mentioned below are some of the possible reasons for the failure of a tubal ligation procedure.

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  • 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.

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
  • Infections
  • 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:

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  • Frequent urination
  • Missed periods
  • Tenderness in the breasts
  • Fatigue
  • Cravings for specific foods
  • Nausea
  • Nausea after seeing or thinking about specific foods

Ectopic Pregnancy

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
  • Lightheadedness
  • Extreme vaginal bleeding

Complications

The following are complications associated with an ectopic pregnancy:

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  • Fallopian tube may get ruptured
  • Internal bleeding
  • Infection
  • 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.

2. IVF

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.

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3. Surrogacy

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.

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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Also Read: Common Causes of Not Conceiving

This post was last modified on April 3, 2020 3:12 pm

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