Tubal ligation sometimes referred to as female sterilization is a birth control method that involves surgically occluding both fallopian tubes to prevent the ovum and sperm from uniting.
The most commonly used method, the modified Pomeroy tubal ligation (aka Parkland).
It is considered a permanent form of birth control. In fact, research suggests that the chances of getting pregnant after tubal ligation during C-section are less than 2%.
Although according to the studies conducted in the U.S. medical centers, tubal ligation is a highly effective birth control option, the risk of failure is higher than generally reported. The risk of pregnancy is highest among women sterilized at a young age with bipolar coagulation (54.3/1000) and clip application (52.1/1000).
Also, tubal ligation increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy (1 in 15,000).
If you are undergoing a Caesarian section, your doctor may perform a tubal ligation at the same time. During the C-section, an incision is made in the lower abdomen and another in the uterus. Once the baby is delivered, the operating surgeon uses the incision in the lower abdomen to perform a tubal ligation.
In most cases, this procedure is performed shortly after delivery, but you can choose to do it later. Before undergoing a tubal ligation, your health care provider may discuss with you its potential benefits and risks, including sexual ramifications, complications, health effects, side effects, and potential reversibility or irreversibility.
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Tubal ligation does not add risk to your C-section operation and neither does it cause complications during your C-section recovery. This is because a tubal ligation is done once the baby is delivered and not before. Furthermore, your surgeon uses the incision in your abdominal cavity to close up your fallopian tubes. No extra incisions are made to the uterus or abdomen.
After a C-section, it is normal to experience some pain and discomfort, which subside after a couple of days. Therefore, any discomfort you experience after having a tubal ligation during a C-section is due to the delivery and not so much the procedure.
The chances of getting pregnant after tubal ligation during C-section may be low, but it is possible to get pregnant. In fact, research shows that you can get pregnant after undergoing tubal ligation but it is highly unlikely less than 2% (around 0.3% chance) but varies by method, patient age, and surgeon’s experience.
Unfortunately, the likelihood of getting an ectopic pregnancy is higher (1in 15,000) as compared to a normal pregnancy.
So if you notice early signs of pregnancy after you have had tubal ligation, it is important you see your healthcare provider for confirmation.
Some misconceptions related to tubal ligation include a condition referred to as tubal ligation syndrome. Its symptoms are believed to be the following: cramps, hormonal imbalances, early menopause, poor health, irregular periods, and chronic pain, heavier baseline menses and dysmenorrhea.
But there is no clinical evidence that shows that tubal ligation has any kind of health effects or side effects.
Other misconceptions include:
- The belief that tubal ligation involves surgically removing a woman’s entire reproductive system.
- The belief that tubal ligation can cause ovarian, cervical or uterine cancer.
- The belief that tubal ligation can lower a woman’s sex drive.
- The belief that tubal ligation can cause a woman to lose or gain weight.
Tubal ligation during a Caesarian section is cost effective.
Although this is ideal for women who are in the low-income bracket, studies show that women who undergo tubal ligation during a C-section may end up regretting their decision.
Regret is highest in women who were under 30 years when the procedure was performed. However, it is estimated that less than 2% of women seek reversal of tubal sterilization.
Some of the reasons for regret include:
- Wanting to have a male child if all the other children are female
- Losing a child
- Wanting to a baby from a new partner or spouse.
This is why it is vital to give the decision of having tubal ligation serious consideration. You don’t need to have it done right after delivery. Tubal ligation can be done months later after delivery.
To help you make a more informed decision, talk to your physician about the procedure. Know what the potential benefits and risks associated with it are.
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Remember, there are other non-hormonal birth control options that are not permanent but are also effective at preventing unwanted or unplanned pregnancies.
In any case, it is possible to become pregnant after tubal ligation, if the surgery was not performed properly.
So, unless there is a good reason to have a tubal ligation, think about the future before undergoing this procedure. You never know, may be along the way, you might just decide to have another baby.