Tens and thousands of women worldwide choose to get their “tubes tied.” At one point in their life, women decide they no longer want children after giving birth to their first baby. Alternatively, some young women chasing their careers decide against getting pregnant. All these women seek tubal ligation as it is considered the permanent form of sterilization. In this procedure, surgical intervention is necessary to cut, tie, or close the fallopian tubes. The aim is to prevent the journey of eggs from the ovaries to the uterus, which negates the chances of fertilization of the eggs when they come in contact with sperm.

Despite being considered a permanent form of sterilization, there have been instances where some women have become pregnant. Let us look into the details. You can also click here and get some additional information.

What the stats say

If we dive into the records of women who underwent tubal ligation, it would be evident the chances of pregnancy are less than 1% in the first year and 2-10% in the next five years. Naturally, a woman who has got her tubes tied and one morning discovers she has conceived would get the shock of her life. Even though rare, as you can see from the figures above, you never know if you are the chosen one who will ultimately fall into this rare category. Thus, it requires more attention and better understanding to eliminate the risks of becoming pregnant after tubal ligation.

Reasons leading to pregnancy after tubal ligation

Various factors may be responsible for making a woman conceive even after getting her tubes tied. Let us look at each of the possibilities:

  • Regeneration: In the rarest of cases, fallopian tubes blocked via tubal ligation can partially grow again. As a result, the path becomes open for the egg and sperm to meet, and pregnancy occurs naturally.
  • Tubes not closed properly: For some reason, the tubes didn’t close appropriately, leaving a small opening, which later initiated the process of fertilization.
  • Fimbriation: Again, in the rarest of cases, the fimbriae, finger-like items at the end of the fallopian tubes somehow manage to capture an egg and facilitate fertilization to occur, that too outside the uterus. The condition is also known as ectopic pregnancy.

As mentioned earlier, with the state-of-the-art methods of surgery used presently, the chances of any of the above happening are negligible. Still, it is feasible to know about it in advance.

Possible signs of pregnancy after tubal ligation

By now, you realize that even if pregnancy occurs after tubal ligation, it is due to some fault. Therefore, the signs would not be similar to that of a normal pregnancy. Here again, some women may experience common pregnancy symptoms, like missing their periods or feeling nausea. A woman should immediately consult the healthcare provider if she witnesses any of the symptoms mentioned below:

  • Usual symptoms: Common symptoms associated with pregnancy must be reported to the doctor. Since the woman knows she cannot be pregnant as she has her tubes tied, she must bring it to the attention of the doctor. Most likely, it is going to develop into an ectopic pregnancy which can be life-threatening.
  • Sharp pain: Women should be careful of sharp and persistent pains. It usually happens when she is on intercourse. Such signals are indications of issues in the fallopian tubes.
  • Unusual bleeding: Hormonal changes can happen after tubal ligation. In rare cases, it can trigger irregular or heavy bleeding. The condition requires immediate medical attention, and thus should not be ignored.

Things to do if a woman suspects becoming pregnant after tubal ligation

We have already mentioned it earlier. If a woman suspects she is pregnant, she must consult the doctor without further delay. The doctor would perform blood work and ultrasound at first to confirm pregnancy. Consequently, the doctors will also keep a close eye on the location. After assessing the case, they will recommend the best course of action. Some of the common treatment or monitoring methods in this case are as follows:

  • If the doctor spots the pregnancy outside the uterus, they will closely monitor it and try to eliminate potential complications.
  • As soon as the doctor confirms it to be an ectopic pregnancy, they will waste no time and prepare for surgery. They will aim at removing the pregnancy and try to preserve the fallopian tube if feasible.
  • Understanding the ill effects of becoming pregnant after tubal ligation, a woman should not think twice and opt for terminating the pregnancy. If she overlooks the condition, she might risk her life.

Mental health can be vulnerable

When a woman learns she is pregnant after tubal ligation, the news can be emotionally taxing. She will be in an unexplained state of mind. Chances are she will experience bouts of shock, disbelief, mood swings, and anger. The constant thought that it happens to the rarest of cases does not help either. The woman marks her as the unluckiest person in the world and gradually goes into a shell. It is at this stage, that the support of family members and friends becomes crucial. If necessary, one can also seek professional assistance.

Choosing to become pregnant

For women who choose to become pregnant after tubal ligation, they can also experience similar stress. However, they would be glad to know, it is possible for them to become pregnant via procedures like IVF, and tubal ligation reversal surgery. Various factors would determine which of the above procedures is most appropriate for the woman. Both of these procedures are presently enjoying high success rates.

While many women prefer ligation reversal, since it lets them regain their fertility, IVF is also not far behind. All those women who are not considered ideal candidates for tubal ligation reversal can seek the help of fertility experts and go for IVF. Before considering any of the above procedures, the woman or her family member needs to perform solid research on the availability of doctors who can help and guide them on the right track.