There are various reasons why you don’t want to have kids. It could be age, having an already big family, or simply by choice. Whatever your reason is, you can rely on tubal litigation to prevent you from getting pregnant. Also known as “tubes tied,” this outpatient surgical procedure blocks or cuts the fallopian tubes to prevent an egg from travelling to the uterus where it could meet a sperm. However, you should know you can still get pregnant with tubes tied.
Ligated but Pregnant: Is it Possible?
One of the most effective ways to stop you from getting pregnant is through tubal ligation. Nonetheless, getting ligated does not guarantee that you can never be pregnant anymore. In fact, the rate of pregnancy is approximately one in every 1,000 women after first year and around two to 10 women in every 1,000 after five years.
In other words, the possibility of pregnancy is low, but you can still get pregnant especially if you are not using any contraceptives. What's worse is that there is a higher risk of an ectopic pregnancy when you get pregnant after ligation.
You should also be aware that the younger you had a tubal ligation, the greater the risk of getting pregnant. The rate of pregnancy after ligation released by University of Pittsburgh Medical Center showed that:
Five percent of women below 28 years old
Two percent for women between 28 and 33 years old
One percent for women above 34 years old
Why Get Pregnant with Tubes Tied Happen?
The purpose of the tubal ligation is to damage your fallopian tube to prevent eggs from getting fertilized. Then, the damage causes your body to speed up the healing process, thereby making the tube to close. Nevertheless, the healing response does not guarantee complete closure. At times, a small opening known as fistula could happen, which is enough to allow the sperm to pass and fertilize an egg; hence pregnancy. Despite fertilization, your fallopian tube could block the fertilized egg somewhere and lead to ectopic pregnancy. The fertilized egg can still go to the uterus, although this is a one in a million chance.
Aside from fistula, another reason why you get pregnant is due to recanalization. Recanalization happens when two separated segments of your fallopian tube heal together. This is also more common in bipolar tubal coagulation wherein the tube was burned minimally in one place and not completely.
You might also discover that you are pregnant after your ligation procedure. The reason for this is that a fertilized egg was already implanted in your uterus even before the procedure was done. To prevent this from happening, make sure you schedule a tubal ligation procedure after birth or after your last menstrual period since then the risk of pregnancy is lower.
What Are the Symptoms of Pregnancy After Tubes Tied?
Symptoms of Pregnancy
Now, it is already established that pregnancy is still possible even after ligation. In fact, if your fallopian tube has grown back, full-term pregnancy is possible.
Some of the symptoms you might experience are:
Missed menstrual period, which is often the first sign of pregnancy
Tenderness of the breasts
Unexplained feeling of fatigue
Sudden food cravings
Feeling sick when smelling or thinking of certain foods
More frequent urination
Nausea, which is more common in the morning
At-home pregnancy tests are available to help you check whether or not you are pregnant with tubes tied. Pregnancy blood test and ultrasound are also available if you want more accurate results.
Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy
Also known as tubal pregnancy, ectopic pregnancy is a condition wherein the embryo attaches outside your uterus. You know that ligation increases your chances of experiencing ectopic pregnancy. What exactly is ectopic pregnancy? And how will you know if your pregnancy is ectopic?
Oftentimes, the kind of pregnancy happens inside the fallopian tube, which is not designed and capable to hold and support a growing embryo. As a result, the pregnancy doesn’t push through despite similar symptoms with normal, traditional pregnancy.
There are various reasons why ectopic pregnancy happens besides tubes tied, including:
Prior surgery in your pelvic area or fallopian tubes that may cause adhesions
Scar tissue on your fallopian tube from a previous infection or surgery
Abnormality in your tube’s shape due to a birth defect or abnormal growth
Infection or inflammation of your fallopian tube
Ectopic pregnancy carries the same symptoms of traditional pregnancy mentioned above. In addition, you might also experience the following:
Light to severe stomach or pelvic pain
Light to severe vaginal bleeding
Pelvic pressure, which is more prevalent during bowel movements
Passing out or extreme lightheadedness
Never ignore these symptoms when you are pregnant, otherwise, it could lead to rupture of your fallopian tube. Internal bleeding is also possible, which may result to fainting and shock. Therefore, seek medical treatment as soon as possible, so your doctor could prescribe medication to stop the fertilized egg from growing. In worst cases, your doctor may require you to undergo surgery to remove the tissue and repair your fallopian tube.
Can You Prevent Being Pregnant with Tubes Tied?
Before you decide on anything, it is important to both educate yourself and to sit down and talk to your doctor about the benefits, side effects, and possible complications of tubal ligation. This way, you will be properly informed of how the procedure will go which can help you decide if it is worth it.
This is also applicable even if you had a previous tubal ligation at a younger age. Since there is still a small risk involved, discuss your options to help you prevent pregnancy, which may include the use of contraception options such condoms, IUD, or vasectomy for men.