Tubal ligation, also called female sterilization, is a form of permanent birth control. It involves undergoing surgery to have your fallopian tubes cut off or blocked to prevent getting pregnant.
Every month, a woman’s ovaries release an egg that travels through your fallopian tubes, to the uterus, where it may be fertilized. Ligation is the procedure of blocking or destroying parts of the fallopian tubes to prevent your eggs connecting with sperm.
It is a surgical method that can be done in a hospital or in an outpatient surgical clinic. This ligation process can be done:
Before undergoing this procedure, it is important for you to know what will happen and fully understand the repercussions. Proper documentation is important to note that you have consented to the procedure.
Your healthcare provider will determine the best approach and discuss the possible risks and complications associated with the procedure.
If you chose to have a tubal ligation separate from pregnancy, or what is commonly known as an interval ligation, your healthcare provider will be using a laparoscopic technique.
A needle or a small incision is made through the belly button. This will then be inflated with gas and a laparoscope will be inserted. Using this tool, your doctor will use clips to block or damage your fallopian tubes.
This technique also has a faster expected recovery time.
A minilaparotomy is done with the doctor making an incision in your abdomen. If your procedure is done during a c-section delivery, the same incision for the c-section will be used by your doctor. If the tubal ligation is performed during a natural childbirth, your doctor will likely make an incision under your belly button. Your fallopian tube would then be brought up to where a small part, or the entire tube, can be removed.
When the surgical operation is over, you might experience discomfort at your incision area, including:
After the procedure, make sure to also take note of the following. If they occur, contact your doctor immediately.
Be sure to also keep the wound dry for at least 48 hours. Try to avoid straining the wound or rubbing it. Avoid straining your body with heavy lifting and sex. Consult your doctor for when you may resume these activities.
Since this birth control method is permanent, it’s important that you only choose this method if you’re completely sure you do not have plans to get pregnant in the future. This method is perfect for you if:
The laparoscopic tubal ligation method is relatively safe and effective. Most studies have shown no deaths due to this procedure, with only a very slim chance of fatalities. Cases of complications are usually due to preexisting conditions or problems with the anesthesia.
Some complications include:
In the rare chance of a pregnancy due to tubal ligation failure, you are also at risk of a possible ectopic pregnancy where your egg would be fertilized in your fallopian tube instead of your uterus.
While it is possible to undergo a second surgery to undo a tubal ligation, it is not always successful. In cases of unsuccessful tubal ligation reversal, you may try in vitro fertilization, or other assisted fertilization methods.
Before undergoing tubal ligation, you should be very sure you do not want to get pregnant in the future. Since, it’s a permanent birth control, it’s necessary to discuss this with your partner and healthcare provider to make sure you’re choosing the best birth control method for you.
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