Pregnancy Home > Postpartum Tubal Ligation

After giving birth, some women have a surgery called postpartum tubal ligation. This procedure prevents future pregnancy by blocking the fallopian tubes. Recent studies show that this surgery has a success rate of over 99 percent. It is intended to be a permanent, irreversible form of birth control. While no surgery is completely free of risks, major complications occur in less than 1 out of 1,000 postpartum tubal ligation procedures.

Postpartum Tubal Ligation: An Introduction

Tubal ligation is a procedure that results in permanent sterilization. The procedure is sometimes called "having your tubes tied." The formal name is bilateral tubal ligation, or BTL. Bilateral means both sides, and tubal ligation means "blocking" the fallopian tubes so your eggs cannot be fertilized or reach the uterus. This is how BTL prevents pregnancy.
There are two types of tubal ligation procedures:
Postpartum tubal ligation is done immediately after the birth of your baby.

Preparation for Postpartum Tubal Ligation

A postpartum tubal ligation is unique in that it occurs after a normal vaginal birth -- usually one to two days after the birth of your child. It does not, however, typically change the amount of time spent in the hospital after you give birth.
Anesthesia is used to eliminate the pain felt during a procedure. For a postpartum tubal ligation, the two most common types of anesthesia are spinal and general anesthesia. You will be given one of the two types.

Postpartum Tubal Ligation: The Surgery Itself

Your doctor will begin the postpartum tubal ligation surgery by making a small incision, or cut, in or below your navel. Your doctor will then place a finger into your abdomen and locate the first fallopian tube. The tube will then be gently pulled out through the incision and tied off and cut. After repeating this process on the other tube, your doctor will then stitch the incision in your navel closed, and a sterile bandage will be applied.
(Click Postpartum Tubal Ligation Surgery for more information on the procedure itself.)
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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