Most birth control options for women like oral contraceptive pills and birth control shots are completely reversible. Once a woman stopped taking these pills or injections, she can gain her fertility back in order to conceive. However, it is possible to get pregnant even if one is still on birth control. It is a small risk but it exists. Unprotected sex during the last days of a shot’s term or a missed pill is enough to increase risks of unintended pregnancy. If you do not want to be bothered by daily pill intakes or quarterly injections, you can explore the option of permanent birth control.

What is it?

Permanent birth control for women takes the form of tubal occlusion. It is a simple surgical procedure that seals off the fallopian tubes to prevent sperm from reaching the ovum released during ovulation. Although the procedure can be reversed, it is still considered a permanent form of contraception since reversals are difficult and are often ineffective.

How is it done?

As a surgical procedure, doctors have several options on doing tubal occlusion. You can discuss each of the methods below with your gynecologist or surgeon so you will know what to expect:

* Minilaparotomy

The doctor will make a small cut just above your pubic hair line and reach for the tubes through it. The procedure is more popularly known by its shortened name, minilap.

* Laparoscopy

A small cut will be made just below your navel wherein a laparoscope will be inserted. A laparoscope is a long and thin instrument that enables the doctor doing the operation to see your tubes and close them off.

* Post-delivery surgery

You can also choose to have the procedure done after you have delivered your baby. If the birth is done through normal delivery, the doctor can perform tubal occlusion using a similar method to laparoscopy except that no laparoscope will be used. Since the tubes are near the skin’s surface during after giving birth, a laparoscope is no longer needed to reach them. If your baby is delivered using the C-section, the doctor can reach and tie your tubes through the same opening used in the delivery.

Who can use it?

Technically, every woman can opt for permanent birth control since it has no side effects like hormonal forms of contraception. However, permanent birth control is often advised only to women who:

* have all the children they want

* have serious health problems that can make pregnancies unsafe

* are old and at risk of serious pregnancy complications

* have decided that they do not want to have a child

What can be expected after the procedure?

Tubal occlusion procedures usually take about 30 to 45 minutes. Overnight confinement is not necessary and women can go home after a few hours’ rest. After the procedure, you can expect to feel sore for a few days especially in your lower abdomen. You may need to relax and rest for a week and avoid lifting heavy objects. You can resume having sex a week after the procedure.

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