Tubal ligation, often referred to as “getting your tubes tied,” is a surgical procedure for female sterilization. The fallopian tubes are blocked, tied, or cut to prevent eggs from reaching the uterus for implantation. It is a permanent method of birth control.

Key Takeaways

  1. Tubal ligation is a permanent form of birth control where a woman’s fallopian tubes are either blocked or cut to prevent pregnancy. Sometimes referred to as female sterilization or “getting your tubes tied,” it prohibits eggs from reaching the uterus for implantation.
  2. Though tubal ligation is effective in preventing the majority of pregnancies, there remains a small risk of pregnancy after the procedure. This can occur if the tubes grow back together or a new passage forms, allowing an egg to be fertilized by sperm. This risk is typically less than 1 percent.
  3. Tubal ligation does not affect a woman’s menstrual cycle or cause the onset of menopause. Women continue to ovulate and discharge eggs, but these are absorbed by the body instead of being implanted into the uterus, thus avoiding pregnancy.


Tubal ligation is a significant term in motherhood as it refers to a surgical procedure often known as “tying the tubes” which is a form of permanent birth control in women.

Through this procedure, a woman’s fallopian tubes are either blocked, tied, or severed, preventing the eggs from reaching the uterus for fertilization with sperm.

Consequently, tubal ligation offers women an effective means to control their fertility and family size according to their preference or health needs.

However, it’s crucial for women considering this procedure to understand that it is typically irreversible, necessitating careful consideration and informative consultation with their healthcare provider.


Tubal ligation, also known as having one’s “tubes tied,” is a surgical procedure used as a form of permanent birth control for women. The purpose of this procedure is to prevent conception by blocking the fallopian tubes, which stops the egg from traveling from the ovaries into the uterus.

By doing this, it prevents sperm from reaching and fertilizing the egg. This makes it a highly effective form of contraception for women who have made a decision not to have more children, offering near-total assurance against unplanned pregnancy.

The primary use of tubal ligation is to provide a permanent solution for birth control. It allows women, who have chosen not to have more children or are advised against further pregnancies due to health risk, the freedom to engage in sexual activity without the constant worry of an unplanned pregnancy.

Given that it is a permanent and non-reversible solution, it is a decision typically made by women who are confident that they do not wish to have more biological children in the future. It’s important to note that while a tubal ligation protects against pregnancy, it does not offer any protection against sexually transmitted infections.

Examples of Tubal ligation

A 32-year-old woman with two children decides that she doesn’t want to have any more kids. She has familial health conditions that she doesn’t want to risk passing on to another child. After discussing her options with her doctor, they decide that tubal ligation, a procedure that blocks her fallopian tubes, is the best choice.

A 40-year-old woman with four kids decides she is done with childbearing, as she is already finding it difficult to financially support her current number of children. She researches available birth control options and ultimately opts for a surgical approach, tubal ligation, to permanently prevent pregnancy.

After delivering her third baby through C-section, a woman in her late-thirties discusses her family planning options with her obstetrician. Having previously discussed the possibility of permanently preventing future pregnancies, she decides to undergo a tubal ligation at the same time as her C-section, taking advantage of the already needed surgery to minimize additional procedures.

FAQs about Tubal Ligation

What is tubal ligation?

Tubal ligation, often referred to as “having your tubes tied,” is a type of permanent birth control. During tubal ligation, the fallopian tubes are cut, tied or blocked to permanently prevent pregnancy.

Is tubal ligation effective immediately?

No, tubal ligation is not effective immediately. It is recommended to use another form of birth control until your doctor confirms the success of the procedure, typically three months after the surgery.

What is the recovery period for a tubal ligation?

The recovery period following a tubal ligation varies depending on the method used. Generally, most women return to normal activities within a week. However, you should avoid heavy lifting and intercourse for a period recommended by your doctor.

Are there any side effects or risks related to tubal ligation?

As with any surgery, tubal ligation carries risks including infection, bleeding and reaction to anesthesia. Long-time effects can include changes in menstrual patterns and very rarely, the procedure may not work and pregnancy may still occur.

Can tubal ligation be reversed?

In some cases, tubal ligation may be reversed. However, the procedure is complex and success is not guaranteed. The decision to undergo tubal ligation should be made with consideration of it being permanent.

Related Motherhood Terms

  • Fallopian Tube
  • Sterilization
  • Birth Control
  • Surgical Procedure
  • Permanent Contraception

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