Information about getting a tubal ligation: Recovery

This is part of a three part series about my experience getting a Tubal Ligation. Part one has information about the time before the surgery. Part two is all about the day of the surgery. I also wrote about the emotional side of a tubal ligation. I really wanted to share what my experience was like. When I did my research I didn’t find a ton of first hand information. There were a few sites telling about negative side effect, but I’m, happy to report that I have not experienced any negative side effects (knock on wood!).

As I mentioned before, this is all entirely based on my own personal experience and may not reflect other people’s unique experiences, so keep that in mind. I will be completely open and honest, so if you don’t want to hear intimate and sometimes graphic medical details, I encourage you to skip this post and check out some of my delicious recipes! Most importantly, do your own research (with reputable sources. Real doctors > Dr. Google), learn the risks as well as the pros and make the best decision for yourself.

Here is a ton of great information about what to expect during recovery from your Tubal Ligation surgery. This includes coming home, the days after the appointment and what to expect at your post-op appointment.

In this post I’ll be covering (these are clicky for your convenience):


Returning home:

Hooray, surgery is over! Assuming everything went well, you’ll likely be returning home the same day since this is generally an outpatient surgery (at least it was in my case).

  • When I first got home I was still pretty drowsy and out of it. I immediately headed over to my super-comfy couch.
  • I was also pretty hungry. I had J heat me up some of the soup that I had made prior to the surgery. Try this or this if you need a good soup recipe (both are super comforting and delicious!).
  • Our parents picked the girls up from daycare and gave them dinner. This worked out well because when I got home it was quiet so I had a little time to eat and relax.
  • Make sure if you have young kids you have someone around to help. You’ll still be really sore on the day of and won’t want them climbing all over you. A accidentally pressed on one of my incision on the first night and I yelped and she felt horrible (and of course I also felt horrible for her and sore myself. Not good  for anyone involved.).
  • If you’re currently nursing, you’ll need someone to help you at first since you’re not supposed to be lifting and thing for a little while. A nursing pillow is also helpful to support them once they’re in place. I have a Boppy but I don’t really love it anymore like I used to. I wish I had invested in My Brest Friend because it my opinion it’s more user-friendly (I have used both but since we’re not having anymore babies I didn’t want to spend extra money on yet another nursing pillow).
  • The first couple night’s sleep may be a bit uncomfortable, I found that I was pretty limited in what positions I could sleep in without discomfort for those first few days. For me it was only comfortable to sleep on my back.
  • They prescribed me percocet in case my pain was bad enough to need something stronger. I was told that if I did take any percocet, to also take a stool softener since percocet can tie you up. Luckily, I never felt the pain was bad enough to warrant taking something that strong (I’m not a big fan of taking medications if I don’t need them, especially controlled substances). I still had the large prescription ibuprofens leftover from postpartum, so I took those for the first few days and they worked really well.

The first couple of days:

  • You’ll want to lay low for the first couple of days. My doctor said people often take up to two weeks off from work to recover. This wasn’t really an option for me- I was off for three days followed by the weekend, so a total of five days. But I also work a job that has me sitting for the majority of the day. I’d imagine more time would be necessary if I had a more physically demanding job.
  • While I spent most of my time relaxing for the first two days, my doctor was very clear that she wanted me to make sure I was getting up and walking around a little bit throughout the day, to avoid any chances of blood clots forming.  This doesn’t mean that I was running around after the girls or photographing food or anything like that. But I did make simple meals (like eggs) for myself those days and I even went to the store two days after (my mother in-law was gracious enough to push the cart for me and walk at a snail’s pace with me as well).
  • Don’t overdo it. Seriously. I made the mistake of having a jam-packed weekend schedule. I got through it but I could definitely tell when I had overdone it because I would get a bit sore.
  • In addition to soreness, you can expect some minor bleeding. Nothing crazy, not nearly as bad as a regular period or postpartum bleeding. Just a little spotting for a few days.
  • My doctor told me to be on the look out for extreme, unbearable pain, excessive bleeding with large clots, red and swollen soreness in calves and/or a shortness of breath (signs of a blood clots and pulmonary embolisms), puss coming out of incisions, signs of a UTI and high fever. If I experienced any of these symptoms I was instructed to call immediately. Luckily I didn’t have any of these things happen.
  • My belly was a bit swollen for a good week or so after. I lived in loose-fitting swing dresses on my doctor’s recommendation. In the winter I probably would have gone with pajama pants with loose, low waistlines.
  • Showering was not a problem- I was told I could shower the next day, the big thing was I couldn’t be submerged in water for two weeks. I was also on pelvic rest for two weeks, so no tampons or anything else could go into the lady garden, if you know what I mean.
  • In terms of taking care of the incision sites, I didn’t really have to do anything. I had tape over the two side incision, which I left alone until they came off on their own. They are a bit lumpy. I have a plastic sticker-like thing over my belly button with gauze in it. I removed that after a little more than a week when the tape came off. They itched a bit after the tape came off but not horribly.
  • As I mentioned earlier, don’t lift anything for at least a week but probably more. It’s hard but it pays off to avoid extra soreness from overdoing it.

Your post-op appointment:

My post-op appointment was scheduled for around three weeks after the procedure. I think most occur around two or three week after your surgery.

  • This was a pants-on appointment (no pelvic exam or even peeing in a cup).
  • It was a pretty quick in and out appointment. The nurse weighed me (back to pre-Tess weight! But still not down to my pre-Alice weight. Sigh.) and took my blood pressure.
  • One my doctor came in, she asked how I was feeling and asked if I was still having any symptoms. I told her I get a tinge of soreness one in a while where the tubes used to be but it only lasts for a couple seconds and doesn’t really hurt, it’s more of an annoyance. She said this was fine.
  • She also inspected the incision sites and said they looked great. It’s normal for the incisions on the sites to be a little lumpy- she said that is from the stitches and they’ll dissolve over time. This is the same with the tiny stitch that’s still in my belly button. There is a tiny scar on each side (less than a centimeter). My doctor said these will fade in the coming year.
  • I happened to mention the emotional side of a tubal ligation and how even though I’m certain we’re happy to only have two kids, I am still a little sad. She told me that it’s pretty normal to feel that way. Not necessarily because you want another kid but more accepting the finality of it all. It was strangely comforting to hear this.
  • After that she pretty much sent me on my way!

So This sums up my experience with a tubal ligation. I am really happy it’s taken care of and that I had such a great experience. I strongly encourage you to do your research and think hard about this. IT’s a really big decision and not one to be taken lightly. It’s also very final. Do what’s best for you and your family.

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  • Reply
    Kathy Beaman
    February 14, 2017 at 3:06 pm I had a tubal done during my c-section. I was 43 when I delivered my second child. (I delivered my first at 22.). I had complications with both pregnancies, so it was best to be done. I also got pregnant pretty easily even though I'm old and my doctor didn't want me on hormonal birth control anymore because of my age. i had always gone to my GP, but stuck with my OB this time around. I don't think either myself or my GP knew about the risks of hormonal bc and age.
    • Reply
      February 15, 2017 at 1:26 pm Thank you for sharing!
  • Reply
    July 31, 2018 at 10:46 am Thanks for your posts about this. It is helping me a lot on my own journey. We’re completely done having children and I’m researching more permanent forms of birth control. I appreciate your being so open as this gives a true life experience rather than an edited version.
    • Reply
      Jessy Freimann
      August 1, 2018 at 2:57 pm Hi Heidi- I'm so glad to hear that it's helped you! Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions- I'm an open book. Best of luck!
  • Reply
    December 23, 2018 at 6:49 pm Thank you for this! I am finding all sorts of "clinical advice" and dos and don'ts, but not from 1st person perspective! My surgery is in 2 weeks and I'm nervous. Not because of the decision and what it means permanently, but I've never had any kind of surgery or been "put under".
    • Reply
      Jessy Freimann
      December 26, 2018 at 12:43 pm I'm so glad this helped. Every person is different, but from a physical standpoint, I found the surgery to be easier than expected- I don't have much experience with surgery outside of this, but I was expecting it to be a lot harder. Good luck!
  • Reply
    January 29, 2021 at 11:28 am Thank you for this article. I'm 27 and want a tubal ligation. My husband and I have no desire for children. We're very cautious but even then I have had a few pregnancy scares and panic attacks from those scares and I just cant handle the stress of possibly getting pregnant. I/We are fully aware of how permanent this surgery is and it feels like this would be such a relief for me mentally. If you dont mind me asking... Was the surgery cost covered by insurance? And as far as pain between a 1-10, what would you rate recovery?
    • Reply
      Jessy Freimann
      January 30, 2021 at 3:36 pm Hi Anita- thanks for sharing! I believe the majority of it was covered , but I think that varies by insurance as well. Recovery was a lit easier than expected. I'd say it was a six but each day got easier and easier. That said, my husband and I both agree that it would have been better if he had gone with a vasectomy. I opted to be the one to do it for medical reasons, but it's much less invasive and much easier recovery for a man. Either way, good luck- I hope it works out in the very best way possible for you.
  • Reply
    February 19, 2021 at 11:57 pm I am soo happy that i found your article. Ive been researching what to expect for the longest and this has help ALOT. Thanks so much for sharing and being human! I did want to ask you have you had any problems since you've had the procedure? any pain or heavy periods?
    • Reply
      Jessy Freimann
      February 21, 2021 at 5:00 pm So glad to help! I have not had any issues whatsoever- I actually feel like my periods are shorter and lighter (once day 1 has passed).I can't even see my scars anymore. Good luck!
  • Reply
    March 23, 2021 at 2:47 am Thank you for writing down about tubal ligation.. Many people are telling that if you have done this surgery there will chances for backpain... Is it correct? I have undergone this surgery 6 weeks before and many are telling to take rest like lying on bed more time.. Not to sit more...etc. etc..
    • Reply
      Jessy Freimann
      March 28, 2021 at 8:11 pm Hi Ayisha! I've not noticed any back pain due to the surgery. I get some periodically from tweaking it or sleeping on it wrong, but I'm positive it isn't surgery-related. After a few days I was able to be up and around, I had to take it slow but I definitely wasn't chair or bed-ridden. I'd reach out to your doctor. I hope you feel better!
  • Reply
    Lisa lee
    April 9, 2021 at 10:48 pm Hello thank you for this post, I’m getting my tubal ligation in 3 days and my nerves about the general anesthesia give me horrible anxiety. I’m still nervous about surgery but not as bad as before. I’m certain I don’t want anymore children, I have 3 and my youngest baby is a week away from being four months. I have parents that will come stay with me but I’m a single mom so I was worried also about recovery and how I’ll be alone watching for symptoms of anything going wrong. I’m glad to know that you only needed regular medicine after. I too will not take anything stronger than a tylonel if I don’t have to haha. (Reason why I didn’t use birth control) hha but anyways thank you so much for this post it helped me through all my little anxiety fears !
  • Reply
    April 19, 2021 at 6:02 am Hi am 37 in October iv got 4 boys iv had 3 missed carriages and a ectopic and it wasn't nice I can't carry girls which is upsetting , I don't want any more kids so am getting it done am scared of getting it done , iv read your story and sounds so comforting and am ready .
    • Reply
      Jessy Freimann
      April 19, 2021 at 10:12 am I'm so sorry for your losses and that you've had such a difficult time with it. I hope you have a very easy recovery <3

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