Becoming pregnant after an endometrial ablation is usually unlikely, but it can happen. Pregnancy after ablation can have a higher risk of complications.

Endometrial ablation is a procedure to remove a thin layer of the uterus lining to help prevent heavy bleeding during menstruation.

This article looks at the likelihood of pregnancy and the risk of pregnancy complications after endometrial ablation.

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This feature mentions pregnancy loss, stillbirth, or both. Please read at your own discretion.

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The chance of pregnancy after ablation is low, but it can still happen. Endometrial ablation can increase the risk of pregnancy complications.

According to a 2020 study involving 18,559 women who had endometrial ablation, 575 of them, or 3.1%, had a pregnancy of at least 20 weeks gestation after having an ablation.

Some studies in a 2023 research review showed that the estimated pregnancy rate following ablation was 0.24–5.2%.

Pregnancy after endometrial ablation is rare. Few case studies exist on pregnancy symptoms after having endometrial ablation. Guidelines on how healthcare professionals manage these cases are currently unavailable.

Early symptoms of pregnancy may include one or more of the following:

Pregnancy after ablation has a high risk of complications, including:

  • pregnancy loss
  • intrauterine growth restriction, which is when the fetus does not grow to the usual size
  • preterm birth
  • stillbirth
  • emergency cesarean section delivery
  • placenta accreta, which is when the placenta does not detach from the uterus wall and can be life threatening

Some cases of pregnancy after ablation can lead to the death of the birthing parent, fetus, or newborn.

If people have heavy menstrual bleeding, it is best to discuss all the treatment options with a doctor and consider the potential side effects of treatments.

It is a good idea to understand the long-term effects ablation may have on fertility, particularly if people want to become pregnant in the future.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) advises that people who wish to become pregnant do not undergo endometrial ablation.

If people think they may be pregnant after having endometrial ablation, it is advisable to contact a doctor to discuss the potential pregnancy complications.

Some researchers suggest that people use effective contraceptive methods to prevent pregnancy after endometrial ablation.

They also suggest that people understand the risks if contraception does not work, which could result in pregnancy.

The ACOG recommends that people use birth control following endometrial ablation until after menopause. They also recommend sterilization to prevent pregnancy following ablation.

If people decide to become pregnant after endometrial ablation, they may wish to consider discussing the potential pregnancy complications with a doctor.

Working with a healthcare professional can help people make informed decisions and discuss how to manage the pregnancy for the safest outcome.

This section answers some frequently asked questions about pregnancy after endometrial ablation.

Can you get pregnant after having an ablation and no periods?

Although it is unlikely, it is possible to get pregnant after having endometrial ablation.

This may occur if some of the endometrium remains or regrows and functions after the procedure and contraception does not work.

It can also be difficult to become pregnant with irregular periods or no periods because people may not ovulate as frequently as necessary to become pregnant.

Can you maintain pregnancy after endometrial ablation?

The 2023 review above shared that some reports on maintaining pregnancy and delivering after ablation are available.

There is a high risk of pregnancy complications after ablation, though, and the overall outlook of maintaining pregnancy is low.

Can the lining of the uterus grow back after an ablation?

Ablation aims to destroy the uterus lining, or endometrium, before it can grow back.

In some cases, a few endometrial glands may remain after the procedure. These glands can then regenerate into areas of functional endometrium, allowing pregnancy to occur.

It is possible to become pregnant after endometrial ablation, although this is not likely.

Endometrial ablation can increase the risk of serious pregnancy complications, so experts recommend people use contraceptive methods to prevent pregnancy after ablation.

It is important to consider ablation’s effects on fertility before the procedure. If people think they may be pregnant after having ablation, experts advise that they contact a doctor to discuss the potential complications.