Can You Get Pregnant After a Hysterectomy?

Can You Get Pregnant After a Hysterectomy?

You’d think the immediate answer would be no, right?

And you’re not wrong — hysterectomies remove the uterus (your womb), which is vital for carrying a baby.

So, you can’t be pregnant if that’s removed, surely?!

Well, it’s not always that simple…

Especially in cases of partial hysterectomies.

We understand it can be confusing, so that’s why we’re here to go through everything together.

In this article: 📝

  • How does a hysterectomy work?
  • Has anyone ever gotten pregnant after a hysterectomy?
  • Has anyone ever had a successful pregnancy after a hysterectomy?
  • What are the symptoms of pregnancy after a hysterectomy?
  • Hysterectomy fertility FAQs

How does a hysterectomy work?

So, let’s briefly run through how hysterectomies work first, and why women might need them.

Hysterectomies remove a woman’s womb (uterus) through a surgical procedure.

There are a few different types of hysterectomies women can have:

  • Total hysterectomy: Where the uterus and cervix are both removed.
  • Radical hysterectomy: Where all reproductive organs in the pelvis are removed, including lymph nodes, and surrounding tissue.
  • Partial hysterectomy: Also known as ‘Subtotal’, this is where the uterus is removed but the cervix remains.

Hysterectomies are typically most common for women aged 40 - 50, and it can be due to many medical reasons, including:

Can you get pregnant without a uterus?

No — you can’t get pregnant without a womb (also known as a uterus).

So, that should answer our question, right?

Well, that’s correct in almost every case…

But, in some very rare instances, there have been documented cases of pregnancies after hysterectomy procedures. 👇

Has anyone ever gotten pregnant after a hysterectomy?

So, this is where it gets a little more complicated…

Some people, in very rare cases, have become pregnant after a hysterectomy, yes.

There’s a couple of ways this has happened:

Ectopic pregnancy after hysterectomy

An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized egg implants and grows outside the uterus.

As the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries have been removed during a hysterectomy, an ectopic pregnancy following a hysterectomy is rare.

But, in partial hysterectomies where the ovaries and fallopian tubes were not removed, it can happen.

This study described how an ectopic pregnancy happened to a woman nine years after a sub-total hysterectomy (removing the main body of the womb, but leaving the cervix in place).

She reported lower abdominal pain and cramps, and an ectopic pregnancy was diagnosed.

So, yes, it can happen — but it’s rare.

Although, this study shows that since the first reported case in 1895, there have been another 71 cases reported…

It’s also important to know that ectopic pregnancies are life-threatening if left untreated, so you should seek immediate medical care if you think you may be experiencing one.

Abdominal pregnancy after hysterectomy

If you’ve undergone a partial hysterectomy, and your ovaries and fallopian tubes are still intact, you could have an abdominal pregnancy.

An abdominal pregnancy is a rare type of ectopic pregnancy, and it can happen anywhere within the peritoneal cavity.

But, again, we must stress — this is very uncommon.

In fact, it’s estimated to only happen once in every 8,000 to 10,000 pregnancies.

And that’s even less likely after a hysterectomy.

But, there are some documented cases of when it has happened to women who’ve had hysterectomies.

Scientists have since concluded that anybody who has ovaries still in situ, and presents with abdominal or pelvic pain, should be screened for pregnancy.

Phantom pregnancy 👻

Enter, one of the weirder and more unexplained phenomenons around fertility…

Post-hysterectomy or not, women can sometimes experience a ‘phantom’ pregnancy.

It’s also known as pseudocyesis or a ‘false’ pregnancy — where you believe you’re pregnant, but you’re not.

You’d have symptoms of pregnancy, such as nausea, sore breasts, weight gain… (the list goes on).

But there’s no embryo or fetus.

It can be very hard to cope with for both those TTC, or those who aren’t quite ready yet.

And, of course, it’s distressing for those who’ve gone through a hysterectomy and thought they’d not experience feeling pregnant again (or ever).

Phantom pregnancies can last a few days, weeks, or, in some cases, they can go on to imitate the entire 9-month pregnancy duration. 🤯

There’s also no known cause of a phantom pregnancy, and some people also experience phantom kicks, too!

Of course, if you’re getting pregnancy symptoms, it’s important to be seen by your healthcare provider, especially after having a hysterectomy.

Has anyone ever had a successful pregnancy after a hysterectomy?

Bizarrely, yes, it is possible. 🤯

There’s a documented case of a successful pregnancy following a total hysterectomy, which saw the mother carry the baby to 36 weeks.

This was from an abdominal pregnancy, which came after a total hysterectomy.

The reason why she was able to conceive and carry the child safely, was because the hysterectomy procedure was performed three days after she’d had sex.

She gave birth to a healthy child at 36 weeks! 👶

Can you get pregnant after a partial hysterectomy?

A partial hysterectomy — also known as ‘subtotal’ — means not everything is removed.

Typically, your fallopian tubes and ovaries are left, and possibly your cervix, too.

In some rare cases, you can get pregnant from a partial hysterectomy — yes.

But, in most cases, as the uterus is removed, you can no longer become pregnant.

Some fertility centers actually provide support for conceiving after partial hysterectomies, especially to those who had to undergo hysterectomies at a young age.

But it should be noted that it would be based on a case-by-case basis, and certainly not everyone would be able to have this option.

What are the symptoms of pregnancy after a hysterectomy?

Since the most likely reason to be pregnant after a hysterectomy is by ectopic (or abdominal) pregnancy, symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bleeding or brown, watery discharge
  • Pelvic pain, often on one side
  • Light-headedness, fainting, and confusion
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Rectal pain (with the urge to have a bowel movement)
  • Pain in the tip of your shoulder

If you do suspect that you’re pregnant, or you’ve had a positive test after your hysterectomy, it’s really important to seek medical care immediately.

Hysterectomy fertility FAQs

We know the concept of pregnancies after hysterectomies can be confusing. 😖

So, we’ve put together some helpful FAQs to give you a hand understanding it all.

Where does sperm go after hysterectomy?

Well, kind of… nowhere. 🤷‍♀️

The sperm will likely stay inside the vagina, rather than make its journey up to the reproductive organs.

And it will eventually come out of your body alongside normal vaginal secretions. 💦

Where do eggs go after a hysterectomy?

That depends on what type of hysterectomy you’ve had.

If your ovaries are still in place, they’ll function as normal, so monthly hormones and eggs will still be released into your abdomen and, eventually, they’ll disappear. 🥚

If you’ve had your ovaries removed as part of your hysterectomy, you won’t produce any more eggs at all.

Do ovaries still ovulate after hysterectomy?

As long as you’ve had a type of hysterectomy where your ovaries are left in place, yes, you will still ovulate.

But, you won’t have a menstrual period, or be able to become pregnant (in theory…).

If your ovaries are removed, too, then nope — no ovulation can take place.

Can ovaries grow back after hysterectomy?

No — your ovaries can’t grow back.

But, in some very rare cases where ovarian tissue is inadvertently left behind after a difficult procedure removing them, they can become functional.

This is known as Ovarian Remnant Syndrome (ORS).

It doesn’t form new cells, but straggling cells that are left behind can begin to produce hormones, but also can cause pelvic pain and discomfort.

If you’ve recently had an oophorectomy (a procedure to remove both of your ovaries), you will likely be monitored for this, but make sure to get in touch with your doctor if you experience any symptoms.

Can you reverse a hysterectomy?

No — a hysterectomy can’t be reversed.

Unlike vasectomies, once it’s done, it’s done. 🤷‍♀️

It’s a permanent procedure that can’t be taken back.

So, there you have it!

All you need to know about pregnancies after hysterectomies.

Got a question we’ve not covered here?

Or maybe you want to chat with other women about getting pregnant after a hysterectomy?

That’s exactly what Peanut is here for — we’re having the conversion. 🥜


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