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Getting pregnant: Laparoscopy can identify barriers to conception

If you've tried taking a fertility drug, such as clomid, to help you conceive and you have not become pregnant, you may be a candidate for laparoscopy.

During a laparoscopy, your doctor can get a close look at your uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries to learn more about why you're having trouble getting pregnant.

How laparoscopy is performed

During a laparoscopy, a small incision is made below your navel. A surgical instrument (laparoscope) is inserted through the incision, and some gas is put into the abdominal cavity. The gas allows the surgeon to see the contents of the abdomen through the laparoscope. After the laparoscopy, the gas is removed and the incision is stitched.

Sometimes, problems that your doctor sees during the laparoscopy can be treated at that time through the laparoscope. For example, if there is tissue creating blockage around an ovary or fallopian tube, the doctor can often remove it during the procedure.

How you'll feel afterwards

Laparoscopy is generally a fairly easy procedure. It takes about an hour, and is usually done on an outpatient basis, which means that you can go home the same day.

Afterwards, the incision in your abdomen will probably be sore and tender. You are likely to have abdominal discomfort too, because of the air that was pumped in.

Your doctor or other member of the health care team will talk to you about your recovery time. Most people begin to get back into their regular routines about two days after the procedure. Don't be hard on yourself if you feel like taking it easy for a little longer than you expected.

Call your doctor if you develop fever, chills, difficulty breathing, or increasing pain in your abdomen after the laparoscopy.

Don't hesitate to ask questions

Even though the laparoscopy is not considered serious surgery, don't hesitate to ask your doctor any questions you have about the procedure. It is important for you to understand the reasons the procedure is recommended by your doctor, the expected findings and the possible complications from the procedure.

And don't forget to tell your doctor about any kinds of medications you take, including prescription drugs, herbal medications or other over-the-counter products.


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Source: Health Online, Inc.; Wesson N. Natural Mothering. Healing Arts Press, 1997

First published: 03/07/2000
Last updated: 10/14/2007

Reviewed by: Michael Slama, MD, Allina Medical Clinic-Coon Rapids Women's Health