Is It Safe to Get Pregnant After a LEEP Procedure?

Risks to be aware of and what to ask your healthcare provider

Loop electrosurgical excision procedure, commonly known as LEEP, is a procedure that's done to treat persistent, low-grade and high-grade cervical dysplasia, a precancerous condition of the cervix.

LEEP uses an electrically charged wire loop to remove cervical tissue. It's done under local anesthesia and is normally performed on an outpatient basis in a hospital or in the healthcare provider's office.

What to Expect During a Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure
Verywell / JR Bee

Pregnancy After LEEP

When faced with the prospect of undergoing a LEEP procedure, many people are concerned about how it will affect future pregnancies. Tales of infertility, miscarriage, and preterm labor are often the first things that people hear when researching a LEEP.

According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, there is a small increase in the risk of premature births and having a low birth weight baby after a LEEP procedure, but most people have no problems.

Pregnancy Risks

There are several reasons that a LEEP procedure is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage.

Cervical Incompetence

When your cervix is diagnosed as "incompetent," it means that the cervix is unable to stay closed during pregnancy. Cervical incompetence can result in miscarriage and preterm labor.

However, a cervical cerclage can be done to ensure that the cervix remains closed during the pregnancy. This means that the cervix is sewn closed for the duration of the pregnancy. Only a small percentage of people who have had a LEEP will require a cerclage during pregnancy.


One study showed that women who became pregnant less than a year after their LEEP procedures had a higher risk of miscarriage. The good news is that the same study showed that women who were a year or more beyond their LEEP procedures had no more risk of miscarriage than any other women.

Cervical Stenosis

This refers to the tightening and narrowing of the cervix. This can make it difficult for the cervix to dilate during labor.

Difficulty Getting Pregnant

There are some concerns about fertility after a LEEP procedure. Research has yielded mixed results, but at least one study indicates that your ability to get pregnant is not affected.

There is also about a 10% risk of preterm delivery that's associated with LEEP, though many people do go on to have healthy, full-term pregnancies.

The ways in which a future pregnancy will be affected by a LEEP depend on how much cervical tissue has been removed and whether this particular procedure or any other cervical surgery has been previously performed. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.

Questions for Your Healthcare Provider

There are several questions that you should ask your healthcare provider about LEEP if you plan on becoming pregnant. They include:

  • How do you think a LEEP will affect my pregnancy?
  • Is a LEEP the only treatment option I have?
  • How long will it take for my cervix to recover?
  • When can I begin to have sex again? (The average time to wait before having sex is about four to six weeks. It may be more or less depending on how much cervical tissue needed to be removed.)
  • How long after a LEEP can I try to get pregnant?

Cervical Cancer Doctor Discussion Guide

Get our printable guide for your next healthcare provider's appointment to help you ask the right questions.

Doctor Discussion Guide Woman

During Pregnancy

Be sure to inform your healthcare provider if you have had a LEEP at your first obstetric appointment. Providing your healthcare provider with information, such as notes taken by the healthcare provider who performed the LEEP and the associated pathology reports, will help them determine the best way to manage your pregnancy.

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3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Nam KH, Kwon JY, Kim YH, Park YW. Pregnancy outcome after cervical conization: risk factors for preterm delivery and the efficacy of prophylactic cerclageJ Gynecol Oncol. 2010;21(4):225–229. doi:10.3802/jgo.2010.21.4.225

  2. Ciavattini A, Clemente N, Delli carpini G, et al. Loop electrosurgical excision procedure and risk of miscarriage. Fertil Steril. 2015;103(4):1043-8. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2014.12.112

  3. Kyrgiou M, Mitra A, Arbyn M, et al. Fertility and early pregnancy outcomes after treatment for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia: systematic review and meta-analysisBMJ. 2014;349:g6192. doi:10.1136/bmj.g6192

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