Can You Get Pregnant After Menopause? Your Guide to Pregnancy After 50
Though it is more rare, it is possible for women to get pregnant after menopause. Read here for a complete guide to having a safe pregnancy after age 50.
The average age at which women go through menopause is 51. If you think you might be nearing menopause but you still want to have children, you shouldn’t panic.
Can you get pregnant after menopause? The answer isn’t as simple as you might think.
But rest assured, there is hope. In our guide to pregnancy after 50, we answer some of the questions you might have during this transition.
What is Menopause?
Menopause marks the end of your menstrual cycles. It is officially diagnosed when your periods have been nonexistent for twelve consecutive months.
But there’s more to menopause than just missed periods. In fact, menopause is actually comprised of two different stages: perimenopause and postmenopause.
Let’s go over what those terms mean.
Perimenopause is the years leading up to menopause. Your body begins to go through changes.
Although the average age of menopause is 51, it varies for every woman. Some women enter into perimenopause as early as their late thirties; some, as late as their early fifties.
Perimenopause also varies in length. This process usually goes on for a few years. Sometimes, it can last as long as eight years.
So, how should you expect to feel during this time? Unfortunately, for many women, perimenopause does come with some symptoms.
These symptoms can include:
- Night sweats
- Hot flashes
- Lowered sex drive
- Breast tenderness
- Dryness in the vagina
- Weight gain
The most common and significant symptom is irregular periods. Your ovaries are gradually decreasing their estrogen production, so you may experience shorter, lighter, and less frequent periods.
If you are wanting to get pregnant, the good news is that it is still possible to conceive naturally during the perimenopause stage.
If you wish to avoid pregnancy, be sure to continue any use of birth control during perimenopause. Pregnancy only becomes impossible once your periods have been absent for at least one year.
Once your last period was one year ago, you have “achieved” menopause. The following stage is called postmenopause.
The benefit of being in postmenopause is that you no longer have to worry about periods or the symptoms that periods can bring.
But, as you might have guessed, postmenopause brings its own problems.
There are various physical issues that you’ll need to look out for. Due to decreased elasticity and moisture levels, you may experience vaginal symptoms such as discomfort/bleeding during intercourse or urinary tract infections.
Lower estrogen levels, too, bring a higher risk of certain health conditions. These conditions include cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
Your physical health isn’t the only thing you should be taking care of. Many women experience depression during/after menopause, so make sure you are in tune with your mental health.
If you are a person who visits the doctor regularly, keep doing so. If you’ve been skipping trips to the doctor, menopause marks a great time to resume regular visits.
While you’re there, you can speak to your doctor about the various menopause treatments that are available.
Can You Get Pregnant After Menopause?
As previously stated, you can still get pregnant naturally during perimenopause. The chances are lower due to decreased fertility, but the possibility exists.
However, your chances of conceiving naturally once you reach the postmenopausal stage are nonexistent.
But just because you cannot conceive naturally doesn’t mean that you can’t conceive at all.
The impossibility of becoming pregnant after menopause comes from the body’s inability to keep producing eggs. But the rest of the body’s reproductive system is usually still functional.
Therefore, using an egg from an outside source is still an option. This process is known as In Vitro Fertilization, or IVF.
In Vitro Fertilization
For IVF, you can use your own eggs if you had them frozen ahead of time. If not, you can use a donor egg.
IVF is tough, even on younger women. It often takes many attempts. And for women over fifty, the risks are higher.
But it has been successful in many cases. In 2016, a woman in her 70s gave birth thanks to IVF.
If this is something you want to do, you should remain optimistic but also educate yourself on the associated risks.
Pregnancy and Childbirth Risks for Women Over Fifty
As a pregnant woman over 50, the chances that you will need a cesarean section are significantly higher.
You also have a higher chance of developing gestational diabetes. Diabetes of any kind can be dangerous, especially if you’re not used to monitoring your blood sugars.
Pregnancy-induced high blood pressure is a concern in these cases, as well.
Furthermore, some risks are extended to the baby. Older mothers have a higher chance of miscarriage, stillbirth, and babies with chromosomal abnormalities.
Yet, these are all problems that a young mother could encounter, too. If getting pregnant is something that you are determined to do, you shouldn’t give up without first seeing if this option could work for you.
Currently, it is the only option with a reasonable chance of success. But there are clinical trials in place for menopause reversal, so if you’ve got a few more years, the future could be promising.
Motherhood is a Gift
So, to recap everything we’ve gone over:
Can you get pregnant after menopause? Yes.
Should you get pregnant after menopause? It depends on your situation. If you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally capable, then we encourage you to explore the possibility.
Request an appointment with us at Apple Hill Gynecology to begin your journey toward motherhood.