Pregnancy After Menopause

Pregnancy after Menopause
Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 

With so many new ways for conceiving, new and improved* technology and IVF, chances of women getting pregnant after menopause remains higher than ever (but could not be very easy as easy as selling pies!).

What Menopause Does?

Many women view menopause as the end of their fertility a time of their life when they can no longer conceive. The body changes drastically, especially hormones, and women no longer get monthly cycles. The hormone that triggers the period is no longer active and strong as it was several years before. The amount of estrogen and progesterone lower, demolishing the chances to get pregnant. Menopause is natural, but it can cause several uncomfortable symptoms. Luckily, it can be treated. Very rarely is menopause caused by operation or medication. Women usually go into menopause at 51, but it can happen as early as 40 years old and as late as 51.

What Does Pregnancy after Menopause Mean?

Menopause is not something that happens over night. It is a process that can last up to 12 months. During this period, periods can still happen, and hormones still work properly. This is the time, women can still get pregnant.

Can Woman Get Pregnant After Menopause?

Even though there are risks for getting pregnant after menopause, some women still go for it. The process itself can take several months (or up to 5 years to complete). During the transitional process, women can still get pregnant. Hormone levels are low, but they can still produce enough to help conceiving. For older women, risks of pregnancy are higher, as the eggs age. Older eggs usually mean higher chances for chromosomal abnormalities. To consider a woman infertile, a woman needs to pass 12 months without a cycle. For those who don’t want to risk it, it is recommended to use contraception for two years after the last period. However, if they want it, the advanced medical science and technology can potentially make it happen although some even conceive naturally.

Risks of Getting Pregnant After Menopause

There are several risks associated with getting pregnant after a menopause. Women now have fewer hormones, older eggs, and that all translates in risks. Some of the risks associated with childbirth include: hypertension, miscarriage, placenta previa, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes. Those are all of the risks women over 50 (after menopause) are knowingly taking. Also, they have three times higher risk of premature birth, fetal mortality and low birth weight.

Preventing Pregnancy after Menopause

For women who don’t want to risk getting pregnant after menopause, there are several ways to protect themselves. Since contraception and birth control pills are also risky during this period, a common solution is diaphragm, IUD, or sometimes, a permanent option like tubal ligation. Surgeries should be carefully and thoughtfully considered, and sometimes, they are the last resort. Women taking contraception should continue using it for two years after the last period, in order to make sure everything will be all right.

Tips for Getting Pregnant after Menopause

When it comes to conceiving after menopause, women should be very careful. They should try to minimize the risks as much as possible. In order to do that, there are several tips to improve* fertility and boost* chances of getting pregnant.

  • Women should bring their body to the highest possible level of wellness, before getting pregnant. This is especially vital for women after menopause. They should also start consuming prenatal vitamins and 400 microgram supplement of folic acid at least 3 months before trying to get pregnant. Other recommended minerals and vitamins are 1500mg of calcium and 900mg of vitamin D.
  • Future mothers should get their body mass index (BMI) in between 18.5 and 24.9 before trying to get pregnant. Diet based on foods that are low in calories, but high in nutrients is recommended. Obesity is risk factor in normal pregnancies, and even more in after menopause pregnancies. Women should also avoid food with white sugar (fine sugar), saturated fats, processed food and saturated fats.
  • Women in their menopause should visit their primary health care provider, and make the common tests like hemoglobin A1C, lipid profile, tests for STD (sexually transmitted diseases), pap smear, blood test for diabetes and mammogram. These laboratory examinations can tell if there any signs that might complicate the pregnancy.
  • Running a FSH test to determine if they are still ovulating is essential for menopause women who trying to get pregnant. Should the test is above 11.4, women can no longer produce their own eggs, and no medication will help stimulate ovulation. In this case, women are forced to think outside of the box, and search for help from fertility centers. The chances for successful birth are 1.9% if the women use their own eggs, but this can be improved* with using egg donors and IVF. To further improve* the chances, specialists will test for presence of genetic defects in embryos before implantation.

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Author

Expert Author : Peony C Echavez (Consumer Health Digest)

Peony is a registered nurse, and former Director of Nursing services for a large nursing facility. She has written web content for a large health education website, and currently creates content for a number of health practisioners.