Menopause and Pregnancy

pregnancy menopauseFacing menopause can potentially be a very distressing stage in a woman`s life.  Not only must she face the end of her fertility, but also cope with the physical changes in her body and the emotional challenges that this stage of life often presents.

The loss of the option to become pregnant often brings the feeling that youth is gone and can be a very challenging time in a woman`s life.  Not surprisingly, some women struggle with mixed emotions and can feel quite depressed when they notice the first signs of menopause and require lots of love and support from those closest to them.

However, for other women, it signals a time of freedom from the worry of pregnancy or birth control.  Many women relish the feelings of liberation and enjoy having the free time now that children have moved away from home.  They can enjoy more time with their spouse and pay attention to their own well being and desires.

Is It Possible To Become Pregnant During Menopause?

You may or may or may not be  surprised to hear that it is possible – although rare – to become pregnant while going through menopause and I feel it important that you understand how this can happen.

Keep in mind that menopause is a gradual process that takes place over several years, usually beginning around the age of fifty one.  Many women view it as a sudden event that happens in a matter of months. In fact, menopause only occurs once a woman has gone for twelve consecutive months without having a period. The ceasing of production of the hormones, estrogen and progesterone means that the ovaries will no longer produce eggs, which means that it would be physically impossible to become pregnant naturally.  Pregnancy in menopause requires an adequate supply of estrogen to happen at all.

However, especially during the early stages of menopause, when a woman`s hormone are fluctuating, it is possible to become pregnant.  And providing that there is no medical reason why she cannot become pregnant it may be wise talking to a doctor about birth control during menopause.

Does The Chances Of Pregnancy Decrease Once Menopausal Symptoms Begin?

As menopause does not follow the exact same pattern for every woman, once a menstrual period starts to become irregular, many women wrongly believe that they are in the early stages.  When in fact, this may be the beginning of the peri-menopause phase and the irregular periods may last for years.  At anytime during this stage of menopause pregnancy can occur, although many women wrongly believe that it cannot and cease using birth control.

Although there have recently been reports of older women becoming pregnant after menopause through egg donation, it is important to remember that there are certain risks for all `older` moms.

What Are The Risks Of A Later In Life Pregnancy?

Women who become pregnant in menopause have an increased risk of infection, miscarriage, bleeding and several other potentially serious medical conditions. Furthermore, medical research has discovered that the risk grows even higher with each year that passes after the age of forty.

And so, while it is rare for women going through menopause to become pregnant, it is certainly not impossible.  While you are still having menstrual periods – no matter how irregular they are – there is always the possibility of pregnancy in menopause.

So unless you would welcome a new addition to your family, don`t give up on the birth control.

Menopause Food

food for menopauseAlthough we should always maintain a healthy lifestyle – taking enough exercise, limiting caffeine, eating well etc – most of us take our good health for granted.  Then wham! menopause hits and if we haven`t got our diet in place, with the right menopause food and menopause vitamins , we really start to feel the impact.

Our digestive tract becomes less efficient, digestion takes longer and we finds it harder to cope with foods that are high in calories and low in nutritional value.

Our body still needs at least the same amount of nutrients as it did before and possibly even more of certain ones and a diet which is low in fat, sugar and salt and high in fiber, will reduce the physical and mental symptoms of menopause.

SOY

When we talk about  which menopause food is beneficial, top of the agenda surely must be soy and soya products.  It is widely known that the ladies of China and Japan, who eat a diet rich in soy, suffer from fewer menopausal symptoms than western women.  These ladies also appear to have much lower incidences of diseases such as osteoporosis, breast cancer and heart disease.

As soy contains a weak compound similar to estrogen, this is suspected to be the reason.  Soy products are widely available in supermarkets and can be taken as

  • Milk
  • Beans
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt

And a wide variety of ready made products.

VITAMIN E

It has been suggested that vitamin E may help to reduce hot flashes and some of the foods that are rich in this vitamin, are:

  • Avocado
  • Peanut oil
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Tuna in oil
  • Sunflower oil

CALCIUM

Calcium is important throughout life, but particularly during and after the menopause when loss of it can lead to osteoporosis. By including about 1500mg of calcium in your diet with plenty of calcium rich menopause foods, you will minimise the risk. Foods such as:

  • Almondsmenopause food
  • Dried apricots
  • Soya
  • flour
  • Sardines
  • Spinach
  • Watercress
  • Yoghurt

FAT

Too much fat is cause of concern for many people – and rightly so. Supermarkets are full of low fat or fat free products which can be mind boggling, so rather than spend time scouring around for the lowest fat items, get into the habit of using less fat generally.  Take your bread without it, don’t put a dollop on your vegetables and use sparingly when frying food.  All simple measures which add up to a massive saving in fat calories.

OMEGA 3

Omega 3 essential fatty acids are found in oily fish, but an even richer source is Flaxseed.  I personally take one dessertspoonful every day.  Not strictly a menopause food I suppose, but I`m convinced that my hair, nails and skin benefit from it.

IRON

To get your adequate intake of iron – the recommended dietary allowance for women is 8 milligrams a day, eat 3 portions of:

  • Lean red meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Free range eggs
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Grain products

FIBER

Most adult women should eat about 20 grams of fiber per day from foods such as:

  • Whole grain breads
  • Cereals (not the sugary type)
  • Pasta
  • Brown rice
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables

CARBOHYDRATES

Carbohydrates are not the villains they are sometimes made out to be and we need them for energy.  If we don`t get enough complex carbohydrates in our diet, we will be more likely to grab something sweet, which will make us feel tired and lethargic.

It is important to make sure that you get enough B-complex vitamins in your diet.

  • Pulses
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower and other most green vegetables are all good sources of carbohydrates and the B vitamins

Following these simple guidelines on the best menopausal food will help reduce the need for pharmaceutical remedies.

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