Menopause & Pregnancy
Imagine the scene if you will.
Marjorie and her husband Ken (not their real names), were settling down for a romantic night in front of the television, when Marjorie quietly leaned over and informed her husband that they were expecting the pitter patter of tiny feet! Apparently Ken almost fell off his chair.
Now normally, this would be a cause for celebration, but what if I told you that Marjorie and Ken were both in their early fifties and they had brought up three children, prior to taking early retirement? This was supposed to be `their` time, when they had no-one to please but themselves.
You would probably be shocked and then surprised at this story, I know I was when my friends told me. You see, I didn`t realise that a woman could become pregnant once she had started menopause. Unfortunately, neither did Marjorie. She had taken birth control right up until she began suffering from hot flashes and `spotting` and then she stopped. You see Marjorie, as many women do, had wrongly assumed that because she was displaying menopausal symptoms, that she was now infertile.
Many of us believe that menopause is an event with a start and a finish that signals the end of fertility from day one. But, that is incorrect and it is a process that could potentially last for ten years (yikes) usually beginning somewhere in our early fifties. Although some women do suffer from premature menopause and they can go through it many years earlier than this. All that the symptoms mean is that our hormone levels are becoming unbalanced, but this does not mean that we are unable to conceive.
It`s true that as a woman ages, her fertility decreases and so it becomes less likely that she will fall pregnant naturally – but it is not impossible. In fact there are many stories available to read online of ladies over fifty giving birth naturally.
That`s all well and good, providing you are ready to welcome a new born baby into your life, but this article is for those menopausal women who are looking forward to the freedom from child rearing that age and maturity usually brings.
So, how can it happen that a woman is going through menopause and yet she is still fertile? Easy, while eggs are still being released and there is an adequate supply of the necessary hormones, she can still become pregnant.
It doesn`t matter that her periods may be all over the place or she is so bloated that she resembles a small planet, providing that she is still having her monthly period, pregnancy is possible. In fact, it is wise to continue with birth control until there has been no show of blood for twelve consecutive months. After this time, it is impossible to become pregnant naturally as there would not be an adequate supply of estrogen to facilitate the process.
Apart from the psychological aspects of a late pregnancy, there are of course health considerations to think about for those women who become pregnant in menopause.
This list is by no means comprehensive, but it will give you an idea of the dangers.
There is an increased risk of infection, miscarriage, bleeding and several other potentially dangerous medical conditions. Furthermore, medical research has proven that the risk grows even higher with every passing year over the age of forty.
So, if you are coming up to an age where night sweats and hot flashes beckon and you don`t fancy the idea of early morning feeds and dirty diapers – don`t take a chance and hope for the best. Make sure that you continue with the birth control.