Pregnancy After Menopause

Pregnancy After Menopause is Not Possible

There are several old wives tales about pregnancy after menopause.  But are any of them true?  Many people say they know of some women who have gone through menopause and then became pregnant.  It is much more likely that their bodies had started the process of going through menopause, but they were not truly post menopausal.

To understand the answer to this question, you have to know what menopause is and what changes in a woman’s body.  For some women, menopause begins early and some enter menopause after having a hysterectomy.  Early menopause can have several causes, including illnesses.  A common misunderstanding about menopause is that it is a process, not an event.  Many times a woman will think that she is past menopause, while her body is really still going through the stage.  It can take five to ten years for some women to become post menopausal.

Menopause is the time when a woman’s body begins to slow down the production of estrogen and progesterone.  These are the hormones that trigger ovulation.  During this wind down of hormone production, there can still be eggs in the ovaries, and so pregnancy is possible.  A woman is said to be in menopause when her menstrual cycle stops for twelve consecutive months.

It may be wise to practice some type of birth control during the menopause process.  Doctors will often recommend methods of birth control other than the birth control pill because they don’t want to interfere with the menopause process with the introduction of synthetic hormones.  Tubal ligation, diaphragms, or intrauterine devices are usually recommended to women to prevent pregnancy during menopause.  Since pregnancy after menopause from natural means is impossible due to the lack of egg production.

Women who wish to have a pregnancy after menopause still have options.  Women can use egg donors.  The egg is fertilized outside the womb and then implanted in the uterus.  Women after menopause need to take hormones leading up to this procedure in order to prepare the uterine lining to accept the eggs or embryos.  Timing is important and several attempts may be necessary before a successful implantation is made.  Besides the risk of failure and the many health risks of a pregnancy at an older age, there is a real risk of multiples:  twins, triplets, and even octuplets.

There are many reasons not to attempt a pregnancy after menopause.  There are many risks for the woman.  Pregnancies become being treated as high risk when the woman reaches the age of 35.  The possibility of serious risks increases with every year after that age.  Any pregnancy carries risk.  Gestational diabetes is a common complication of pregnancy and is increasingly common in older pregnant women.  Eclampsia, hypertension, bleeding, embolisms, and seizures are all also frequent complications in a high risk pregnancy, especially in an older woman.  Becoming pregnant after or during menopause is often unhealthy for the mother and unfortunately also unhealthy for the baby, since miscarriage is also a common complication that is encountered by the older pregnant woman.

If having a baby is the decision you’ve made, using a surrogate mother may bring you the satisfaction you need and also protect your health and the health of your baby.  The surrogate mother will be someone that a doctor has certified is in good health.  You’ll want to make sure that the surrogate mother also is in good emotional health, as the process of carrying a baby and then giving it up can be very difficult.  If you are still producing eggs, some will be harvested and then fertilized in the lab.  The surrogate will be given hormones in preparation for implantation of the eggs.  In this type of pregnancy, there is also a high risk of multiple babies since more than one egg is implanted at a time.




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