Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Can you get pregnant after going through menopause?

As women age, their hormone levels fall and menopause begins, ultimately resulting in their ovaries, no longer producing eggs. However, while many women believe that menopause happens overnight, the process can actually take years to complete. Until the process is complete, a woman can get pregnant.

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Becoming Pregnant During Menopause - The Menopause Baby

When a woman goes through the menopause, her body phases out menstrual cycles until they stop completely. The woman may go for months or even a year between having one period and the next. This long time frame is at the heart of the undiscovered menopause baby.

During the time when the female body is not having a menstrual cycle, the body may still be releasing those last few eggs. If the egg is released and there is a viable sperm waiting to fertilize the egg, the female can, and will, get pregnant.

Thanks to the lack of a normal menstrual cycle, the female may not notice they are pregnant until they are months into the pregnancy. There have even been cases where mothers of climbing age have gone to the hospital with stomach and back pains only to leave the hospital a few days later with a baby in their arms.

Definitely, chances of pregnancy are lower in your menopausal years than during your 20s and 30s. By the time you are 40, your chances of becoming pregnant naturally are reduced by 50%. This percentage continues to decline the older you get. However, you are not completely infertile until your periods have stopped for at least one complete year. In fact, two-thirds of women between the ages of 40 and 44 ovulate regularly during perimenopause.

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Detecting the Menopause Baby

The tricky point sometimes related to the fact that the perimenopausal symptoms mirror greatly the pregnancy symptoms, so it is easy to oversee the pregnancy signs, when you consider yourself of being in menopause. Of course, the most obvious is the missed period caused by perimenopause and pregnancy.

During pregnancy, fatigue sets in and most women find that it's difficult to get up in the morning. Often this is because of the change of hormones produced and energy used by the body for pregnancy. Perimenopausal women also experience fatigue but it comes from interrupted sleep caused by their change in hormones.

Both pregnant women and perimenopausal women have a reputation for mood swings. They both occur for the same reason, changes in the body's hormones.

Hot flashes seldom occur in pregnant women, so if you have all the above symptoms and hot flashes, you're probably not pregnant.

So, it is important as the female goes through the cycle of menopause to keep regular gynecological checkups. These checkups will allow for the doctor to examine the female and possibly detect the rouge pregnancy before it is too late to begin prenatal care.

It is important to keep track of all your menstrual cycles well into menopause and take note of any changes occurring in the body. There are clear signs when a pregnancy begins that will not be synonymous with menopause. These symptoms may include total cessation of periods, an unexplained increased in weight and swelling of the extremities.

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Preventing the Menopausal Pregnancy

A lot of perimenopausal are unaware of the facts surrounding pregnancy during menopause. More than 60% of unintended pregnancies in women over 40 are aborted. More than 50% of women between 45 and 49 are not using contraception. 10% of these women in this age group use natural methods to protect against pregnancy. Natural methods may not be enough to prevent pregnancy during this time. Your periods are too irregular, and symptoms of menopause may distort your cycle. Although your risks are low, don't get caught unaware.

Pregnancy after the age of 35 is associated with a number of risks for both you and your baby. Chances of premature birth, low birth weight and still birth all increase after 35. Your baby also has a greater chance of being born in a breech position or via cesarean section. After 40, dangers to you and your baby increase again. You are at increased risk for developing bone loss or osteoporosis. There is also a greater risk of your baby developing gestational diabetes or chromosome abnormalities. Additionally, chances of spontaneous abortion increase.

If you really don't want to become pregnant, then look into getting some contraception that is appropriate for you and your lifestyle.

The most popular method of contraception among women over 40 is sterilization. Tubal ligation is a simple process in which your doctor cuts, ties, or clamps your fallopian tubes to prevent any eggs from traveling to you uterus. This process must be done in hospital under general anesthetic, but recovery time is only about one day. 20% of menopausal women have partners who have been sterilized.  Vasectomies are quickly and safely performed, and involve cutting the vans deferens (the tube that carries sperm) to prevent fertilization.

Oral contraceptives continue to be one of the most popular methods of contraception. They also have the added benefit of reducing symptoms associated with menopause, including hot flashes and vaginal dryness. However, oral contraceptives can put older women at risk for strokes and heart attacks.

Barrier protection, like condoms, sponges, and cervical caps are well suited to women who only need occasional contraception. Barrier methods also provide protection against some sexually transmitted diseases.

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If you Want to Have a Baby

While biologically it seems impossible to get pregnant after menopause (once you have been without your period for an entire year and confirmed with your doctor), 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.

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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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