Perimenopause pregnancy: is it possible? Keep on reading to find out.
Even as their fertility begins to decline when they grow older, women are still able to bear children. The National Center for Health Statistics in the USA reports that there women 50 and over conceived 743 births in 2014.
It also says that the birth rate for women between the age of 45 and 49 was 0.8 births per 1,000 women. Following this statistic, it proves that in spite of the small numbers, pregnancy is possible in midlife or after 40, especially during perimenopause.
35 seems to be the magic number here. It’s far easier to get pregnant, and deliver a healthy baby before 35 than after.
What Is Perimenopause?
Perimenopause refers to the transition, which could be in months or years leading up to menopause. This is when a woman’s ovaries are less likely to produce estrogen. It usually starts around the age of 40 or above, or sometimes late 30s. When they have finally reached the stage of menopause, the ovaries are no longer able to release eggs.
Perimenopause lasts about 4 years in average. However, it can vary in other women, which could be either a few months or even 10 years. Menopause starts when a woman goes 12 months without having a period.
Symptoms of Perimenopause
There are several symptoms that women experience during perimenopause including:
- Worse premenstrual syndrome
- Hot flashes
- Weight gain
- Breast tenderness
- Lower sex drive
- Depression and anxiety
- Vaginal dryness
- Irregular periods
- Urine leakage during sneezing or coughing
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Mood swings
There are some women who experience some of these symptoms. Then there are others who sadly experience most of them. Nevertheless, going through this stage is normal and natural for many women. This is because sex hormones have been documented to decrease as the years go by.
Even so, women can still become pregnant while in their perimenopausal state because regular ovulation may continue. If they do not want to conceive, they can use some kind of birth control method until they reach menopause.
Learn more about the Symptoms of Perimenopause
Why Conceive During Perimenopause?
Typically, raising a child takes plenty of time and money involved. And women who choose to have a child during their perimenopausal state (generally after 40) is probably because they never had enough time to do so in their younger years. This is likely due to being very busy with their professional careers.
This might have been the case because women wanted to be more financially secure in order to better fulfill the welfare of their children. Plus, having a child in your forties can have a couple of benefits, like being more financially stable and more confident in raising them.
The Possibility of Getting Pregnant During Perimenopause
Premenopause pregnancy: is there a chance for this to happen? Let’s find out!
Limited Numbers of Eggs
All women have a limited number of eggs at the time of birth and as they get older, their capacity of eggs gradually wanes. But the remaining eggs that age, increases the possibility of developing chromosomal abnormalities.
As such, women less fertile and have less chances of getting pregnant. This becomes more apparent when perimenopause symptoms start showing up.
Egg Quality Diminishes over Time
While 30-year old women have less than a 20% chance of getting pregnant, the odds of a 40-year old woman getting pregnant is far less given the diminishing quantity of her eggs.
Interestingly, a perimenopausal woman can resume her regular menstrual cycle after experiencing skipped periods or hot flashes that last for a few months and then go away. This makes it possible for women during perimenopause to conceive while their ovulation can still function. However, irregular periods can make it harder for women to get pregnant.
Keep in mind if you partner is older that sperm quality also diminishes over time as well.
I’m Healthy: Does this Increase My Changes of Getting Pregnant after 40?
One common question that people have is whether or not it makes a difference if they’re healthy, in order to get pregnant when older. For example, you exercise regularly, keep your cholesterol levels in check, and eat lots of fruits and veggies.
Does this make a difference in terms of being able to get pregnant? Not really. By far the most important factor is age.
That said, some infertility issues are related to weight. Being underweight (excessive exercise and/or restrictive diets for example) can cause you to not have a regular periods. Being overweight can have the same result because it can alter hormonal chemistry in your body and you may not ovulate regularly.
However, as long as you’re within a normal weight range, try to stay there if you’re trying to conceive. Don’t go on a crash diet or start training for an ultra-marathon!
Consider your Birth Control
If you anticipate trying to get pregnant during perimenopause, consider your birth control methods nows. Some of them, namely the injectable ones require a period of six months to a year before things get back to normal and you’ll be able to get pregnant.
Talk with your doctor about the best choice of birth control for now, if you plan to get pregnant later.
How to Get Pregnant During Perimenopause?
Do you want to get pregnant in pre menopause? Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Track your Menstrual Cycle to Help with Perimenopause Pregnancy
Some of the best ways to increase your chances of pregnancy is to keep track of your ovulation. But women’s periods can occur occasionally or irregularly during their perimenopausal state. Because of this, it can be very hard or even complicated to know exactly when ovulation occurs, especially when a woman is most fertile.
And the odds of conceiving decrease even further with aging eggs. If a woman desires to have a baby, then tracking her menstrual cycle shouldn’t be the only option. She must also look into signs of ovulation, like breast tenderness and white vaginal discharge known as cervical mucus.
Consult with your Doctor about Perimenopause and Pregnancy
Women in perimenopause who wish to conceive are therefore recommended to consult their doctor to ensure they’re in good health for their pregnancy and for their future child. Perimenopausal women must also follow a proper lifestyle by maintaining a balanced and varied diet and doing exercises to stay fit.
It’s generally recommended that younger couples try for a period of one year to get pregnant before consulting with a doctor for help.
However, if you’re in your late 30’s or 40’s and in perimenopause, you have less time at your disposal. Check in with a fertility specialist far sooner than a year.
Still have a Period? You can Get Pregnant
Perimenopause pregnancy: it’s entirely possible. The key thing to remember is that if you still have a period, you can still get pregnant.
Also keep this in mind if you don’t want to get pregnant. As long as you have a period, use some protection to prevent pregnancy.
Perimenopause Pregnancy Rate
If you’re trying to conceive during pre menopause, you’ll probably want to know what your chances are. According to this article, a 30-year old who is trying to get pregnant (by having unprotected sex without birth control) has a 20% chance in any given month.
For a 40-year old, they have a 5% chance. At 45, if you’re using your own eggs, that chance is only 1%. However, every year there are almost 1000 people in the US who give birth after the age of 50!
It’s for this reason that couples under 35 are encouraged to try for a year on their own before seeking medical help with it. You actually have a very good chance at getting pregnant if you’re trying to.
However, past 35? It’s not that easy and the odds are certainly against you. It’s recommended that you try for six months on your own and then seek help with getting pregnant.
You may also want to consider using the services of a fertility centre from the start, especially if you’re close to, or over 40. Time is not on your side.
As long as you have a period, it’s certainly possible to get pregnant in the years before menopause. However, the older you are, the less of a chance you have.
Check out this chart below for the decrease in fertility as you get older:
Greater Chance of Twins from 35-39
One interesting fact is that between the ages of 35 and 39, you’re most likely to have twins. This is without fertility treatments which are known to increase the odds of a multiple birth.
What normally happens is that you release one egg per cycle. However, when you get older, FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) increase. This can increase the chance that your body releases more than one egg per cycle.
Babies at Age 50: Real Stories
What about Menopause and Pregnancy?
Okay, so you want to know the deal about menopause and pregnancy? Is it possible to get pregnant during menopause? Keep on reading to find out!
You’ve officially moved from perimenopause into menopause when you don’t have a period for one year. It must be a complete year.
For example, if you go six months without a period, but then have one, the clock resets. So, you’d have to go another 12 months, not six months before being considered to be menopausal.
And of course, you need to still be getting periods in order to conceive. It’s as simple as that! No period = no change of pregnancy. Periods = possibility to get pregnant, although the chance diminishes greatly the older you get, particularly into your 40’s.
Let’s sum this up: menopause and pregnancy: it’s not possible because you’re not getting a period.
That said, if you’re still having periods, albeit irregular ones that often come with perimenopause, you can still get pregnant.
What Are The Risks For Conceiving During Perimenopause?
There are risks to a premenopause pregnancy that younger women don’t face.
2-3x Higher Risk of Diabetes with a Perimenopause Pregnancy
The medical risks for women during pregnancy increase as they continue to age. For instance, soon-to-be-mothers aged 35 and above are two to three times likely to develop gestational diabetes than the ones younger to them. There are also greater chances of developing placental issues and high blood pressure.
C-Section, or Vaginal Birth?
Furthermore, an older expecting woman’s uterus may not work as well as that of a younger woman’s when it comes delivering a baby. This is because a 40+ mother-to-be will likely deliver a baby via a caesarian-section, despite the fact that many can deliver babies naturally.
Greater Risk of Ectopic Pregnancy or Miscarriage
Women during perimenopause have a greater risk of going through an ectopic pregnancy, a condition in which the embryo is outside the uterus.
And even though miscarriage can happen at any time, the risk increases with age. The chances of miscarriage for women aged between 40 and 45 is 33% and 45% respectively and that one in two pregnancies end with miscarriages.
What are the Risks of a Later Pregnancy?
Are Babies At Risk During Perimenopausal Pregnancy?
As discussed earlier, older women are more likely to develop chromosomal abnormalities in their aging eggs. Another problem is that children conceived by older women have a higher chance of being born with Down syndrome.
Increased Risk of Down’s Syndrome with Perimenopause and Pregnancy
According to the National Down Syndrome Society, the risk increases from 1 in 1,200 for those aged 25, to 1 in 100 when they reach 40 and then 1 in 10 by age 49. It is therefore recommended that women who are 40+ who want to conceive, undergo several genetic examinations beforehand.
Some women over 40 can also choose to conceive a child through egg donation if they wish to avoid passing on chromosomal disorders to their future baby.
Check out this chart below for more details about the risk of down’s syndrome with pregnancy when older.
Increased Risk of Small, or Pre-Term Baby
The older you are, the more of a chance there is to have a small, or pre-term baby, or a stillborn baby. Above 40 seems to be the number for this one.
Risks of Older Sperm
Most people who are trying to get pregnant during perimenopause have partners who are older as well. Men are physically capable of impregnating someone into their 60’s or 70’s, but the sperm quality deteriorates with age.
This means an increased risk of babies born with genetic defects including down’s syndrome, schizophrenia, and autism.
Am I Pregnant or in Menopause?
Perimenopause pregnancy, or is it menopause? It can be hard to know!
One of the most common causes of missed periods is pregnancy. If you see your doctor about this problem, and are sexually active, a pregnancy test is usually the first thing they’ll give you.
However, if you’re older, menopause is also another common reason for missed periods! How do you know the difference, especially if you’re a relatively older person trying to conceive?
You can also check out the section below for some of the most common perimenopause symptoms, and how they are similar to, and differ from pregnancy symptoms.
Although missed periods can happen with either of these things, one of the most common pregnancy symptoms that doesn’t happen during perimenopause is food cravings/aversion, as well as nausea or vomiting (commonly known as morning sickness).
During perimenopause, hot flashes, or night sweats and difficulty sleeping is quite common, but it’s not in pregnancy.
Pregnant or in Menopause?
Symptoms of Perimenopause
- Hot flashes, and night sweats
- Mood swings
- Vaginal dryness
- Increased frequency of urination
- Irregular periods, including missed periods
Pregnancy Symptoms During Pre Menopause
If you’re trying to get pregnant during pre menopause, you might want to know what some of the signs are:
- Tender, swollen breasts (however, this can also happen before menopause with fluctuating hormones)
- Slight bleeding or cramping, known as implantation bleeding
- Nausea, with or without vomiting
- Food aversions or cravings
- Headaches, which may be triggered by a change in hormones (headaches are also a sign of perimenopause)
- Constipation which is caused by an increase in progesterone
- Mood swings caused by changing hormones (also a sign of pre menopause)
- Missed periods (you can also miss periods before menopause).
Pregnancy Symptoms vs PMS Symptoms
In many ways, pregnancy and PMS look quite similar. However, there are a number of differences that you should be aware of. You can learn more about it here:
Pregnancy Symptoms vs PMS Symptoms
Perimenopause Pregnancy: Have your Say!
Any tips or advice for getting pregnant during perimenopause? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.