Menopause is the time in a women's life when her reproductive system shuts down and her reproducing days are over... or are they? For some women, pregnancy is still a concern during menopause. How is this possible? There may be more than one factor that plays a role in the possibility. For this reason, the best way to understand how pregnancy can occur in menopause is to understand what happens to a women's body during this change of life.
For starters, menopause occurs when a women has gone 12 consecutive months without a period cycle. The lack of menses is a sign that estrogen and progesterone production have stopped. The ceasing of these hormones means that the ovaries will no longer produce eggs. However, sometimes, even though a woman is menopausal, she may still produce enough estrogen for an egg to be implanted within the uterus lining.
The reason why hormone production can still occur is due to the fact that menopause is not characterized by a single event. It is better described as a process that takes place over a few years. Therefore, it is not unheard of for a woman to have fluctuating hormones for as many as five years after she becomes menopausal. At any time during this five year period when hormones are unpredictable, it's possible for a woman to become pregnant during menopause.
Thus, if there is no other reason why a woman cannot become pregnant (I.E. previous hysterectomy or medical condition), she may want to consider talking to her doctor about birth control during menopause if pregnancy is a concern.
Women cannot become pregnant naturally when they are post menopausal (after they have completed menopause). This is because they no longer produce the hormones that are required for menses to take place. Women who believe they have become pregnant after menopause actually became pregnant during menopause because it is not possible to become pregnant without medical intervention after menopause. It is simply impossible, because pregnancy can only occur if estrogen and progesterone are being produced.
Women who have experienced an early menopause (usually before the age of 45) and who had difficulty becoming pregnant or wished to start a family later on in life, can still become pregnant with hormone therapy during menopause and through an egg donation procedure after menopause. However, it is important for women who are of an older reproducing age (I.E. 35 and up) to understand that there are certain risks involved in becoming pregnant.
Women who become pregnant during menopause are at a greater risk for pregnancy loss, infection, hemorrhaging, embolisms, gastrointestinal diabetes and developing hypertension disorders. In addition, strokes, seizures and eclampsia are also risk factors for older pregnant women. Furthermore, medical research has discovered that 40 year old women put themselves at high risk of developing these health conditions if they become pregnant, and the risk grows even higher with each passing year after 40.
As you can see, although it is rare for a woman to become pregnant during menopause, it is plausible. That being said, pregnant menopausal women need to be kept under the watchful eye of their doctor to protect the health of the expectant mother and the heath of her unborn fetus.
Keep in mind that while a women can become pregnant during menopause this is a rare occurrence. Therefore, despite what you may read in magazine articles or online, if you have concerns about becoming pregnant, or suspect that you are pregnant, the best person to speak with for advice is your doctor or gynecologist.
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By Kathryn Whittaker. Sign up for a free newsletter and discover how to banish unpleasant menopause symptoms fast.
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