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Can You Become Pregnant During Menopause

Treatments And Getting Help

How Can You Get Pregnant After the Menopause? | This Morning

The good news is that there are a number of options and treatment plans to help with conception for women in perimenopause. Common options for treatment include medications, surgery, and IVF, but other lifestyle factors such as activity level and diet can also be reviewed to increase your chances of success.

Act quickly and speak to your OB/GYN to discuss the options available to you. Every woman is different and your healthcare practitioner can help you determine the best course of action.

What Contraception Should Menopausal Women Use

Choosing contraception as you get older may be complicated by a few different factors, including age, weight, lifestyle and medical history. However, these are a few of the options available.

Condoms

A really simple contraception choice for menopausal women is male or female condoms although male condoms tend to be more effective and more widely available.

The benefit of condoms is that they protect you from sexually transmitted infections. This makes them a good option if youre having sex with new or casual partners, and you arent sure of their STI status.

The combined pill, patch or ring

The combined pill, ring or patch can still be used by many women until the age of 50. If you are 50+, or you have certain medical conditions, you are a smoker or very overweight, combined hormonal contraception would not be safe to take.

The progestogen-only pill

The POP or mini pill is a good alternative pill for women who cant use the combined pill, including those who smoke. It can be taken up to the age of 55.

The implant

The implant is a small plastic rod thats fitted under the skin and releases progestogen. It lasts three years and isnt associated with health complications like blood clots.

The implant can be used until the age of 55.

The intrauterine system

The IUS is a small, T-shaped device inserted into the uterus that releases progestogen. Its usually changed after 5 years, but depending on your age it can stay in for longer.

The IUS can be used up to the age of 55.

Is Having A Hard Time Concentrating And Being Forgetful A Normal Part Of Menopause

Unfortunately, concentration and minor memory problems can be a normal part of menopause. Though this doesnt happen to everyone, it can happen. If youre having memory problems during menopause, call your healthcare provider. Several activities have been shown to stimulate the brain and help rejuvenate your memory. These activities can include:

  • Doing crossword puzzles and other mentally stimulating activities like reading and doing math problems.
  • Cutting back on passive activities like watching TV.
  • Getting plenty of exercise.

Keep in mind that depression and anxiety can also impact your memory. These conditions can be linked to menopause.

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Can You Get Pregnant During Menopause

Puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, perimenopause and menopause. These are the various stages in a womans biological cycle. One leads to the other, while pregnancy can happen at any time during a womans years of fertility.

The chances of getting pregnant come down as the woman crosses 35 years. By her 40s, the perimenopause is likely to begin and is followed by menopause, which is usually the end of the reproductive phase.

But could you get pregnant during the perimenopausal or menopausal stage? In this MomJunction post, we tell you about menopause, the possibility of getting pregnant during this phase, and the risks involved.

How To Get Pregnant During Perimenopause

The Menopause Journey : Explained

Perimenopause, put simply, is that stage in the life of a woman that leads to menopause. During this time, the bodys production of hormones related to fertility such as estrogen begins to wane. This results in the decline of the quantity and quality of eggs produced by the ovaries. If youre already in your perimenopausal stage and you are wondering if its still possible for you to get pregnant, then continue reading this article.

Heres a quick answer: yes, its still possible for you to be in the family way even during perimenopausal stage. Thats because eggs are still being produced and released, but in lesser quality and quantity, just like whats mentioned earlier. As a result, your risk of conceiving is considerably reduced, but nonetheless still likely.

During your perimenopausal stage, its of utmost importance for you to strive to maintain normal levels of hormones in the body as well as encourage your ovaries to manufacture healthy eggs if you want to get pregnant. Below are some of the things that you may do to significantly increase your chances of conceiving:

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How Can You Tell If You Are Pregnant During Perimenopause

Pregnancy and menopause share some similar symptoms, from the classic missed period, to fatigue and night sweats. So how can you tell if you are pregnant during perimenopause, or if your symptoms are the result of further transitioning in the process?

Pregnancy symptoms may differ from one woman to the next, but there are some symptoms seen in both pregnancy and menopause, while others are unique to pregnancy. Pregnancy symptoms like sensitive or swollen breasts, nausea, constipation, and food sensitivity should be followed up by an at home pregnancy test, and a trip to the doctor if warranted. While anyone can experience these symptoms, they are more often associated with pregnancy and a test with your doctor can confirm this.

Symptoms unique to menopause include irregular ovulation, vaginal dryness, and loss of bone mass. Although many of these can only be investigated with the help of your doctor, its important to understand the difference in symptoms so you can figure out what you are experiencing.

How Does Pregnancy Occur During Perimenopause

Despite the irregular periods, ovulation occurs in the perimenopausal stage. Therefore, there is a chance for the release of a healthy egg, which gets fertilized with the release of the sperm, and you conceive.

Signs such as breast tenderness and white vaginal discharge could help you know you are ovulating. Unprotected sexual intercourse 3-4 days before ovulation and on the day of ovulation could increase the chances of getting pregnant.

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The Risk Of Pregnancy

The decline of hormones means increasingly irregular ovulation so it is difficult for a woman to know how long she continues to be fertile. Many forget when their last period occurred six months ago? Perhaps eight? Although it is tempting to consider yourself no longer fertile during the peri-menopause, remember that it is usually after 12 months without a period that women are considered to be infertile.

No matter how irregular your periods may have become, this does not entirely rule out your chances of conceiving it is possible to have a natural conception until the mid-fifties. This may be both positive and negative.

If you do not want to run the risk of becoming pregnant while going through the peri-menopause, it is recommended that you continue using contraception for two years after your last period.

Generally speaking, however, it is harder for older women to conceive and the risks associated with pregnancy in older women are higher. This is because a woman is born with all the eggs she will ever have. As these eggs age, they become more likely to have chromosomal abnormalities.

In addition, an older womans body is not as adaptable to pregnancy as a younger womans, and factors such as high blood pressure all contribute their own risks to the pregnancy.

Do Men Go Through Menopause

What to Expect During Perimenopause

Andropause, or male menopause, is a term given to describe decreasing testosterone levels in men. Testosterone production in men declines much more gradually than estrogen production in women at about 1% per year. Healthcare providers often debate calling this slow decline in testosterone menopause since its not as drastic of a hormone shift and doesn’t carry the same intensity of side effects as menopause in women. Some men will not even notice the change because it happens over many years or decades. Other names for the male version of menopause are age-related low testosterone, male hypogonadism or androgen deficiency.

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Avoiding Pregnancy During Perimenopause

Since it is possible to become pregnant during perimenopause, you should consider using contraceptives if you wouldnt like to conceive. Because the risk of maternal and baby health complications is much higher during perimenopause, you should utilize birth control measures to prevent unplanned pregnancies that can make you more vulnerable to such complications.

According to the North American Menopause Society, over-the-counter contraceptives work more effectively in perimenopausal women. Also, birth control pills containing progestin and estrogen may reduce certain perimenopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and irregular bleeding. The only time you should stop using contraceptives is when you reach menopause.

Hot Flashes And Night Sweats

Hot flashes and night sweats are commonly associated with menopause, but they may also be early signs of pregnancy.

During a hot flash, youll feel a quick rush of heat that can cause you to sweat and your face to become red and flush. You may also sweat excessively during sleep, which can wake you up during the night and lead to fatigue.

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Do You Still Ovulate During Perimenopause

While the level of estrogen in your body may rise and fall unevenly during perimenopause, estrogen is gradually on the decline and with that comes a decline in ovulation. As changes happen to your menstrual cycle, you may begin having cycles where an egg isnt released or ovulation doesnt occur.

That doesnt mean that ovulation has stopped altogether. Irregular periods may be the result of not ovulating every month, but your body is still able to ovulate, the schedule just might be more erratic.

What Hormonal Changes Happen During Menopause

The Menopause Journey : Explained

The traditional changes we think of as “menopause” happen when your ovaries no longer produce high levels of hormones. The ovaries are the reproductive glands that store eggs and release them into the fallopian tubes. They also produce the female hormones estrogen and progesterone as well as testosterone. Together, estrogen and progesterone control menstruation. Estrogen also influences how your body uses calcium and maintains cholesterol levels in the blood.

As menopause nears, your ovaries no longer release eggs into the fallopian tubes, and youll have your last menstrual cycle.

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Do You Need Contraceptives During Perimenopause

Unless you are absolutely sure you are in full menopause, getting pregnant is still a possibility and therefore contraceptives are essential. Whether you are using birth control or other methods of contraception, if you want to be sure you still need to use it. Some studies have found that over 75% of pregnancies in women over 40 are unplanned, so its important to assume you are fertile, unless proven otherwise.

Chances Of Conceiving Naturally As You Age

While stories about women giving birth in their 50s, 60s, and even 70s make for good headlines, these pregnancies are usually accomplished with donor eggs and in vitro fertilization . There is no set oldest age when you can get pregnant naturally, but fertility starts to decline as you age. You’re usually not able to get pregnant between 5 and 10 years before menopause.

You’re born with all of the eggs you’ll ever have. As you get older, the number of eggs you have decreases. They are also more likely to have abnormalities. Additionally, the older you are, the more likely you are to develop disorders that can make you less likely to get pregnant, such as endometriosis. By the age of 45, you’re not likely to get pregnant naturally.

After one year of trying, your chances of getting pregnant by age are:

  • 85% if you’re under 30
  • 75% at 30
  • 44% at 40

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How Can I Increase My Fertility In Late 40s

As weve discussed, there is little we can do about a womans age, and her eggs reserves decrease more and more as she grows older.

However, there are several things you can do if you want to get pregnant with those remaining eggs:

  • Change your diet. Reduce the amount of processed food, sugar and refinated carbohydrates. Increase the amount of vegetables and fruit, especially in their raw form . Read more in Low Carb Diet Increases Your Chance Of Pregnancy, Studies Find
  • Get active. Exercise is key to become healthy. It boost your hearts health, your blood vessels, and your organs. Being active helps your whole body, including your reproductive system, to perform much better
  • Get sexy. Oxytocin is the most important hormone during sex and reproduction. Its the one that tells our bodies to conceive, the one we secrete when were enjoying life, when were happy, and when were in love. Its the hormone that gives us that great feeling when we have sex, when we orgasm, when we give birth or breastfeed our babies. Having oxytocin regularly flowing through your veins will increase your chances of conceiving.
  • Bring your stress down to its lowest possible level. Oxytocin needs a good atmosphere to flow. If your stress hormone levels are high your oxytocin levels will be low. Have you ever tried to have fun or to have sex when your mind is focused on something thats stressing you out? It doesnt happen, does it? Stress is your worst enemy if youre trying to get pregnant.

Changes In Menstrual Cycle

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Women who are pregnant or in perimenopause will see shifts in their menstrual cycle because of hormonal changes. A missed period is a tell-tale sign of pregnancy, while irregular periods may mean the onset of menopause.

Signs of irregular menstruation include changes in blood flow, light spotting, and longer or shorter periods. Its important to remember that irregular periods could indicate another condition. Speak with your doctors about any concerns.

Learn more about conditions that can lead to a missed period ยป

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Will My Hot Flashes Stop After Menopause

Some people still experience hot flashes after menopause. Postmenopausal hot flashes are caused by decreased estrogen levels. It is not uncommon to experience a random hot flash for years after menopause. If your hot flashes are bothersome or intensify, speak with your healthcare provider to rule out other causes.

What Can I Do To Prevent Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis isnt entirely preventable, but you can take steps to strengthen your bones. Eating foods high in calcium like cheese, yogurt, spinach or fortified cereals can help boost calcium intake. Adding a calcium supplement can also help. Some people also need a vitamin D supplement because it helps their body absorb calcium.

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Do I Need To Go To My Healthcare Provider For A Perimenopause Diagnosis

You dont always need to see a healthcare provider for a perimenopause diagnosis. Many women notice and tolerate the changes in their bodies without a formal diagnosis. If you have symptoms that interfere with your daily activities, see a healthcare provider.

You should reach out to your healthcare provider right away if you have:

  • Blood clots in menstrual discharge.
  • Spotting between periods.
  • Emotional symptoms interfering with your ability to function on a daily basis.

How Do You Know If You’re Still Fertile

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You must assume you’re still capable of conceiving until menopause is complete, which has not occurred until menstrual periods have ceased for 12 full months. Menopause is not an on-off switch, says Dr. Stuenkel. But many women dont really understand exactly whats happening.

Ovarian function waxes and wanes in perimenopause, meaning that a woman may release an egg some months but not others. Additionally, body levels of estrogen, progesterone, and other hormones tend to be erratic during this time and egg quality decreases, all contributing to more than a 50 percent decrease in fertility among women 40 and over compared to younger women. But natural conception is still possibleif remotefor women until their mid-fifties.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Perimenopause

During perimenopause, most women have menopause-like symptoms. You might have:

The decrease in estrogen also can lead to bone thinning or changing cholesterol levels. During perimenopause, your risk for osteopenia and heart disease increases. Continue to have regular checkups with your healthcare provider to keep an eye on your health. Your provider may recommend lifestyle changes or treatment options to lower your health risks.

How Do I Manage Symptoms Of Postmenopause On My Own

Certain lifestyle or at-home changes can help you manage symptoms of postmenopause. Some of these include:

  • Using a water-based vaginal lubricant during sex to make it more pleasurable. Lubricating the vagina helps with dryness and pain.
  • Regular exercise, meditation and other relaxing activities can help with depression and other side effects of postmenopause.
  • Eating a diet rich in phytoestrogens such as whole-grain cereals, flaxseed, chickpeas and legumes. Reducing caffeine and alcohol intake has also been shown to help.

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Wait Whats Perimenopause Again

You may be a little hazy on what perimenopause actually is, and thats understandable. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists , perimenopause is the time leading up to menopause. Its the time period during which a womans menstrual cycle begins to change and her ovaries begin to get smaller and produce less estrogen.

Perimenopause typically begins when a woman is in her 40s, although it is possible to start perimenopause before you turn 40. However, as the changes tend to unfold over time, some women dont even realize when theyve entered perimenopause. And the experience can vary from woman to woman anyway.

Related: Why Cant I Get Pregnant? Signs of Infertility and What to Do About It.

You might look for signs such as irregularity of your menstrual cycle. According to Dr. Stephanie Faubion, MD, MBA, medical director of the North American Menopause Society , your periods might get a little closer together or further apart.

Your ovarian function is not 100%, so there might be a couple of months in a row where they dont function well at all, she explains. And then they might kick back in again. The closer you get to menopause, the more extreme that gets.

Perimenopause lasts, on average about four years, says Dr. Amy Banulis, MD, an OBGYN with the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group at the Kaiser Permanente Falls Church Medical Center in Virginia. But for some women, it can last as long as 10 years.

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