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, and until then, a woman can still get pregnant!
The menopause baby
When a woman goes through menopause, her body phases out menstrual cycles until they stop altogether. The woman may go for months or even a year between having one period and the next. This long time frame is what may lead to a 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, you can, and will, get pregnant.
Thanks to the lack of a normal menstrual cycle, you may not notice you are pregnant until you are months into the pregnancy. There have even been cases where mothers of a certain 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.
Detecting the menopause baby
As you go through the cycle of menopause, it's important to keep up to date with regular gynecological checkups. These checkups will help you treat any symptoms as well as allow for the doctor to possibly detect a pregnancy before it is too late to begin prenatal care.
It's also 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 pregnancy begins that will not be synonymous with menopause. These symptoms may include the total cessation of periods, an unexplained increased in weight, and swelling of the extremities.
Preventing the menopausal pregnancy
Many women over the age of 40, feel they are not in need of contraception during sex due to perimenopause, or pre-menopausal symptoms. In fact, many women continue to ovulate well through their 40’s. Contraception is the only way to ensure you are not going to get pregnant when sexually active. The contraception option most chosen by women of menopausal age is tubal ligation.
During a tubal ligation, the fallopian tubes are cut, burned or clamped off to prevent further pregnancies. While the procedure must be completed by an obstetrician under general anesthesia, the recovery time is very short.
The menopausal baby is something that is a reality. When the number of periods decline, this does not mean the female body is not ovulating. Ovulation can occur without a period and pregnancy can occur well into the 40’s and 50’s. Women who believe they are experiencing menopause will need to be free of a menstrual cycle for at least one year before they are officially post-menopausal. And, even then, the chance of pregnancy, though rare, is still there.