Women age 50 and over rarely get pregnant without in vitro fertilization and donor eggs. Just 0.01 percent of all births occur in women over age 47, reports reproductive endocrinologist Mark Sauer in "Treatment of the Postmenopausal Woman." The average age for menopause -- after which natural pregnancy is no longer possible -- is 51, with a normal range of 45 to 55. But in the years before menopause, periods become irregular and sometimes infrequent, which could make you think pregnancy is impossible. If you think you cannot get pregnant, you could miss the early signs.
Menopause Vs. Pregnancy
If you have not gone through menopause yet, you might think you are starting menopause if you miss a menstrual period or two. Menopause can cause some of the same symptoms of early pregnancy, such as fatigue, needing to urinate more frequently, mood swings or being warmer than usual. Menopause will not cause typical pregnancy symptoms, such as sore breasts, abdominal cramps or nausea -- but hormone replacement therapy can cause these if you have recently started taking it to alleviate menopausal symptoms.
Pregnancy at 50 carries more risks, for you and your baby, than pregnancy at a younger age. Unless you used donor eggs to get pregnant, you have a higher risk of pregnancy complications, including miscarriage. If you suspect you might be pregnant, do a home pregnancy test and see your doctor as soon as possible if you have a positive test.
- Menopause; Rebekah Wang-Cheng, et al.
- Chiropractic Care of Special Populations; Robert D. Mootz
- Ethical Dilemmas in Assisted Reproductive Technology; Joseph G. Schenker
- Treatment of the Postmenopausal Woman: Basic and Clinical Aspects: Rogerio Lobo