Our bodies have a (sometimes dramatic) way of doing things.
Especially us ladies…
Our menstrual cycles that we deal with for most of our lives, have a slow ending, until the grand finale… menopause.
This “slow ending” is called perimenopause, and it begins a few years before your last menstrual cycle.
This is also when cycles get a little irregular, the flow changes and the hormone levels fluctuate. 😮💨
But amidst this chaos, your ovaries still haven’t completely stopped producing eggs… in short, your fertility is still there.
So, can you really get pregnant during perimenopause? 🤔
Well, it depends on what stage you’re in.
Let’s dive into all the ins and outs of pregnancy in perimenopause together. 👇
In this article: 📝
- What is perimenopause?
- Do you still ovulate if you are perimenopausal?
- What is ovulation like during perimenopause?
- How can you tell if you are pregnant during perimenopause?
- Can perimenopause give a positive pregnancy test?
- Can I increase my chances of getting pregnant during perimenopause?
- Can you get pregnant on HRT perimenopause?
- Is it risky to conceive during perimenopause?
- What is the oldest age a woman can get pregnant naturally?
- Perimenopause and pregnancy: a possibility?
What is perimenopause?
Let’s nerd out here for a moment. 👩🔬
‘Peri’ means ‘about’ or ’around’, so ‘perimenopause’ means, well, around the time of menopause.
It’s the duration when your body is nearing menopause, and often starts kicking in around the age of 40-44.
Do you still ovulate if you are perimenopausal?
Actually yes — as long as your periods are still around, this mean that you’re still ovulating… even during perimenopause.
Ovulation is where the follicles in your ovaries work to produce that “egg of the month”.
It’s true that your periods go from being regular to irregular during perimenopause.
But even when they happen few and far between, with every period, an egg is still released, confirming that ovulation has happened. 🥚
What is ovulation like during perimenopause?
If ovulation had to mark attendance during perimenopause, there would be a huge ‘IRREGULAR’ on the sheet 🙈
Ovulation during menopause is not as regular.
There may be a persistent change of seven or more days in the length of your menstrual cycle, and over time, this duration may become shorter or longer.
So, we’ve covered duration…. but is there any difference in how it feels?
And the experience may vary, too!
Your flow during periods may be light or heavy, and you may even miss some periods.
You may also experience more menstrual cramping during perimenopause.
This is because estrogen levels are higher during perimenopause which, in turn, prompts the release of prostaglandins in the lining of the uterus.
This then increases the contractions you feel with a period (the cramps).
How can you tell if you are pregnant during perimenopause?
This is where it gets a little tricky 😵💫
If you’re in perimenopause, you will experience shifts in hormonal levels leading to irregular cycles.
But a telltale sign of pregnancy during this time, is a missed period.
Additionally, some symptoms in your perimenopausal period are similar to early stages of pregnancy, including breast tenderness, feeling emotional, nausea, constipation, food sensitivity, and so on.
So, to assume or not to?🤔
In such cases, it’s best to take an at-home pregnancy test or speak with your healthcare provider.
And If you are not pregnant, this conversation may reveal the “why” behind your symptoms.
Can perimenopause give a positive pregnancy test?
(We know… Mother Nature’s at it again keeping us our on toes 🙃)
This is seen in approximately 0.2 to 10.6% of perimenopausal women who are not pregnant.
So who’s the culprit really? 👀
It’s the pituitary gland in the brain. 🧠
This is what produces the increased level of beta hCG.
But it’s important to reach out to your healthcare provider anyway if you see a rise in beta HcG levels, as it also could be due to something a little more serious.
Can I increase my chances of getting pregnant during perimenopause?
If you’re perimenopausal and want to get pregnant during this duration, then there’s good news: you still can.
Some routes that you can consider include IVF, surgery, and medication that can help increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Also, you may be asked to review your diet, and activity levels, and avoid intake of alcohol/smoking or recreational drugs while you’re trying.
Taking HRT during perimenopause does not affect your chances of conceiving either.
But hey, everyone’s journey is unique.
And if you’re perimenopausal and want to get pregnant, it’s best to talk to your healthcare provider.
This can help you decide on the course of action to take, and control any health issues that may provide a barrier to conception.
Can you get pregnant on HRT perimenopause?
Yes — it’s possible to get pregnant while taking HRT for your menopause symptoms.
HRT is often taken sequentially or in a combined manner, and is unlikely to affect your fertility, even in the perimenopausal stage.
But if you’re perimenopausal, on HRT, and are planning to get pregnant, you may be advised to go off HRT (so, make sure you book in with the doc to talk these things through).
On the other hand, if you are already pregnant during perimenopause, you do not need HRT, as the hormones that HRT elevates (estrogen and progesterone) are already on the rise, naturally.
Is it risky to conceive during perimenopause?
Here’s a little honesty pill… unfortunately, yes 💊
Just because you’re perimenopausal, it’s not that the fertility doors shut on you — it’s just that it becomes a little riskier.
It’s also worth noting that these issues (and others) is what make conception risky during perimenopause:
- Increasing instances of complications during pregnancy
Women over 40, which is often the time we may start perimenopause, have a higher risk of developing complications, such as gestational, diabetes, seizures, gestational, hypertension, and pre-eclampsia.
This can risk the mother as well as the baby, and lead to pre-term deliveries and low birth weight.
- Risk of miscarriages
Sadly, the rate of miscarriage increases with age, with statistics of 25% of women in their 40s who get pregnant are likely to have a miscarriage.
This may be due to the lower levels of estrogen and progesterone during perimenopause, as well as the lower egg quality and uterine wall changes.
- Premature birth
Giving birth anytime before 37 weeks of gestation is more likely to be seen in women over age 40.
(Additionally, conditions such as hypertension can increase the complications 😔).
But these conditions can also happen if you’re not perimenopausal.
Basically, while these risk factors remain, they don’t serve as a complete barrier to getting pregnant.
So if you’re planning to get pregnant, talk with your healthcare provider right away.
This can help delve into any personal risks and help you take a safer path to pregnancy.
What is the oldest age a woman can get pregnant naturally?
We’ve all seen the news — women getting pregnant in their 50s, 60s, and 70s (which isn’t new, by the way).
However, these pregnancies are often accomplished with IVF and come with their fair share of complications.
What about natural pregnancies, then?
The oldest age that a woman can get pregnant naturally is about 5 to 10 years before menopause.
Studies suggest that women’s reproductive ages hit a peak in their mid and late 20s, and start declining rapidly around their 30s.
This makes it very unlikely for women to get pregnant naturally in their 40s and 50s.
But hey, sometimes our own bodies (and newspaper headlines) surprise us. 🗞️
Perimenopause and pregnancy: a possibility?
It’s often a misconception that perimenopause and its irregular periods mean that you cannot get pregnant.
However, as long as ovulating, be it regular or irregular, you are still fertile until proven otherwise.
So, in short, you can still try, if you’re wanting to get pregnant.
Or, you can use contraception if you’re planning not to.
Ultimately, whatever journey you go through, prioritize your health, and well-being. ❤️🩹
Perimenopause can be quite a journey of ups and downs.
And just know, you’re not alone in this.
Thousands of women on Peanut are also having similar conversations around perimenopause, and pregnancy.
Our community is here to chat and lend you all the support you need.
Join the conversation today. 🥜