Menopause is described as the cessation of menstruation for a year or more. Most women reach this age in their late forties and early fifties, with an average age of roughly 51. So becoming pregnant the old-fashioned manner into your 50s is perfectly achievable. Women in their 60s and 70s have done so for thousands of years by simply using contraception.
In fact, most women in their 40s and beyond are able to get pregnant. It's just harder for older mothers because of how their bodies work. Older eggs don't respond to hormones as well and may not fully develop when implanted into the uterus. This can lead to pregnancy loss or delivering children underweight or premature. However, modern medicine has come a long way since the 1980s, when only 15% of pregnancies in women over 35 ended in delivery. Nowadays, that number is closer to 80%.
Even if you aren't able to get pregnant right away, getting ready for a baby doesn't require you to wait until you're younger or older. Start now by taking good care of yourself and your body. Eat a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables and avoid alcohol, drugs, and smoking. Get enough sleep and relax often. You'll be better prepared when you do become pregnant.
It is quite unusual for patients above the age of 45 to become pregnant spontaneously. "They create history," said Dr. David Keefe, a New York University obstetrician-gynecologist and fertility expert. This is due, in part, to the fact that many women experience menopause around the age of 50, after which egg harvesting is no longer practical. Even if they are able to harvest enough eggs to make it possible to play the odds and conceive naturally, there's also a chance that they won't be able to carry their baby to full term.
There are several reasons why babies born to mothers over the age of 40 are at increased risk of death before birth or during their first year. Their bodies are not as well equipped to deal with the stress of pregnancy and childbirth because their brains and hearts are still developing even after their reproductive systems have stopped functioning. Many physicians will advise older pregnant women not to participate in physical activities that may cause them pain or injury to themselves or their child. They should avoid heavy lifting and replace the habitual use of cigarettes with healthier alternatives such as nicotine patches or gum. Women who are obese or overweight before they get pregnant are at greater risk of having a complication during delivery or postpartum (afterbirth).
Women who already have one or more children when they reach the age of 40 face an increased risk of having a second child with health problems.
Every month, the typical 40-year-old woman has a 5% chance of conceiving. A variety of elements are at work here. The average age of menopause is 51 years old. Menopause is defined as a woman having been menstrually free for a full year (12 months). Therefore, the odds that a women will conceive during her 40th year are 5%.
It's important to remember that pregnancy rates decline after 40 because there are fewer eggs left to fertilize. Also, older mothers tend to have babies with health issues; about one in four children born to mothers over 35 is born premature, for example. Mothers over 40 have about a 1 in 8 chance of losing their baby during pregnancy or delivery.
About 80% of women between the ages of 15 and 44 years old have produced a child through natural means. So although birthrates are down, reproductive capacity is not lost yet for the most part.