Menopause can be a difficult time in a woman’s life when she if faced with many changes that impact her body. Her hormones can cause a great deal of stress, hot flashes can be very uncomfortable, and there are several other side effects to menopause that make it a generally uncomfortable period. Typically after menopause it is commonly accepted that a woman’s childbearing years are over. However, many women are beginning to use technological advancements to defy this sentence, having children in a postmenopausal state. This is not safe to do for several reasons. The typical age a woman goes through menopause is between 50 and 60; depending on the woman’s health, she may be putting her body at risk with the pregnancy. Birth defects also begin to rise significantly after 40. General life expectancy and level of activity needed to raise a child also needed to be considered. For these reasons, postmenopausal women should not become pregnant.
It is true that many women want to conceive after menopause. Nearly 20% of women reported, postmenopausal, that they wished they were able to have a child. However, given the general age of menopause, it is not typically considered healthy for the woman to do so. Researchers recently published an article in Climacteric, titled “Age of Menopuase and Impact of Climacteric Symptoms of Geographical Region”, showing that though geographic region did have an impact on menopausal age, 85% of women experience menopause between the ages of fifty and sixty years old . In the worst circumstances, this would leave a sixty-one year old woman pregnant for nine months. The straing pregnancy puts on a woman’s body may be too much to handle, depending on the woman’s healthy. She may also be older during the pregnancy; women as old as 70 began menopause (2010). Variations in succusseful invetro fertilization and other methods of pregnancy would also need to be accounted for; the woman may not become pregnant immediately.
Assuming the woman becomes pregnant immediately and is healthy enough to carry the baby fullterm, there is cause for celebration. However, there are still issues and fears to take into account. The woman could be in her sixties, while possible birth defects increase by 50% after a woman turns forty. In The New England Journal of Medicine, in an article called “Reproductive Technologies and the Risk of Birth Defects”, M.J. Davis and associated found that after a woman turns forty there is a significant rise in serious birth defects such as cerebral palsy, autism, down syndrome, and even spina bifida (2012). The team also found several birth defects with possible connections to reproductive technology, meaning that women who use invetro fertilization may be inadvertently harming their children (2012).
A healthy pregancy and a healthy baby is all any parent can hope for. Women who are postmenopausal are capable of doing this, however rare it may be. Although if it does happen, women do need to take into consideration how difficult it is to raise a child and keep up with their energy level even as a young adult or a middle-aged adult. At this point the women will be considered elderly; her activity level may still be up and her energy may be high but the more likely scenario is that it will have gone down. The pregnancy may have drained her significantly. Studies published in Mobility in Human Aging suggest that “an individual’s activity level at 20 will impact their energy level at 40. Their activity level at 40 will impact their energy level at 60. The more active you are now, the more energectic you will feel later .” If these studies are true, some women may be exempt from feeling older or more easily worn out. Typically though, as the study also suggests, women are not as active as men, and do not have as much energy as men. They experience a significant dropoff in energy levels after fifty .”
In sum, though a woman may want to be a mother again, it may not be a good idea. Due to her age, she may be putting her own body at risk. Unknowingly, she may also be endangering her the health of her baby because of her own age and health. Activity and energy levels post menopause also need to be taken into account; because women usually experience a significant reduction in energy after fifty it may be difficult to meet an infant’s, or child’s, needs. Because of these combined reasons, it is unreasonable to think that beginning to raise a child postmenopausally is a good idea.
Davis, M. J., Moore, V. M., Willson, K. B., Van Essen, P., & Priest, K. (2012). Reproductive Technologies and the Risk of Birth Defects. The New England Journal of Medicine, 1803-1813.
Ferrucci, L., & Guralnik, J. M. (2013). A Multidisciplinary Life Span Conceptual Framework. Mobility in Human Aging, 171-192.
Palacios, S., Henderson, V., Siseles, N., Tan, D., & Villaseca, P. (2010). Age of Menopuase and Impact of Climacteric Symptoms of Geographical Region. Climacteric, 419-428.