Truth: You Can Get Pregnant After 40
All that said, getting pregnant after 40 is entirely possible. Plenty of women have babies after 40 and even 41. Your risk of infertility increases at 40, along with your risks of miscarriage and pregnancy complications. It may also take a little longer for you to get pregnant. But youre not sterile just because you celebrated your 40th birthday. Even if youve started perimenopause, until youve actually completed menopause, you should use contraception if you want to avoid pregnancy.
Truth: Male Fertility Also Declines With Age
Youve likely seen stories of male celebrities fathering children past age 60. This may have given you the impression that male fertility has no age limit, but thats not entirely true. While men dont go through a biological process like menopause, with a definite ending to their fertile years, male fertility does decline with age.
Besides an increased risk of infertility, pregnancies conceived with men over 40 are more likely to end in miscarriage or stillbirth. There is also an increased risk of certain diseases and conditions, including autism, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and childhood leukemia.
One study found an increased risk of fertility problems when both parents are older. They found that when a woman was age 35 to 39 and her partner was five or more years older than she was, their odds of conception dropped from 29% to just 15%.
Can Your Get Pregnant Right After Your Period
For most people, pregnancy isn’t likely to happen right after your periodbut it is possible. As early as the third day of your menstrual cycle, your levels of the reproductive hormones progesterone and estrogen, which taper off at the start of your period, begin to climb and help your uterine lining rebuild.
Although an egg isn’t released during in the immediate post-period phase, called pre-ovulation, your chances of conceiving aren’t zero. Sperm can live up to five days in hospitable cervical mucus. That means they can stick around for a few days until your body does release an egg during ovulationespecially if you have a shorter menstrual cycle. “One study showed that people who had sex only one time during this phase still got pregnant,” says Steven R. Bayer, M.D., a Boston-based reproductive endocrinologist.
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What Should I Expect From My First Period Postpartum
Whether you delivered your baby vaginally or by cesarean delivery, you can expect some bleeding and vaginal discharge after giving birth. Your body continues to shed the blood and tissue that lined your uterus while you were pregnant.
In the first few weeks, blood might be heavier and appear in clots. As the weeks go by, this blood gives way to vaginal discharge known as lochia. Lochia is bodily fluid that can appear clear to creamy white to red in color.
This discharge can continue for about six weeks, which is about the time your period may return if you arent breastfeeding. If your discharge had the appearance of lochia, stopped for some time, and then you experienced a return of bleeding, this is likely your period. If you arent sure if the bleeding youre experiencing is pregnancy-related or your period, there are a few ways to tell:
- Lochia isnt usually bright red in color beyond the first week postpartum. Its usually lighter and can be watery or white in appearance. Bright red bleeding that occurs six or more weeks after delivery is more likely to be your period.
- Pregnancy-related bleeding can increase with increased exertion or activity. If your discharge increases with exertion and decreases when you rest, its more likely to be lochia.
- Lochia also tends to have a distinct odor. Lochia may have a sweet smell to it, since its mixed with leftover tissue from the pregnancy. Report any foul order to your doctor.
What Will Your First Period After A Miscarriage Look Like
A womans first period after a pregnancy loss is often a little different than usual. Bleeding in your first cycle or two post-miscarriage may be somewhat heavier than usual, and you may notice a bit of clotting due to a heavier flow.
With time, you can expect your periods to look similar to how they did before your pregnancy loss.
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Im Pregnant But Have Some Bleeding Is This My Period
Implantation bleeding sometimes happens pregnant women around the time theto period would have been due. Implantation is when the developing embryo plants itself in the wall of your womb. An implantation bleed is very light bleeding that is usually pinkish and sometimes brown. Not everyone will have an implantation bleed.
Its common to have light bleeding or spotting without pain before 12 weeks. This isnt often serious, but you should contact your doctor, midwife or Early Pregnancy Unit immediately to be checked, just in case.
What Precautions Should You Take
Here are a few things that you need to be careful about while you wait to find out if youre pregnant:
- Your doctor will talk to you about how much physical activity you can tolerate if youve had an IVF cycle. As a rule, its best to stick to moderate levels of physical activity and avoid exercises that increase your heart rate or body temperature too much.
- Its best to keep away from artificial sweeteners and foods with MSG during early pregnancy.
- Do check in with your doctor right away if you have heavy vaginal bleeding, a fever, abdominal, neck, pelvic, or leg pain, or youre feeling faint or dizzy as these could be indicative of a tubal pregnancy or an infection.12
Top Reasons Your Vaginal Bleeding May Not Be A Period
One of the biggest margins for error while using fertility awareness as a method of birth control comes from a misidentified period. Not all vaginal bleeding is a period. A woman may bleed from a hormonal imbalance, cervical lesion, recent trauma and even pregnancy.
If you are tracking your menstrual cycle and the bleeding is consistent in terms of heaviness, color and timing, then you can likely count on it being your period, Harper said. However, there are many women that find it difficult to track their period because irregular bleeding can be due to illness or another underlying cause.
If you are having difficulty or need help starting, talk with your OB-GYN or primary care provider.
Will Your First Postpartum Period Be Heavy
In short, theres no typical pattern for the first period after having a baby. Some women may have heavy, painful periods. Others may enjoy light, easy periods. Many women are surprised to find that their first period after baby has more blood clots in it. You can use tampons once it’s been four to six weeks since you gave birth and with your doctor’s okay.
Your postpartum flow may depend on your choice of birth control. If youre not breastfeeding and decide to go back on the pill after giving birth, you may have a lighter period.
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Can I Get Pregnant Just After My Period Has Finished
Yes, although it’s not very likely. If you have sex without using contraception, you can conceive at any time during your menstrual cycle, even during or just after your period.
You can also get pregnant if you have never had a period before, during your first period, or after the first time you have sex.
There’s no “safe” time of the month when you can have sex without contraception and not risk becoming pregnant.
But there are times in your menstrual cycle when you’re at your most fertile, and this is when you’re most likely to conceive.
What If You Want To Get Pregnant After You’ve Hit Menopause
Okay, so let’s say you’ve already hit menopausemeaning you haven’t had a period in 12 months or morebut you would still like to get pregnant. Luckily, if that’s your choice, science is on your side through a process called in vitro fertilization .
According to the US National Library of Medicine , IVF is essentially the joining of a woman’s egg with a man’s sperm, outside of the woman’s body . In women who are of childbearing age, there are five steps to IVF: stimulation, egg retrieval, insemination and fertilization, embryo culture, and embryo transfer. However, because women who have already gone through menopause are not producing eggs, they do not need to go through the first two steps, and will instead have to use eggs from a donor.
From there, it’s like any other IVF pregnancy: Once a fertilized egg divides and become an embryo outside of the body, per the NLM, it’s placed inside the woman’s womb, where she can carry the embryo, then fetus, to term.
The bottom line: If you havent yet reached menopause but are perimenopausal, you can definitely still get pregnant. But if youve already hit menopause when you decide you want to consider motherhood, its not necessarily too late” for that, either.
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Change In Normal Routine
Changes in your normal routine can affect your hormones and cause your period to come early or late. For example, some research suggests that people who switch between day and night shifts, like nurses, often experience irregular periods. Switching time zones may have similar effects.
More research is needed to explore a connection between melatonin and reproductive hormones.
Can I Use My Menstrual Cycle To Predict My Due Date
Yes. You can work out how far along your pregnancy is by counting from the first day of your last period.
This can be confusing because you probably didnt get pregnant until around 2 weeks later, after you ovulated. Even if do you know the date you got pregnant, this is counted as day 14 of your pregnancy , not day 1.
Your pregnancy is calculated from your last menstrual period because every time you have a period this is the bodys way of getting ready for pregnancy. It also gives healthcare professionals a standard to follow because its very difficult to know exactly when the sperm fertilised the egg.
If your period is irregular or if youve recently been on the pill it will be harder to try and work out your due date.
The most accurate way to work out your due date is to have an ultrasound scan when youre around 11 to 14 weeks pregnant. This is used to see how for along you are and check your babys development.
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When Can You Get Pregnant After Your Period
Understanding your menstrual cycle is crucial to defining when you ovulate and calculating when you are most likely to get pregnant.
Women should be aware that if they have an irregular period, it can make the ovulation days difficult to determine. Said Dr. Martinelli. When examining fertility, its important to realize that an egg can survive for about 24 hours after ovulation, and sperm can live inside a womans body for three daysthough sometimes its possible for them to survive for five days.
Can You Get Your Period While Breastfeeding
It is possible to get your period while breastfeeding, although the odds and timeline depend on several factors.
The hormones that prompt your body to make breast milk can also stop your body from producing the hormones that cause you to ovulate. That means that some women have no period while breastfeeding. Others get their first postpartum periods in the months after delivery.
Nursing moms have been known to begin their periods as early as six weeks postpartum or as late as 18 months after giving birth. On average, women who breastfeed resume their cycles later than those who dont.
Frequent, exclusive breastfeeding often delays ovulation longer. You’re more likely to start ovulating if you go for more than a few hours between feeds.
Supplementing with formula, introducing solids, making it through the night without breastfeeding and even pumping in place of nursing can interrupt your breast milk production. That increases the odds that your body will resume ovulation…and you’ll get your period.
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Truth: To Get Pregnant Have Sex Before You Ovulate
If you want to get pregnant, you should have sex before you ovulate. Sex in the two days before ovulation is most likely to help you conceive.
While at first glance, it seems to make sense that the egg needs to be present before you send in the swimmers. However, thats not how it works.
First of all, sperm can survive in the female reproductive tract for up to six days. The sperm will die off as the days pass, so the closer to ovulation you have sex, the better. But they dont need to get there “at the moment” of ovulation.
Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, the egg becomes nonviable very quickly. If a sperm cell doesnt fertilize the egg within 12 to 24 hours of being released from the ovary, pregnancy cant occur.
When you take into consideration this short viability window, sex after ovulation could be too late.
What About Right Before Your Period
The likelihood of getting pregnant right before your period is extremely low. For women with a typical 28- to 30-day cycle or longer and their cycles are regular, it is fairly safe to say your ovulation occurred between Day 11 and Day 21. The egg is only available for 12 to 24 hours for conception.
This means the days right before your period are the safest to have sex without the expectation of getting pregnant. The number of safe days right before your period go up with longer cycles and lessen with shorter cycles.
If you wait 36 to 48 hours after ovulation, you should be beyond the possibilities of conception. The further you are from ovulation, the less likely your chance for conceiving. This is not the time to have sex if you are trying to conceive. Its still a good time to enjoy intimacy with your partner.
What Postpartum Symptoms Should I Watch Out For
Its important that you call a doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- soaking through more than one pad every hour
- bleeding thats accompanied by sudden and severe pain
Contact your doctor if you experience these symptoms or anything else that concerns you related to your period. Some of these symptoms may indicate an infection.