“My God, I’m pregnant, how did this happen?”, said Cláudia Raia this week when announcing, on Instagram (follow me there too @silviaruiz_ageless), that she is expecting her third child, at age 55. With a mixture of celebration and bewilderment, this is also the question that many people began to ask: how could an unexpected pregnancy have happened at this age? It is possible?
Despite having already declared that she underwent egg freezing a few years ago because she would like to have another child, Claudia hinted that, in this case, the process occurred naturally, that is, without medical interventions such as in vitro fertilization. She also already told here, in 2020, that she was taking hormone replacement to relieve the symptoms of perimenopause.
First of all, it is necessary to understand that this is the phase when our ovaries begin to fail and drastically reduce the production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. This does not prevent us from having ovulation at times (and may even get pregnant). But the fact is that the body is getting ready to leave the reproductive phase. The period closest to the ideal for a pregnancy, according to medicine, would be when the woman is between 18 and 35 years old. We know that many women today postpone motherhood and there are medical resources to make this possible. But there are also more risks and costs involved (which can reach a few thousand reais).
Is it possible to get pregnant during perimenopause?
“Yes, while the woman is in the climacteric, in the transition to menopause, which is decreed after 12 consecutive months without the woman menstruating, it can happen, but the pregnancy rate at this stage is very low. women at this stage still need to worry about contraceptive methods, so there are no surprises”, says the gynecologist at the Hospital do Servidor Público Isabela Barbosa. Remembering that perimenopause and symptoms such as hot flashes, insomnia, irregular menstrual cycle can start up to seven or eight years before the complete interruption of menstruation.
As long as there is menstruation (and ovulation), natural conception can occur, but to give you an idea, under the age of 30, the chance of a woman getting pregnant in a year is 25%. From 40 to 44 years old, this rate drops to 8%. And after 44 it drops even more, to 2%.
Is it possible to get pregnant after menopause?
In this case, it is impossible to get pregnant naturally. After 12 months without menstruating, a woman stops ovulating completely. And she can even stop using any contraceptive method. But it is possible to resort to assisted reproduction treatment. “If the woman has frozen eggs when she is younger, it is possible to inseminate her partner’s sperm using these eggs”, says Isabela. “There is also the possibility of resorting to egg donation and embryo donation.” That is, in these cases the woman will generate a baby from another woman’s egg or from an already conceived embryo, since her body no longer produces its own eggs.
Is menopausal pregnancy safe?
In order for a menopausal woman to bear a baby, the body and uterus must be prepared beforehand. Also because the success rate of an insemination also reduces as a woman ages. “The abortion rate at this stage is also higher. In addition, the rates of chromosomal alteration in women after 40 years of age are getting higher”, explains the doctor. The abortion rate for women over 44 is 60%, she says. So the truth is that, although possible, it is a high-risk pregnancy.
The bottom line is that if you’re still in perimenopause and don’t want to get pregnant, be sure to discuss with your doctor the best birth control method for you. Even if you are on hormone replacement therapy, for example, you must use some form of contraception to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. On the other hand, if you have a desire to manage a baby, it is important to plan ahead. The pregnancy will hardly happen like it did with Claudia Raia. “It’s a very rare situation”, says Isabela.
Here at Ageless, we wish dads Claudia and Jarbas good health and joy with their new life.