Getting Pregnant at 50 – Chances, Benefits and Complications

Getting Pregnant at 50 - Chances, Benefits and Complications

In the recent decades, we have seen a lot of advancements in medical technology, making it possible for women to get pregnant when they otherwise would not have been able to. Women who have medical issues that make it difficult to conceive and those with fertility problems now have some options that may make it possible for them to have children of their own.

When it comes to women in their fifties, it can be very difficult, almost impossible, to get pregnant naturally. Even using assisted reproductive techniques, it is incredibly hard for a woman of this age to conceive a child.

What Are the Chances of Getting Pregnant at 50 Naturally

Female fertility at age 50 is low as the eggs that a woman has left at this point, if any at all, will often not be capable of supporting life.

So, can a 50-year-old woman get pregnant and have a healthy baby naturally? Unfortunately, the chances of a healthy natural conception after 50 are only 1%. Even if a woman were to get pregnant in her fifties, there is a high chance that the baby will be born with birth defects or the pregnancy does not reach maturity and ends in a miscarriage. Healthy maternal conception after 50 often only takes place after extensive fertility treatments and with the help of donor eggs.

How to Prepare for Pregnancy at 50

The year 2013 saw an average of 13 babies per week being born to mothers in their fifties, but most of these babies were born through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), where the sperm and egg are first combined in a lab and then transferred into the uterus as a fertilized embryo. So while it is definitely difficult, it is not altogether impossible for a woman in her fifties to become pregnant.

If you are above 50 and are considering getting pregnant, here are some tips to help prepare yourself for pregnancy:

1. Get Yourself Checked

When you go to your doctor, make sure to ask whether your uterus is strong enough to carry a baby if your tubes are all clear and if you have enough eggs, though the chances of you being able to use your own eggs are quite slim.

2. Get Healthy

Even women in their prime need to watch their health when it comes to being pregnant and it is all the more important if you are already at the age when conceiving is difficult. Ensure to eat a healthy diet, exercise daily and get lots of rest in between.

3. Quit the Bad Stuff

This should go without saying, but habits like smoking, drinking and recreational drug use can damage the chance of a healthy pregnancy so if you have any of these habits, you will need to stop them in order to ensure a higher chance of you conceiving and carrying your baby to term.

4. Find a Good Donor

It is highly unlikely that you will be able to use your own eggs as women in their fifties produce eggs that are not viable. Donors are often chosen based on the similarities between their physical characteristics to yours, but they need to be healthy as well.

5. Prenatal Tests

The usual tests consist of blood, blood pressure and urine tests which are done in order to make sure that you are healthy enough to have a healthy pregnancy. Other tests need to be done to rule out chances of your baby being born with birth defects, so ensure to ask your doctor to schedule the tests she thinks are necessary.

  • Learn to Recognize the Signs

Women in their fifties have most likely reached menopause already or are in their perimenopause stage of life, and the signs of menopause can be similar to that of pregnancy, so it is important to be able to recognize pregnancy symptoms at 50, such as nausea, constipation, sensitive and swollen breasts and food sensitivity.

Advantages of Conceiving at 50

As we have seen, women over fifty have a difficult time conceiving for biological reasons, but there are still some advantages to conceiving later in life, like in your 50s. Here are some to consider:

1. Security

Women over fifty are more likely to be in a place in life where they have had enough time to earn and save over the years, so when it comes to all the expenses that go along with having a baby, they will not be as hard to manage as in the case of younger moms who have not yet had the time to save much. Not only that, but they are also more secure in themselves and who they are in life.

2. Achievers

Children born to older women tend to be left-handed, and the brain structure of left-handed people broadens their range of abilities. This enables them to achieve way more in life. Most children born to older women are also far more likely to do well in school.

3. Longer Lives

Research has found that women who give birth later in life actually live longer, well into their 80s and 90s. The research says that the same genes that allow older women to give birth are the same ones that slow down the rate of ageing and also makes them less prone to illness in old age.

Mother with her daughter

Risks and Complications of Having a Baby After 50

While the number of women giving birth in their later years of life has increased recently, there are concerns about the high risk of a health problem for mothers and child. These range from heart issues to the chance of developing breast cancer. Here are the risks of pregnancy at 50:

1. Cancer

Experts in breast cancer speculate that there could be a connection between fertility treatment in older moms and breast cancer. There are concerns that the administration of additional sex hormones may interfere with the natural ageing of the breast cell.

2. Heart Problems

The stress and strain women go through during pregnancy can be compared to running a marathon which is why the older the mother, the more chances there are of developing complications. Doctors who work with patients who are above 40 years of age feel that there is an increased risk in this group of mothers of developing pregnancy-induced preeclampsia. Mothers who are above 50 years old are 35% more likely to develop it, which is quite high compared to the 3% of young mothers prone to developing the same.

3. Placental Problems

The chances of developing placenta previa are higher. This is a condition where the placenta does not move up and away from the opening of the uterus during the gestation period. This may result in premature labour or severe vaginal bleeding.

4. Risk to Baby

Babies are more likely to be premature and also have more chances of having birth defects. These babies are more likely to develop heart problems as compared to those who are born to young mothers.

What Are the Reasons for These Complications

It is clear that the risks and complications involved during menopause pregnancy after 50 years of age are caused due to the fact that the natural reproductive life of a woman is over at this point. Even perimenopause and pregnancy at 50 is considered to be a high-risk pregnancy as this is at the very end of a woman’s reproductive life, meaning her eggs, though they may still be there, are most likely not fertile.

Normal ovulation at age 50 is rare, and women of this age usually go through what is called anovulatory cycles in which no egg is released at all, which makes it very difficult for women to get pregnant at 50 with their own eggs. Those who are trying to get pregnant should be aware that it is possible to confuse the signs of menopause for the signs of pregnancy in your 50s as they are very similar.

If you are in your fifties and are considering trying for a baby, it is best to know everything there is to know about it and make your decision with your eyes wide open and prepare yourself both physically and mentally for the journey ahead.

Also Read:

Getting Pregnant at 40 – How Safe is it?
Chances of Pregnancy Before, During and After Periods