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Are You Menopausal Or Pregnant?


Pregnant or menopausal? I know right? But the 40s can be a time of either possibility if you don’t practise birth control.

As we’ve said in other stories such as 3 Signs That Point To You Being In Perimenopause and What Happens To Your Body During Menopause? menopause can creep up on us and be a confusing time. Goodness knows, often times it can be the furthest thing from our minds as we go about our busy daily lives.

And rightly so, though it is helpful to become educated on the subject.

You see, if you’re an average woman in your 40s (read: no serious health-related issues), you’re probably still getting your period, albeit they may have changed a bit, and life seems normal.

You did lose it a bit the other day watching a sad movie, and you did have an uncharacteristic bout of road rage about a week ago, but hey, life in the 21st Century is stressful!

This can often be how it goes.

Menopause & Pregnancy

The thing is though if you’re over 40, these could be indicators of perimenopause OR pregnancy which can add to the confusion of the meno years for many women. Both life events share some similar signs.

You did lose it a bit the other day watching a sad movie, and you did have an uncharacteristic bout of road rage about a week ago, but hey, life in the 21st Century is stressful! Share on X

As you may know, there are three stages of menopause: perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause. Read all about them here.

For our purposes let’s talk about perimenopause or the lead up to the menopause itself. Perimenopause can last for 6-13 years, and it’s a time when you’re still getting your period, but things are changing hormonally. However, it is still possible to get pregnant.

Birth-control during perimenopause

The confusion comes in because perimenopause and pregnancy share many signs such as:

  • Missed period
  • Light bleeding or spotting
  • Fatigue
  • Needing to go to the loo a lot
  • Emotional
  • Nausea
  • Weight gain
  • Mood swings
  • Tender breasts
  • Bloating

If you don’t wish to have a child or any more children it’s important you keep using protection during sexual intercourse. Older age mothers are becoming more common and it’s not uncommon to see a woman over 45 giving birth. She could well be perimenopausal as well with the average age of menopause being 51.

Sure, a lot of these are assisted pregnancies but not all. Remember in generations past some offspring were termed ‘change of life’ babies. That’s why. You could still be fertile.

The bottom line:

If you are still getting your period, you can still become pregnant.

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This is the time when menstruation is well and truly over, the ovaries have stopped producing high levels of sex hormones and for many ladies, perimenopause symptoms subside.

Estrogen has protective qualities and the diminished levels mean organs such as your brain, heart and bones become more vulnerable. It’s also a key lubricant so your lips may become drier, your joints less supple and your vagina might be drier. In addition, your thyroid, digestion, insulin, cortisol and weight may alter.

At this juncture, a woman might experience an increase in the signs of reduced estrogen but she should have a decrease of perimenopause symptoms. That said, some women will experience symptoms like hot flushes for years or even the rest of their lives.


Peri = ‘near’

Most females begin to experience the symptoms of perimenopause in their mid-forties. Your progesterone levels decline from your mid-30s but it’s generally from around 40 that the rest of your sex hormones begin to follow suit. 

Perimenopause is a different experience for every woman and some women may barely notice it. The first indicators are usually changes to the monthly cycle. This means that for some ladies, this can be accompanied by things like sore breasts, mood swings, weight gain around the belly, and fatigue as time goes on.

For those with symptoms it can be a challenging time physically, mentally and emotionally.

Importantly, perimenopause lasts – on average – four to 10 years. The transition is usually a gradual process and many women enter perimenopause without realising.