Many symptoms of menopause are similar to those of pregnancy. If you get pregnant, you won’t have a period, but you may experience some light spotting that could be mistaken for a period.
You could experience other symptoms like mood swings, problems sleeping, fatigue and headaches, which can also happen in the perimenopause and menopause. When you are pregnant you may also feel sick or vomit (especially in the morning), pee more often and have tender breasts. And in perimenopause and menopause it’s also common to report bladder changes (incontinence and peeing more at night).
If you’re sexually active and experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to do a pregnancy test. This can be done at home or by your doctor.
Home pregnancy tests are available from the pharmacy and measure the levels of the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your pee. It’s present in higher levels if you’re pregnant. A positive test result is almost certainly correct. Negative test results can be less reliable.
What are the risks of late pregnancy?
Becoming pregnant after the age of 35 is classified as a ‘later in life’ pregnancy because it carries certain risks. These include:
- pregnancy-related high blood pressure (gestational hypertension) and diabetes (gestational diabetes)
- ectopic pregnancy– a life-threatening condition that occurs when the embryo attaches itself outside the uterus
- an increased likelihood of needing a caesarean section (surgical delivery)
- delivery complications, such as excessive bleeding
- a long labour
- genetic conditions in the baby such as Down’s syndrome
When to see a doctor about pregnancy during menopause
If you’re sexually active and you’re still having periods (even irregularly) and believe you may be pregnant, take a home pregnancy test and discuss the result with your doctor.
If you’re over the age of 35 and you’ve had no luck getting pregnant for more than 6 months, you should also talk to your doctor in case you need to investigate a possible fertility problem.