Signs & Symptoms of Pregnancy After 40

by Stephanie Mojica

Women who get pregnant after the age of 40 experience many of the same symptoms as younger women, but they are more apt to mistake the signs for menopause, according to the Option Line website. Since women over 40 are at special risk of pregnancy complications, it is especially important to determine pregnancy early and to get proper prenatal care, according to the March of Dimes.

Emotional Changes

Mood swings can indicate a pregnancy, but it may also indicate menopause. Also, once a woman over 40 realizes she is pregnant she may go through varying emotions such as denial, fear and frustration.

Frequent Urination

Frequent urination often occurs in pregnant women over the age of 40, according to the Option Line website. This usually happens when a woman is about six to eight weeks pregnant, according to the American Pregnancy Association website.

Headaches

Headaches can be associated with pregnancy and mistaken for menopausal symptoms in women who are over 40 years old, according to the Option Line website. Sudden spikes in a pregnant woman's hormone levels can cause these symptoms and may occur during any trimester, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

Breast Changes

A pregnant woman's breasts usually become more painful and tender; this also occurs in women over the age of 40, according to the Option Line website. Also, sometimes the areolas of the breasts become darker in color, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

Incontinence

Incontinence may occur in women who get pregnant after the age of 40; this inability to hold urine is a symptom of pregnancy that also can instead be mistaken as a sign of the onset of menopause.

Missed Periods

A missed period is usually a telltale sign of pregnancy to a younger woman, but it may be overlooked by a woman who is thinking more about potential menopause than pregnancy. Tension and stress not related to pregnancy or menopause can also cause a missed period.

Fatigue

Fatigue is common among women who are over the age of 40 who are pregnant and don't yet realize it, according to the Option Line website. This pregnancy-related symptom can start as soon as one week after conception and is therefore one of pregnancy's first signs, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

Nausea

Nausea or morning sickness is a pregnancy symptom, but it can also be mistaken for food poisoning, stress or other gastrointestinal problems, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

Backaches

Backaches are usually one of the first signs of pregnancy in all women, according to the American Pregnancy Association. However, sometimes these are also associated with an imminent period, stress or general back problems.

About the Author

Stephanie Mojica has been a journalist since 1997 and currently works as a full-time reporter at the daily newspaper "The Advocate-Messenger" in Kentucky. Her articles have also appeared in newspapers such as "The Philadelphia Inquirer" and "The Virginian-Pilot," as well as several online publications. She holds a bachelor's degree from Athabasca University.

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