Unplanned Pregnancy by Age

What to Do with an Unplanned Pregnancy After 50

You never thought you’d have a surprise pregnancy at 50 or later. But, now that it’s here, what can you do? Find answers to all of your questions here.

When you’re in your 50s, the last thing on your mind is a baby. You’re probably thinking about retirement plans, becoming a grandparent and all the joys that the last half of your life will bring.

So, when you saw those double pink lines, your mind went into shock. You didn’t even know a surprise pregnancy at 50 was even possible – but the test in front of you tells you differently.

It’s normal to be completely overwhelmed and panicked at this point. You probably don’t know anyone who’s gone through this at your age, and you may not know where to start.

Luckily, this article is here to help.

Below, find answers to all of your questions about an unplanned pregnancy after 50, including the options you have moving forward.

How is a Surprise Pregnancy at 50 or Later Even Possible?

Most women who have an unplanned pregnancy at 50 years old or older mistakenly believe that they can no longer conceive naturally. Many of these women have been experiencing the symptoms of menopause (hot flashes, irregular periods, low sex drive, etc.), leading them to think that birth control is not necessary at their age. Unfortunately, before menopause, there’s a period called perimenopause – the most common reason why an unplanned pregnancy at age 50 or later occurs.

During perimenopause, your body is releasing fewer and fewer eggs (hence your irregular periods). But, contrary to popular belief, you can still naturally conceive at this age. Sure, the chances of accidental pregnancy at 50 or later are very low – but they’re not impossible.

You’re proof of that.

If you think you’re pregnant because of a missed period and other symptoms, make sure to take a pregnancy test at home or at your doctor’s office. Many pregnancy symptoms resemble pre-menstrual syndrome or menopause, so you’ll need to officially confirm your surprise pregnancy at 50 or later before moving forward.

First: Talk to Your Doctor About Your Unplanned Pregnancy After 50

If you think you have an unplanned pregnancy after 50, your most important resource will be your OBGYN. Pregnancy in your 50s is much different from even just a decade earlier; you’ll need to take certain precautions to ensure your health during the next nine months.

While pregnancy in your 50s is not impossible, it does come with increased risks that need to be monitored by a medical professional:

  • Preeclampsia
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • High blood pressure
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Miscarriage
  • Premature delivery or cesarean section
  • Stillbirth

It’s also more likely that your child will have a higher risk of:

  • Learning disabilities
  • Birth defects
  • Chromosome-related disorders and syndromes
  • Low birth weight

Your own health will also play a role in the probability of a healthy unplanned pregnancy at 50 or later. If you have preexisting conditions, carrying a pregnancy to term may put your own life at risk. That’s why your health and your doctor’s recommendations are the No. 1 consideration for the future of your accidental pregnancy after 50.

Your Options for an Unplanned Pregnancy at 50

A surprise pregnancy after 50 is exactly that – something you didn’t plan on. But, now that you’re in this situation, you’ll need to think hard about the paths ahead of you.

Like anyone else facing an unplanned pregnancy, you have three options: abortion, adoption and parenting. However, the reality of each of these options will depend upon your personal circumstances. You’ll need to ask yourself some hard questions along the way to determine exactly which option is best for you (and, if you choose to continue your pregnancy, which option is best for your unborn baby).

An unplanned pregnancy counselor can be extremely helpful for learning more about your options. In the meantime, here are the basics you should know:

1. Abortion

For many reasons, some women who become pregnant in their 40s and 50s choose to terminate their pregnancies. Their health may be at the top of their concern; carrying a pregnancy to term may pose too many risks, especially if they already have a family they’re caring for.

Abortion is a fairly safe medical procedure, and more than 95 percent of women who have one do not regret their decision. Your state will have its own laws on abortion, and you’ll need to speak with a licensed medical professional to learn more about your options.

You have nothing to be ashamed of if you choose abortion for a surprise pregnancy at 50. As long as you think hard about your decision and recognize the pros and cons, terminating your pregnancy may be the best option for you.

2. Adoption

Even if you’re against abortion, the idea of parenting a child in your 50s can seem daunting. While you may be more financially stable and mature than decades ago, you will have less energy to keep up with a young child. If you’re not sure you want to parent after an unplanned pregnancy at age 50, you might consider adoption.

Adoption allows you to choose the parents you want for your child, as well as any future contact you want with them. This option is completely free to you, and there will always be a family willing to adopt your child – even if they are born with health conditions due to your advanced age.

An adoption agency can help you learn more about this process and help you find the perfect family for your baby. Contact any of these national professionals to get started:

3. Parenting

Finally, you can always choose to parent a child from an unplanned pregnancy after 50. This won’t always be the easiest path but, for those who are committed, it can be incredibly rewarding.

Before you decide to parent, ask yourself a few important questions:

  • Am I financially stable enough to have a child? How will raising a child affect my retirement plans?
  • How will I feel about being an older parent – being in my late 60s or early 70s when my child graduates high school and/or college?
  • Do I have supportive family and friends I can lean on?
  • How will a new baby affect current family dynamics, especially if I have older children already?
  • What goals do I have for my future, and how will a child fit into those?

Ultimately, there will be one question that’s more important than any other: “Do I really want to be a parent at my age?”

Being realistic about all of your options (not just parenting) for your surprise pregnancy at 50 or later is key to making the best decision for you. Make sure to speak with your doctor, loved ones and an unplanned pregnancy counselor to be as educated as possible.

Whatever you decide to do, remember that the future of your unplanned pregnancy after 50 will always be in your hands.