How women become pregnant
Infertility has many causes. Some cannot be prevented. But
many causes of infertility are preventable.
• Sexually transmitted infections can leave scars
inside a man’s or woman’s reproductive parts
that prevent pregnancy.
• Illnesses such as diabetes, tuberculosis,
malaria, and mumps can cause infertility.
• Dangerous chemicals from
pesticides, cleaning products, or
factories can get into the air, water,
or food. These chemicals can make it
difficult for a woman to get pregnant,
or can harm the growing baby.
Even washing clothes that have dangerous
chemicals on them can harm fertility.
• Smoking, chewing tobacco, drinking a lot of alcohol or using drugs can all
There are other causes of infertility that are not preventable. To learn more, look
at a general health book like Where Women Have No Doctor.
When women grow older, they stop bleeding each month (menopause). They also
stop producing eggs and lose the ability to become pregnant.
This may happen suddenly, or slowly over 1 or 2 years. For
most women, menopause happens when they are between
45 and 55 years old.
During menopause, many women have some of these signs:
• changes in monthly bleeding before it stops completely
• suddenly feeling very hot and sweaty (hot flashes)
• vagina becomes smaller and more dry
• sudden changes in feelings
Many women are relieved when they do not have to worry
about pregnancy anymore. As elders, women can share the
wisdom of their years of life experience.
Men make sperm through most of their lives, even when
they are very old.
A Book for Midwives (2010)