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Cryptic Pregnancy: 10 things women should know about being pregnant and not knowing


A cryptic pregnancy is a pregnancy in which a woman is unaware that she is expecting a baby until halfway through it, or even up until labor or birth. Sometimes this is called a “stealth” or “denied” pregnancy.

Below are 10 things women should know about cryptic pregnancy:

1. Cryptic pregnancies aren’t common, but they’re not unheard of, either. Television shows like MTV’s “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant” showcase extreme examples of this condition.

2. A few studies have estimated that one in 400 or 500 women are 20 weeks, or about 5 months, into their pregnancy before they realize they are with child.

3. Research estimates that as many as 1 in 475 pregnancies go undetected or unnoticed until the 20-week (five-month) mark. One in 2,500 aren’t recognized until a woman goes into labor.

4. There are several possible causes of a cryptic pregnancy. A woman might not have typical pregnancy symptoms, or she might get a false negative pregnancy test result. Women with mental health issues might also not realize they are pregnant or be in denial.

5. A cryptic pregnancy, by definition, is one that you don’t have any awareness of. As such, there may not be any typical pregnancy symptoms like fatigue, nausea and vomiting, missed periods, or abdominal swelling.

6. During a cryptic pregnancy, the usual tests will not have been done. This means healthcare providers won’t have information about the health of the fetus or the mother. Prenatal complications, such as high blood pressure (hypertension), gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia (a serious blood pressure condition), would go unnoticed.


7. If cryptic pregnancy lasts up until the time of birth, the woman may not realize she is in labor when it begins and might have to deliver the baby without any help.

8. In a cryptic pregnancy, the typical signs may not be obvious or can be mistaken for something else. There are several possible causes of cryptic pregnancies. These include irregular periods, failure of birth control, and mental health challenges.

9. Women who are very fit may have no periods at all, which could make detection of pregnancy harder, and if the baby is small too, there may be no real noticeable pregnancy bump.

10. With cryptic pregnancy, you won’t know it’s time to make healthy changes that help your baby grow and thrive, like getting good nutrition, avoiding alcohol, and stopping certain medications.


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