We already know a few reasons why some women don't realize they're pregnant until they're about to give birth. It's usually a combination of things including they don't have any typical pregnancy symptoms, they're already overweight, they're on birth control, and they still get their period. Even when they do experience symptoms, a lot of women might blame it on stress or other health issues because they're in denial, or they don't believe it's possible they could be pregnant.
It's hard for most women to imagine being pregnant and not knowing it. But it happens more often than we think. When a woman doesn't know she's pregnant, it's called a "cryptic pregnancy". It's estimated that 1 in 2,500 women doesn't know she's pregnant until she goes into labor. Here are just 14 stories of women who experienced a cryptic pregnancy.
47-year old Judy Brown from Massachusetts gave birth to her first child, a girl she named Carolyn Rose, earlier this month. She'd been having stomach pains all day, but she assumed it was just a digestive issue. That is until they became so severe that she couldn't take it anymore. She went to the hospital and the doctor informed that not only was she pregnant, but she would have to deliver the baby right away. Brown had gained a bit of weight in her abdomen but she blamed it on weight fluctuations from getting older. Turns out it was an 8 pound baby.
24-year-old Brittany Young from Des Moines, Iowa technically knew she was pregnant, but she had no idea how far along she was. She'd been to the doctor and was told she had 3 months remaining in her pregnancy, but she thought they said she was only 3 months along. That's why when she started having stomach pains she thought she's just hop in the shower and try to relax a little. She told reporters at the Des Moines Register, "I got in the shower, not even five minutes after that, I was like, my stomach is still hurting. Not even five seconds (later), I had to push. She didn't cry or anything. I was in shock. I was like, there's a baby here." She named the baby girl Miracle.
This past Mother's Day, 23-year-old Ada Guan and her boyfriend were on a flight from Canada to Japan when she started going into labor. Apparently she had taken two pregnancy tests before the trip and they'd both come back negative, so she had no idea she was pregnant. Luckily, there were three doctors on board the flight who helped her deliver her surprise daughter, Chloe. She was even moved into first class so she'd be as comfortable as possible. The plane was given priority landing, and then landed 30 minutes ahead of schedule. Sounds like it worked out for everyone.
31-year-old Jennifer West was on vacation at a secluded cabin in Wisconsin with her husband and two friends when she started to feel sick. She tried to nap through the stomach and back aches, but eventually her husband insisted they go to the hospital. She told the nurse in the ER that she was just having a really bad period so they did an ultrasound to check for fibroid tumors, something West had experienced before. Instead, they found a heartbeat. She was also eight centimeters dilated. She gave birth to a healthy 8 pound boy named Robert that day. She'd gained 20 pounds, but blamed it on getting older, and she was still getting irregular periods throughout the pregnancy, which made her think she couldn't possibly be pregnant.
Katie Kropas woke up one morning with severe lower back pain, and not knowing what was wrong, decided to go to the hospital. She found out she was pregnant at 10:15am and gave birth to a 10 pound baby girl at 11:06am. "I thought I had put on some Christmas season weight," said Kropas, "but I never thought I was pregnant. Never." She lived with her mother, and neither one of them noticed any symptoms or suspected she might be pregnant. Regardless, Kropas's daughter, who she named Ellie, was born healthy.
In 2012, 28-year-old Lynette Pearce was a British solider fighting on the front lines in Afghanistan when she went into labor and gave birth to a 5 week premature baby boy. Immanuel Izadore Pearce was born at Camp Bastion, a Military of Defense airbase in the city of Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan. Usually when a solider discovers she's pregnant she's sent home to give birth since it's obviously against policy to send a pregnant solider to the front lines. But Pearce had no idea she was pregnant despite her unexplained weight gain. Somehow she'd managed to keep up with all the physical demands of serving in the military throughout her pregnancy, even an 8 mile march while wearing a 35 pound backpack.
Trisha Staine was already a mother of two when she started training to run a half marathon. She knew what it felt like to be pregnant, and her husband had had a vasectomy, so she definitely didn't think she was going into labor when she started having severe cramps after a two hour run. She went to the hospital and a few hours later she gave birth to a 6 pound 6 ounce baby girl she named Mira. The baby was five weeks early, but thankfully completely healthy.
25-year-old Gaynor Rzepka from Wales started having cramps in the middle of the night and assumed she just needed to use the bathroom. But while she was on the toilet, she pushed, and a baby boy came out. Luckily she managed to catch him before he fell into the toilet. "I didn’t have any signs, no morning sickness, no pain, no heartburn, nothing at all. I had periods all the way through. I didn’t really put on very much weight until Christmas, and I just thought that was a Christmas belly," Rzepka explained. Her son was born a healthy 6 pounds 5 ounces, and she named him Olly-James.
Anthony Kuhns called 911 after his fiancee Dakota gave birth to a baby boy on their couch and coincidentally it was his aunt who took the call. The dispatcher recognized the address and when her nephew said his fiancee just delivered a baby, her response was "Dakota's not pregnant." Turns out she was. Dakota had been feeling tired and having a lot of stomach pains leading up to her son's birth, but she'd taken two home pregnancy tests, both of which came back negative. So the birth of baby Able James at only 29 weeks was a huge surprise to everyone.
In 2014, a 31-year-old Salvadoran nun named Roxana gave birth to a baby boy and then claimed she had no idea she was even pregnant. Obviously, nuns aren't supposed to have sex in the first place, so the baby was a surprise to not only Roxana but the rest of the sisters in her convent. The mother superior, Sister Erminia said "it seems she was not able to resist temptation." The baby boy was named Francesco, which is also the name of the current Pope.
A lot of teenagers would rather be in denial about being pregnant than face reality and have to deal with it. That means they'll continue putting themselves in situations that would be harmful to their baby. Who knows if that was the case with 17-year-old Pamela Vugts, but she was seven months pregnant when she entered the ring for a kickboxing match. During the fight she was kicked in the stomach and when she started bleeding the next day, her parents rushed her to the hospital where she gave birth to a baby girl. Neither she nor her parents suspected she was pregnant even thought she'd weighed in at 17 pounds overweight before the fight and her stomach appeared bigger with a belly button that was sticking out.
16-year-old Danielle Miller of Vancouver B.C was working a shift at her job at McDonald's when she started to feel sick. She rushed to the bathroom with a coworker who asked her if she might be pregnant, but she insisted she wasn't. They called 911 and the dispatcher walked the coworker through delivering Danielle's baby on the floor of the McDonald's bathroom. "I was so shocked. I couldn't talk. I was shaking the whole time. I didn't stop shaking until 3 a.m. the next morning," Danielle said. Luckily, her baby, a boy she named Austin, was born perfectly healthy.
When 22-year-old Nadia Watson woke up in the middle of the night with stomach pains, she thought, like a lot of women, that she just needed to use the bathroom. But it wasn't long before she realized she was in labor. She screamed as loud as she could but nothing could wake her boyfriend who was asleep in the next room. It was the neighbors who heard Nadia screaming and called the police. She gave birth to a 7 pound baby girl named Poppy, and when she was finally able to wake her boyfriend up and show her their daughter he just fell right back to sleep. Nadia had to wake him up a second time before he understood just what he'd slept through.
Tawanda's story was featured in TLC's I Still Didn't Know I Was Pregnant because she has had not one, but two, surprise babies. The first time she gave birth to a baby boy in a cab after a night of partying at a club because the birth control she was on apparently didn't work. The second time, 13 years and four more kids later, Tawanda gave birth to a second surprise baby boy while attending a friend's backyard BBQ. Considering she'd been pregnant five times already, the fact that Tawanda didn't know she was pregnant the last time means there must not have been a single symptom to even suggest the possibility.