It sounds impossible to believe. How can a woman possibly be pregnant and not know?
The definition of this phenomenon is a “cryptic pregnancy.” In this case, a woman doesn’t discover her pregnancy until she is at least twenty weeks, or about five months, along. It happens in approximately 1 in 500 pregnancies. Although it sounds crazy, there are many explanations that seem quite rational.
First, women may get false negatives on pregnancy tests for any number of reasons. They take the test too early or don’t follow directions. They drank too much fluid beforehand, so their urine is diluted. Some women have spotting throughout their pregnancy, which may be mistaken for a period. And many women have irregular periods or no periods at all.
There are also a lot of medical conditions that can prevent women from having periods. Those women may not menstruate for months, but they don’t necessarily think it’s an indication that something is going on. Also, some women don’t show much physically when they’re pregnant. And if a woman has never been pregnant before, and she doesn’t have reason to suspect she may be pregnant, she might not know what signs, symptoms, and feelings to look out for.
In addition, some women may not realize they are pregnant because of more serious mental issues. A woman who has experienced some kind of sexual trauma may have an extreme disassociation with her body. A woman may have a serious psychotic disorder that does not allow her to correctly identify her symptoms, or she may explain them away with other possible causes.
Let’s take a look at these 15 stories of women who had no idea that they were pregnant, and see where they ended up giving birth!
15 Nothing Unusual Here
Caitlin Coakley Beckner can give you plenty of reasons why it took her six months to finally realize that she was pregnant. She had an IUD, which has one of the highest success rates out of any form of birth control, and the IUD pretty much reduced her periods to nothing. She was tired, but figured that was due to starting a new job and planning a wedding. She lost some weight during her first trimester, but when she eventually started to gain a few pounds, she figured it was because her wedding was over and she wasn’t as serious about maintain her diet and gym regimen. There wasn’t anything unusual about the way she was feeling; she didn’t have morning sickness.
When she did realize that she was pregnant, she only had a few months to plan. She worried about her baby’s wellbeing; she had been drinking alcohol and eating foods and doing activities that are usually no-no’s for pregnant women. Her doctor assured her that everything would likely be fine, and when he was born, he was as healthy as could be. He’ll be five this year.
14 Marathon Mom
Trisha Staine was training to run a half marathon. When she started to have severe cramps after a two hour practice run, she didn’t think she was going into labor. Thinking maybe she had a pinched nerve, a kidney stone, or a burst appendix, her family called an ambulance to get her to the hospital. During her examination, a nurse found a fetal heartbeat.
Trisha was in disbelief. As a mother of two, she knew what it felt like to be pregnant. She’d been having her period. She didn’t have a baby bump. And her husband, John, had had a vasectomy!
A few hours after arriving at the hospital, she gave birth to a healthy 6 pound, 6 ounce baby girl, adding to the Staines’ already large family. Trisha and her husband already had two biological children ages 7 and 11, two foster children, and John’s three children ages 17, 19, and 20!
13 She Gave Birth In The Bathroom
Gaynor Rzepka had just finished a 10-hour shift at her job at the supermarket. She felt fine, although she’d had some stomach pain throughout the day, and even though her boss offered to let her go home early, she insisted on staying to finish her shift. She woke up in the middle of the night in intense pain, which she described as feeling like someone was stabbing her in the abdomen.
Hours later, still in pain, she thought maybe she had to go to the bathroom. She pushed, and just like that, a baby boy slid out.
Gaynor had no idea that she was pregnant. She had bleeding throughout her pregnancy, no morning sickness, no heartburn, and she thought the weight she’d gained recently was from enjoying herself over the Christmas holiday. She was very active, even running a half marathon when she was five months pregnant. Doctors assume that’s why she never really felt the baby move; he was probably most active when she was active.
12 Baby On Board
Ada Guan and her boyfriend Wesley Branch were on a flight from Canada to Japan when she started going into labor. Ada had taken two pregnancy tests before their trip and they’d both come out negative. She had no reason to suspect that she was pregnant, and she hadn’t given much thought to the weight she had gained.
As the plane flew over Russia, Ada felt pain in her abdomen. The pain was so serious, she ended up trying to get comfortable on the floor in the middle of the plane. She was moved into first class, and that was when she thought she could feel something wanting to come out. Thankfully, there were three doctors onboard Ada’s flight who helped deliver the surprise baby girl. The plane was given priority landing status; the flight arrived and landed half an hour ahead of schedule. Ada named her little girl Chloe.
11 If It Happens, It Happens
Amanda Burger was already a mom to an eleven-year-old son. She and her husband weren’t using birth control and had the attitude that “if it happened, it happened.” She never had any signs that “it” had happened, other than just a weird feeling that she might be pregnant. She took three pregnancy tests over the course of several months, but all of them came up negative.
During her pregnancy, she was never nauseous or sick, she slept on her stomach, and she never felt the baby move. She still had regular bleeding during pregnancy. She only gained about 15 to 20 pounds during her pregnancy.
She was 36 weeks along when she woke up early one morning with cramps so painful she could barely walk. She and her husband went to the hospital where the medical staff prepared to give her a CT scan of her appendix. As part of standard care practices, they did a pregnancy test to see if she was pregnant.
10 Vow Of Chastity?
In 2014, a nun named Roxana Rodriguez was living in a convent in Italy on assignment. She shocked her sisters when she gave birth to a baby boy. Obviously, nuns aren’t supposed to have sex, so the baby came as a surprise not only to the whole convent, but to Roxana herself, who didn’t know she was pregnant.
She had been complaining of stomach pain and was taken to a hospital near Rome. The doctors examined her and determined that she was pregnant and in the middle of labor. After the birth of her son, Roxana left the convent; the story of the baby’s father hasn’t been revealed. The boy was named Francesco, after the Pope.
A year later, also in Italy, another nun surprised her convent when she was rushed to the hospital in agony. She ended up giving birth as well. She planned to give the baby up for adoption, but when she was denied reentry into her convent, she ended up recovering her baby to raise him herself.
9 Didn’t Know She Was Pregnant, Doesn’t Remember Giving Birth
Amanda Prentice and her husband had been trying to conceive for four years, without success. Amanda always had irregular periods and thought the cause was stress. She gained about ten pounds, and thought it was from drinking too much soda. She got sick to her stomach once, but thought it was just something she ate.
Her husband returned home from a hunting trip to find her in bed; she had had a seizure and was unresponsive. Her husband took her to the hospital, where doctors determined that she might be seven or eight months pregnant. She was flown by helicopter to a larger hospital for surgery, and has no recollection of the trip.
Doctors performed a C-section on a still-unconscious Amanda. She woke two days later to learn that she had given birth to a daughter. She spent five days in intensive care, and her daughter, Alleanah Makenleigh Rose, spent five days in the neonatal intensive care unit.
8 Ski Trip Baby
A 45-year-old French woman on holiday at a ski resort in the Alps had no idea she was pregnant until her baby literally popped right out. The new mom, named in reports only as Karine, rushed into the bathroom because she wasn’t feeling well. She was afraid it was the stomach flu. Within just 15 minutes of her first stomach pain, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl.
When the father-to-be, Eric, realized that this was more than just the stomach flu or a case of menstrual cramps, he rushed to wake his brother and sister-in-law who were also vacationing with them. His sister-in-law, a prenatal nurse, realized that Karine was having contractions, and even spotted the head of the child beginning to crown. She was able to deliver the baby safely before paramedics even arrived.
7 Do You Want Fries With That Baby?
Danielle Miller was just sixteen years old and working the night shift at a Vancouver, Washington, McDonald’s when she started to feel sick to her stomach. She rushed to the bathroom, followed by her worried 16-year-old coworker Jaynae Herrerra. Jaynae kept asking Danielle if she was okay. Jaynae asked Danielle if she was expecting, and she insisted that she wasn’t pregnant.
However, Danielle was shaking and in such severe pain, that Jaynae called 911. A dispatcher walked Jaynae through how to help deliver the baby, and Danielle ended up giving birth to a baby boy right there on the toilet. Dispatchers had to instruct the girls to remove the baby from the toilet. Danielle said she was in complete shock. She was speechless and could not stop shaking until sometime the next morning.
6 Her Back Hurt
Dakota Robbins’ back was hurting, but she figured it was from the car crash she had been in a few years ago. She felt sick, and when her boss suggested she might be pregnant, she took a pregnancy test. It came back negative. She took another one a month later, and it was negative again.
When she started feeling stomach pains, her fiancé, Anthony Kuhns, suggested that she relax on the couch. It was there that she ended up giving birth to the couple’s son, at only 29 weeks.
When Anthony called 911, the dispatcher that received his call was actually his aunt. She recognized the address immediately, and when she heard the reason for his call, she was shocked. She hadn’t even known Dakota was pregnant. No one did. Not even Dakota!
Paramedics arrived and transported Dakota and the baby to the hospital. Despite being born prematurely and having low oxygen levels, the baby, named Able James, improved quickly.
5 Wake Up!
When 22-year-old Nadia Watson woke up in the middle of the night with stomach pains, she thought maybe she was having menstrual cramps or needed to go to the bathroom. She made her way to the bathroom, but it wasn’t long before she realized that her pains weren’t just any old cramps.
Although she was screaming, the noise didn’t wake her partner, Lewis McSweeney, who ended up sleeping through the entire thing. Neighbors were concerned, though, and called the police. Police cars and an ambulance arrived shortly after Nadia delivered the 7 pound, 11 ounce baby girl, all by herself.
When Nadia roused Lewis and showed him the baby, he somehow managed to doze back off. He woke again, startled, when he realized what had just happened.
Nadia had no clue that she was pregnant. She hadn’t put on much weight and remained in the same size clothes throughout the pregnancy.
4 It’s Not A Tumor!
31-year-old Jennifer West was on vacation in a secluded Wisconsin cabin with her husband and another couple when she started to feel sick. Although they wanted her to go out and have fun, she decided to stay back at the cabin and rest, hoping her stomach pains and back ache would go away.
Eventually, her husband insisted that they go to the hospital. Jennifer told the ER nurse that she was having a terrible period, so they did an ultrasound to check for fibroid tumors, something West had experienced trouble with before. Instead, they found a fetal heartbeat, and an exam indicated that she was already eight centimeters dilated. She gave birth to a healthy 8 pound boy later in the day.
3 Soldier Mom
Lynette Pearce was a British soldier fighting on the front lines in Afghanistan when she went into labor and gave birth to a baby boy five weeks prematurely in 2012. The baby was born in the field hospital of military base Camp Bastion. His birth came four days after the camp had been attacked by the Taliban; the attack had destroyed six aircraft and killed two US Marines. A special retrieval team was sent to Afghanistan to provide care for Lynette and her baby on the flight back to the U.K.
Usually, when a soldier learns that she is pregnant, she’s sent home to give birth, because obviously, a pregnant soldier should not be fighting in a war zone. She had no idea that she was pregnant, despite having gained some weight. While pregnant, she also managed to keep up with the physical demands of serving in the military, even completing an eight-mile march while wearing a 35 pound backpack.
2 A Different Kind Of Baby Shower
Brittany Young, a 24-year-old from Des Moines, Iowa, actually knew that she was pregnant. The problem was, she had no idea how far along she was. She had visited the doctor and was told she had three months remaining in her pregnancy, but she thought the doctor’s office said she was only three months along. Oops!
So when she started having stomach pains, she thought she’d take a shower, try to relax, and see if that would help the pain. A few minutes into the shower, her stomach was still hurting, and a few minutes later, she felt like she needed to push. Out came Brittany’s baby, a girl weighing 6 pounds, 8 ounces, whom she named Miracle.
Young already had three other children; doctors believe that women who have given birth previously may go into labor much more quickly. Women with a medical condition called precipitous labor means contractions can start as early as just a few hours before delivery.
1 Not Again?!
Tawanda’s story was featured on the TLC show I Still Didn’t Know I was Pregnant because she has had TWO surprise babies. Not one, but TWO! The first time, she gave birth to a baby boy in a cab after a night of partying at a club. She wasn’t feeling well and decided to go home, when she realized that something – a baby! – was coming out of her in the backseat of the cab. She was on birth control at the time, but apparently, it didn’t work!
Her second surprise pregnancy happened thirteen years later. Tawanda was now married to the father of the baby and had four other children with him. Considering that she’d been pregnant five times before, you’d think she’d have known that she was pregnant. The fact that she didn’t know she was expecting baby number six must mean that she didn’t have a single obvious symptom. She ended up having surprise baby #2 at a friend’s backyard BBQ!
Sources: Huffington Post, CNN, Parenting, Fox News, BBC, ABC News, People, Bustle,