A cryptic pregnancy occurs when a woman doesn’t know she’s pregnant until she’s at least midway through her pregnancies.
What causes cryptic pregnancies?
- Lack of symptoms: “Sometimes women do not have pregnancy symptoms. Some are blessed with not possessing vomiting, breast tenderness, nausea, and tiredness,” Greves explains. “Sometimes if a woman is overweight, she may not see the weight gain [correlated with pregnancy].” In this case, the person may not “show” as much.
- Irregular moments: Irregular moments can make it complicated to figure out if you’ve missed a period or not, Greves says.
- Infertility: However, somebody may be battling with infertility, and feel pregnancy just isn’t an option for them.
- You’re on birth control pills: If you skip a pill or take a dose too late, it’s possible that you can ovulate, and that’s how you can get pregnant on the pill in the first place. “Birth control pills can cease to function, and if you keep taking them, you may not have symptoms that would pinpoint something is off,” Greves says.
- Inexact pregnancy test results: Another thing that can fail? Yes, Pregnancy tests. Pregnancy tests can be remarkably accurate, but only if taken correctly. If you take them too earlier in your pregnancy, check the results too soon (or too late), or if your urine is saturated because you’re well-hydrated, this can enhance your risk of an inaccurate result. Precisely, a false negative result, which is when the results are negative but you are literally pregnant.
- Psychology: Furthermore, there may be a psychological factor, where the pregnant person is so overwhelmed or fearful about being pregnant to the point where they may encounter full contradiction that they could be carrying a baby.
There’s no research to demonstrate whether certain people are more likely to experience cryptic pregnancies than others, or if there are factors that intensify your risk of having a cryptic pregnancy.
It’s can be frustrating if you’re wishing to be pregnant, and become assured that you are, only to be told that according to a blood or urine test, it’s not possible. A stealth pregnancy can make you feel several emotions, too.
It can also be scary and confusing to find out that you’re actually pregnant as late as seven, eight, or nine months into it. Some women with this situation are even put up with by surprise by labor pains that their first real “sign” of pregnancy.
Let’s take a nigher look at the symptoms, statistics, and stories behind this actual condition.
What are some of the symptoms of a cryptic pregnancy?
To understand how a cryptic pregnancy can go unnoticed, it helps to comprehend what a “normal” pregnancy looks like in its early phases. In the United States, most people find out that they’re pregnant within 5 to 12 weeks after conception.
After missing a period, a home pregnancy test will normally indicate a “positive” result. Further urine testing, a blood test, and ultrasound at an OB-GYN will then verify the pregnancy. Most people notice symptoms of pregnancy such as mood swings, tender and swollen breasts, nausea, and fatigue early on during the first trimester.
When you’re possessing a cryptic pregnancy, nothing sets off the chain of events that leads to finding out that you’re pregnant. A pregnancy test may come back negative even after you’ve missed your period. You may dismiss early pregnancy nausea as indigestion or stomach flu.
Perhaps you’ve been told that you have infertility, or your periods don’t come regularly, to begin with, meaning that pregnancy isn’t an option you would be prone to consider.
If you’re pregnant but aren’t knowledgeable of it, missing pregnancy symptoms can add to the confusion. Particularly if you’ve never been pregnant before, it’s easy to dismiss pregnancy symptoms such as slight weight gain, fatigue, and fetal movement as the outcome of dietary or lifestyle preferences.
Low levels of pregnancy hormones can indicate that your pregnancy symptoms are very mild or close to impossible to notice.
How long does a cryptic pregnancy last?
Sources differ on how long a cryptic pregnancy can last. It’s hard to obtain data on this point because people who aren’t knowledgeable of their pregnancy can only tell you when their pregnancy ended, not how long ago it started.
Anecdotal indication conveys that a cryptic pregnancy can last longer than a regular pregnancy, possibly related to very low hormone levels at the onset.
On the other hand, there’s also a case to be made that lack of prenatal care, poor diet, and lifestyle choices made by a person who isn’t aware of their pregnancy could enhance the likelihood of preterm birth.
We don’t have extensively reliable research to comprehend how a stealth pregnancy might be different in terms of length.
How can pregnancy tests be negative if you’re pregnant?
Pregnancy tests and even ultrasounds can come out negative if you’re undergoing a cryptic pregnancy. The motives why will differ on a case-to-case basis, but basically, the following applies:
If you have PCOS, missed or absent periods, are incredibly active or competitive or have given birth recently
You’re more likely to have altering hormones if you fit into one of these groups. If your uterus is continuing to alleviate at least partly, or if you don’t get your period regularly, hCG (the pregnancy hormone) may not grow in a way that is significant enough to give you a positive home pregnancy test.
If you have an inconclusive ultrasound
Even an ultrasound can fail to find an accumulating fetus if it’s not looking in the right place. If the previous testing has suggested that you aren’t pregnant, it’s also possible that an ultrasound technician isn’t going to spend a lot of time looking for a growing fetus.
If you’re approved to get an ultrasound despite a negative pregnancy test, it’s likely a pregnancy won’t show up in the first trimester because of:
- an abnormality in where the embryo is implanted
- the way your uterus is formed
- a misconception on the part of the ultrasound tech
What is labor and delivery like after a cryptic pregnancy?
Labor and delivery at the end of a cryptic pregnancy will be physically related to any other pregnancy. You’ll naturally have contractions that perceive like drastic cramps while your cervix stretches to be able to deliver the baby. Once your cervix is widened, your body will need to push the baby out of the birth canal.
What’s unique about labor and delivery for a cryptic pregnancy is that you may not be at all anticipating it. Where this can cause severe psychological discomfort while it’s happening.
You also may not have had access to prenatal care during your pregnancy, so you might not have a doctor or midwife on call. If you’re encountering serious cramping that feels like contractions and don’t know what to do, go to the emergency room instantly.
Cryptic pregnancy is a real circumstance, though it’s unusual and partially misunderstood. If you believe that you’re pregnant, you should be conscious that regular first-trimester testing techniques — urine tests, blood tests, and ultrasounds — are TRUE for most pregnancies.
If you proceed to have pregnancy symptoms after obtaining a negative home pregnancy test, discuss your explicit circumstances with a doctor you trust. Waiting for a week or two to see if your symptoms subside won’t harm your baby, but don’t postpone seeking answers for months.
Remember that if you’re in discomfort or feel like you just can’t handle being pregnant, there are resources for you.
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Sharon Marie olabanji RN, CHO, Founder and CEO of Pregnancyvitamins, has a background in community health, nursing, and nutrition. As a mom of two, I do thorough research and I decide to take good care of my self and tackle health problems during pregnancy and after delivery. Pregnancyvitamins.net is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the research team.