Woman was unaware of her cryptic pregnancy until birth

Concerns with cryptic pregnancies include late or non-existent antenatal care.Picture: Pexels/ Daniel Reche

Concerns with cryptic pregnancies include late or non-existent antenatal care.Picture: Pexels/ Daniel Reche

Published Jan 11, 2024


In an astonishing turn of events, a woman has shared her story of becoming a mother without ever realising she was pregnant, highlighting a phenomenon known as “cryptic pregnancy”.

This extraordinary case has caught the attention of social media users and challenges what we typically understand about pregnancy symptoms and detection.

A cryptic pregnancy, also referred to as a stealth pregnancy, is when someone is pregnant without knowing it. Sometimes, the pregnancy remains unnoticed until labour begins.

The Cleveland Clinic notes that most people become aware of their pregnancy between four and twelve weeks, often due to missed periods or recognisable symptoms. However, in a cryptic pregnancy, signs may be absent or misinterpreted, and even pregnancy tests can lead to false conclusions.

A post on social media platform X from user Black Nation delves into how one woman discovered she was pregnant at eight months, and had her symptoms mistaken for malaria by doctors.

In this thread, a woman revealed she remained unaware of her pregnancy until the eighth month after initially misdiagnosed with malaria by her doctors.

Illustrated with photos, one showed her sporting a slim figure in a black dress with the caption: “How I had a baby without knowing I was cryptic pregnant.”

Another snapshot depicted her at three months pregnant with no noticeable bump, to the viewers’ surprise.

Picture: Screenshot/X

Her cravings for local dishes such as African salad, a dish requiring cassava flakes, and spices, were mentioned as a noteworthy symptom.

Despite these cravings and a regularly swollen face in the morning, her condition had gone undetected.

Picture: Screenshot/X

“By the sixth month, I should have had a definite bump,” the woman reflected, referring to common pregnancy benchmarks. Yet, she mistook her weight gain for belly fat and resorted to a waist trainer for a solution.

Picture: Screenshot/X

“Always craving local foods, I’ve never eaten before”. “Abacha was here for me all through.”

African salad (Abacha food) is a delicious west African food that is native to the Igbo people. Prepared within 15 minutes and it requires just cassava flakes, palm oil, crayfish, ugba and some other spices.

“I was always having swollen face in the morning.”

In a bathroom selfie, seen wearing a beige cropped top and black tights, “I was 6 months gone here” still no bump.

According to Mother and Baby, at six months pregnant you’re approaching the end of your second trimester, which means you’re now between 23 to 27 weeks pregnant and you have a definite baby bump.

Thinking she was just gaining weight, “I got a waist trainer thinking it was just belly fat.”

Picture: Screenshot/X

Detailing how she went on about her normal life, always craving alcoholic wine.

Picture: Screenshot/X

“Fell sick and the doctor asked me when last I saw my period, I told him the week before and he concluded it was malaria”.

"Trying to look pretty, but the breakouts were relentless," she lamented, sharing an image taken just two days before the unexpected delivery.

Picture: Screenshot/X

The climax of her thread revealed that it wasn't until she underwent a scan due to insufferable pain that she unexpectedly went into labour and welcomed her daughter into the world.

The last photo was of a baby scan with a poignant caption about the unexpected onset of motherhood.

In a similar vein, TikTok user Kayla recounted her whirlwind experience of becoming a mother within just 15 minutes. Awakening early morning to the pain she first attributed to menstruation or possible appendicitis, she rushed to the hospital.



♬ original sound - Kayla

The ultrasound unveiled much more than she bargained for — baby feet and imminent labour without any prior knowledge or pain medication.

Cryptic pregnancy is, indeed, a rare occurrence. Estimates suggest that only about one in 400 to 500 women discover they’re around five months into pregnancy unexpectedly, and a staggering one in 2 500 may reach full-term delivery before realising they are about to have a baby -a frequency more common than having triplets, according to WebMD.

According to the National Institute of Health, cryptic pregnancies can involve a range of potential risks and complications due to the lack of prenatal care and awareness.

Concerns with cryptic pregnancies include late or non-existent antenatal care resulting in non-detection of pre-eclampsia, Small for gestational age (SGA babies) and other pregnancy problems that would benefit from interventions, continuance of unwanted behaviours in pregnancy such as smoking, alcohol and drug use and the possible dangers of unassisted delivery alone

Late prenatal care

Without knowing about the pregnancy, individuals miss out on crucial prenatal care in the early stages, which is vital for monitoring the health of both the mother and the developing baby.

Birth defects and health issues

Without early prenatal care, there is an increased risk of birth defects and health issues for the baby, as potential health concerns may not be addressed or monitored during the pregnancy.

Emotional impact

The surprise of unexpectedly becoming a parent can lead to emotional stress and mental health challenges, especially without the opportunity to prepare for the arrival of a new baby.

Labour and delivery risks

In cases where labour begins unexpectedly, there may be additional risks associated with unassisted childbirth and potential complications during delivery.