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Cryptic Pregnancy – All You Need To Know.

What is a cryptic pregnancy?

Cryptic pregnancy image explaining all you need to know about cryptic pregnancy.

Cryptic pregnancy, also known as stealth pregnancy or denied pregnancy, is a condition where a woman is unaware of her pregnancy until she is well into her gestation period or sometimes until labor begins. 

This means that in this type of pregnancy, the woman is completely unaware that she is pregnant. She is well into her gestation period, that is several weeks have passed or she is beginning to have labor signs. 

This is a totally surprising state, like she is feeling labor signs and she may not even know what the labor sign is, the labor sign persists and then this takes her to the clinic to complain of her pains only for her to hear, madam, you are in labor. 

She is confused and is like I am not aware that I am pregnant so how can I be in labor?

Then the doctor may have to try to explain what has happened to her, this is what cryptic pregnancy is.

How common is cryptic pregnancy?

Cryptic pregnancy is a rare phenomenon, studies estimate that 1 in 500 women are about 5 months into pregnancy before realizing it and one in 2,500 women go all the way to delivery before realizing they’re having a baby even though the exact prevalence is difficult to determine due to its secretive nature, one thing you should know is that cryptic pregnancy is rare.

Have you heard some women say something like, I didn’t even know I was pregnant, I was almost about 5 months into pregnancy before I realized I was carrying a baby. 

This means that something happened that made the woman go for an examination or a scan and then the pregnancy was detected. So cryptic pregnancy is not a case of don’t go for a scan because a scan cannot detect it, which study established that? 

Causes of cryptic pregnancy.

Causes of cryptic pregnancy here focus on women who are more likely to have a cryptic pregnancy. 

In women with irregular menstrual cycles: While most people know they’re pregnant because they don’t get their period, this isn’t always the case. If your periods are always irregular, you may not realize you have missed your period due to pregnancy. 

woman experiencing irregular menstruation and does not know when her next menses will come.

For example, if you have your period come once in 3 months, and then your period does not come as expected, you will keep waiting for your period to come knowing that it is irregular, you may not know that you missed your period due to pregnancy and if you don’t know or have any any pregnancy sign, you may just keep waiting for your period to return. 

In women who are obese: Women who are obese may be more likely to have a cryptic pregnancy. 

cryptic pregnancy woman
A big size woman unaware she is 6 months pregnant.

That’s not to say it can’t happen in women of average weight, just that obese women may be less likely to gain weight or notice the physical changes that occur during pregnancy.

Cryptic pregnancies can also happen in thinner women, especially if they’re tall, and in some very athletic women, who may already have irregular periods and may not realize they’re pregnant since their tight abdominal muscles could hide a baby bump very well.  

athletic pregnant woman
an athletic woman with tight abdominal muscles carrying a cryptic pregnancy.

In over-stressed women: Stress also influences hormones, so high stress can disrupt common pregnancy symptoms. Low body fat can also trigger hormonal imbalances, which might cause a symptomless pregnancy. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which causes irregular or elongated hormone cycles, can also cause a cryptic pregnancy. 

In women who get pregnant soon after giving birth: Some women engage in sexual intercourse before their period starts coming after giving birth, they may become pregnant again but since they’re not expecting their period to return yet, they might assume that any weight gain and abdominal swelling are from the previous pregnancy.

A new mum
A new mom whose intimacy with her husband led to a cryptic pregnancy.

In women who are on contraceptives: Even if a woman is on birth control, there’s still a possibility that she can get pregnant if she is having unprotected sex.

If she continues to take birth control while pregnant, she might not experience pregnancy symptoms and therefore may be completely unaware that she is pregnant. 

Secondary cause of cryptic pregnancy.

A secondary, less common cause of cryptic pregnancy is a certain psychological condition called a “denial of pregnancy,” it occurs when a woman mentally believes she is not pregnant, despite tests showing that she is.

Let’s look at the psychotic denial of pregnancy, this is a case where a woman is not mentally stable and gets pregnant, she refuses to accept that she is pregnant even when she sees her pregnancy but because of her mental state she can’t tell what is real from what is imagined so she denies her pregnancy, this is why cryptic pregnancy is also called denied pregnancy. 

For nonpsychotic cases or for women who are trying to get pregnant, when you become pregnant, you are fully aware that you are pregnant, and you definitely will accept your pregnancy because this is what you have been wishing for. 

So in this case, for women who are aware of their pregnancy, you can say you are pregnant, so should that be called a cryptic pregnancy when you are aware that you are pregnant? Is it possible for you to be told you can get pregnant with the cryptic pregnancy method?

Symptoms of cryptic pregnancy.

Women experiencing cryptic pregnancy may not display typical signs of pregnancy.

Some women might experience minor symptoms that are easily overlooked or mistaken for other conditions. She may feel very tired but believe it’s because she’s overworked or not getting enough sleep. She may experience nausea but thinks it’s because of something she’s eaten.

Other symptoms of a cryptic pregnancy include:

  • Missed period: If you have irregular periods, you may not realize you’ve missed your period due to pregnancy. Even though not all missed periods indicate pregnancy.
  • False negative pregnancy test result: This means someone is actually pregnant, but their test says they aren’t pregnant. If you don’t use an at-home pregnancy test correctly, you may get an inaccurate result. To be sure, it’s always best to contact a healthcare provider to confirm a pregnancy.
  • Spotting or light bleeding: Some people experience light spotting in early pregnancy and mistake it for a period.
  • Weight gain or swollen belly: Some people may not notice they’ve gained weight due to being pregnant, or they might attribute an unusually bloated belly to eating a certain food.
  • Fetal movement: Most people don’t feel the fetus move until about halfway through pregnancy. If you have an anterior placenta, the placenta’s in the front of your belly. This can make it harder to feel kicks. In the case of a cryptic pregnancy, this could be why you don’t realize you’re pregnant.
  • Not knowing symptoms of pregnancy: If you’re very young or have developmental disabilities, you may be unaware of common signs of pregnancy like a missed period, tender breasts, or nausea.

Diagnosis of cryptic pregnancy.

Diagnosis of cryptic pregnancy can be challenging due to the absence of typical symptoms and the woman’s denial of pregnancy.

In some cases, pregnancy tests may produce false-negative results due to hormone levels or testing errors.

Ultrasound scans are the most reliable method for confirming pregnancy, but if a woman is unaware or denies being pregnant, she may not seek medical evaluation.

cryptic pregnancy at 7 months
Woman started feeling kicks and movement in her stomach, she got worried and went for a scan and she was shocked when the sonographer told her she was 7 months pregnant.

A cryptic pregnancy can be diagnosed just as a normal pregnancy can be diagnosed. 

That a cryptic pregnancy cannot be detected by an ultrasound is false or telling women not to go for a scan is misleading.

If you are having fertility challenges or taking fertility-enhancing blends, monitoring your progress will help you know when exactly you got pregnant, and monitoring your pregnancy by going for a scan from time to time will help you know how your baby is progressing.  

Potential risk.

Is a cryptic pregnancy dangerous for the baby or the mother?

  • Cryptic pregnancy poses risks both to the mother and the unborn child due to the lack of prenatal care. When a woman doesn’t realize she’s pregnant, she isn’t able to get the prenatal care she needs, she may not eat as well as she should for a healthy pregnancy and baby, and she may engage in lifestyle habits that aren’t safe for a growing fetus (drinking alcohol, for instance, or smoking). 
  • What’s more, she may not even realize she’s in labor when it begins, and that could lead to an unattended birth.
  • Without proper medical supervision, complications such as preterm birth, low birth weight, and birth defects may occur.
  • Additionally, the mother may not be mentally or emotionally prepared for childbirth, leading to heightened stress during labor and delivery.

Management and support.

Women who discover they are pregnant after a cryptic pregnancy should seek medical care immediately to ensure the health and well-being of themselves and their baby.

Healthcare professionals can provide guidance, support, and necessary prenatal care to manage the pregnancy effectively.

Counseling and therapy may also be beneficial for addressing any underlying psychological issues associated with cryptic pregnancy.

In summary, cryptic pregnancy is a rare condition where a woman remains unaware of her pregnancy until late into gestation, often due to a combination of physical and psychological factors. Early detection through medical evaluation is crucial to ensure a safe and healthy outcome for both the mother and the baby.

In conclusion, couples should know that there is no planned cryptic pregnancy and therefore, there is nothing like a cryptic pregnancy practitioner that can put you in the cryptic pregnancy way.

Also, couples trying to conceive should know that there are different fertility treatment options available for them, so they have the power to choose their preferred treatment option.

For couples whose preference is to conceive naturally, I will recommend Fermedies Care for Women and Fermedies Care for Men fertility blends,

Care for Women for hormonal imbalance

Care for Women

Care for Women is put together to balance your hormone levels, regulate your menstruation and ovulation, enhance your fertility and help you get pregnant naturally.
Care for men to boost sperm count

Care for Men

Care for Men is an organic and natural herbal blend designed to help boost and increase sperm counts, motility, vitality, and morphology of sperm to help men father children naturally..

CASE STUDY:

Unexpected delivery: a case report of cryptic pregnancy in Nigeria.

This is a case of a 19-year-old overweight female student, Ms K, in Enugu State, South East, Nigeria. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7490131/

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Dr. Benney Ojo
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