Cryptic Pregnancy: Realizing You Will Be a Mom Moments Before Delivery

Although it seems hard to believe, there are women who only realize that they are going to be mothers shortly before giving birth. This curious phenomenon is known as cryptic pregnancy and it is estimated that it appears in one of every 2500 pregnancies.

It is clear that nature provides the tools to detect pregnancy. However, for different reasons these signals fail or are not perceived in the correct way sometimes. This is what gives rise to the cryptic pregnancy.

Of course, these types of situations carry a great risk. If a woman does not know that she is leading a new life inside her womb, she will not adopt the care that this state demands either and may engage in risky behaviors without knowing it.

Why do cryptic pregnancies happen?

The first question any of us asks is why cryptic pregnancies take place. How is it that a mother does not realize that she is pregnant. As well, there are two factors in particular why this happens: psychological and physical. Let's see.

Psychological causes

A first reason for a cryptic pregnancy is the inability of the mother to recognize the state of pregnancy. This occurs when pregnancy occurs at a very young age, in minors who do not know how to differentiate the symptoms or in patients with a cognitive disability.

Likewise, in an adult woman with full faculties it is possible that there is a rejection of the state of pregnancy and this originates a psychological denial of pregnancy. This can occur due to previous sexual abuse or the desire not to have children, among others.

In these circumstances, the woman is unable to become aware of her condition and ignores the symptoms of pregnancy. Most often, she misinterprets them, even if she has been a mother before.

It is striking that in many of these cases it is as if the body is in tune with the mind. Therefore, the symptoms of pregnancy do not appear or appear in a very subtle way. The baby can be positioned along the belly and hardly protrudes, in addition to there being no nausea.

Some belly pains during cryptic pregnancy can be interpreted as normal or attributed to other causes.

You may also be interested in: Symptoms of pregnancy presented by parents

Physical causes

There are some medical conditions that result in a cryptic pregnancy. It happens because the symptoms are not the usual ones or because they are confused with those of another state of health.

Among the situations that prevent detection of pregnancy are the following:

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome: This condition causes hormonal imbalances that could stop or make menstruation irregular and limit fertility.
  • Contraceptive methods: the use of them can lead to believe that pregnancy is impossible, when it is not.
  • Perimenopause: during the transition from childbearing age to menopause there are symptoms similar to those of pregnancy, such as weight gain, stopped menstruation and general malaise.
  • Competitive physical activity: highly competitive athletes sometimes have low levels of some hormones and this makes the diagnosis of pregnancy difficult.
  • Presence of low body fat: this state can cause the absence of menstruation and consequent confusion.

What about the symptoms and changes of pregnancy?

As we have already pointed out, there are circumstances in which the typical symptoms of pregnancy do not appear. There are irregular bleeding that is interpreted as menstruation, there are no associated discomforts and the belly hardly grows. In this way, a cryptic pregnancy is constituted.

Likewise, in some obese women, the increase in the belly is assumed as an increase in weight and not as a sign of pregnancy. It is also the case that all the classic symptoms are present, but the state of mind prevents them from being associated with pregnancy. It is common that the environment, including the partner, do not perceive it either.

Gynecological diseases can mask a pregnancy and confuse women.

Read on: What are the hormones that influence the menstrual cycle?

What risks does a cryptic pregnancy entail?

A cryptic pregnancy prevents adequate medical monitoring of the pregnancy. Therefore, there is a risk of associated diseases arising and developing, such as gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, eclampsia or HELLP syndrome.

Lack of treatment and control over these diseases could have serious negative consequences. The normal development of the fetus may be compromised. There are even circumstances in which these diseases cause death.

A cryptic pregnancy too prevents any possible abnormalities of the baby from being detected and followed. That is without counting the nutritional care that ceases to be carried out by ignoring the state of pregnancy.

Cryptic pregnancy is a risky situation

Although cryptic pregnancy is an uncommon condition, it does exist and carries several risks. The outcome could be traumatic, since it implies assuming a situation for which one was not prepared.

On some occasions, contractions at the time of delivery are interpreted as severe discomfort and medical attention is requested late. You can even have a birth anywhere outside of hospitals or healthcare, with all the dangers that this implies.