Graveyard Shift

Women Who Gave Birth Without Knowing They Were Pregnant 

Amanda Tullos
Updated November 21, 2019 768.4k views 16 items

It's hard to imagine how someone can go nine months without knowing they're pregnant. There must have been symptoms. There had to be signs - kicking, nausea, cravings. It's physically affecting your body. How could you not know?

It's a phenomenon known as cryptic pregnancy. About one in 2,500 women don't know they're pregnant until they're in labor, so the condition is rare. Many contributing factors can hide the pregnancy, like a lack of actual symptoms and obesity.

Dr. Patricia Devine, the former director of labor and delivery at Columbia University Medical Center, explained, "This is an extreme situation, a very rare situation, because it is pretty hard to miss all of the signs of pregnancy."

But it does indeed happen. The following cases involve women who claim they went their entire pregnancy with no signs or symptoms until delivery. These are stories of people who gave birth without knowing they were pregnant.

An Australian Model Was Surprised When She Went Into Labor In Her Bathroom
An Australian Model Was ... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Women Who Gave Birth Without Knowing They Were Pregnant
Photo:  @erinlangmaid/Instagram

Australian model Erin Langmaid reportedly discovered she was pregnant 10 minutes before giving birth in her bathroom. Langmaid's partner, Dan Carty, found her in the bathroom with their daughter, Isla, after he heard her screaming. Carty immediately called the emergency line and reported that although Langmaid appeared healthy, their daughter was struggling. 

Isla is a healthy, 7-pound, 7-ounce child, but Langmaid wrote on her Instagram that their first week as a new family was the "hardest week of [their] lives." 

Some in the media suggest the stealth pregnancy was a publicity stunt because of how difficult it is to fathom, according to Stuff. Langmaid did not appear to gain any weight and alleged she experienced no symptoms of pregnancy. 

90-Year-Old Gives Birth To Mummified Fetus
90-Year-Old Gives Birth ... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Women Who Gave Birth Without Knowing They Were Pregnant
Photo: Vishal Kapoor/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

In 2009, 92-year-old Huang Yijun of China gave birth to a calcified fetus she had been carrying in her body for more than 50 years. The phenomenon is known as a lithopedion, which occurs when the fetus of a failed pregnancy calcifies - or turns to stone - inside the body but outside the uterus.

Doctors explained that the condition is similar to an ectopic pregnancy, and the fetuses rarely last for months before breaking down in the body.

Woman Delivers 10-Pound Baby Hours After Learning She's Pregnant
Woman Delivers 10-Pound ... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Women Who Gave Birth Without Knowing They Were Pregnant
Photo: Ann Marie Brasco/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Boston native Katherine Kropas, 23, never suspected she was pregnant when she arrived at the hospital for stomach and back pain. Kropas had been on birth control and experienced no pregnancy symptoms in the months before her unexpected pain. When she spoke with a doctor she learned she was pregnant, and an hour later she delivered a healthy, 10-pound baby girl.

"I thought I had put on some Christmas season weight, but I never thought I was pregnant," she told CBS Boston. "Never."

47-Year-Old Learns She's Going To Be A First-Time Mom Right Before Labor
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Video: YouTube

A 47-year-old Massachusetts woman never expected to find that pregnancy was the cause of her severe abdominal pain. Judy Brown believed she was just going through changes in life - like menopause - when her symptoms worsened. She went to the hospital and discovered that she was actually in labor

Brown delivered a healthy, 8-pound baby girl named Carolyn Rose.