Women Who Gave Birth Without Knowing They Were Pregnant

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.

Photo: DanEvans / Pixabay / CC0 1.0

  • An Australian Model Was Surprised When She Went Into Labor In Her Bathroom

    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 To Mummified Fetus
    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 Baby Hours After Learning She's 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

    47-Year-Old Learns She's Going To Be A First-Time Mom Right Before Labor
    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.
  • Teen Mistakes Pregnancy For A Stomach Bug

    Teen Mistakes Pregnancy For A Stomach Bug
    Photo: dirtyboxface / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    A 17-year-old Wisconsin teen thought she had the stomach flu when she went to use the bathroom one night. To her surprise, she discovered she was actually in labor when she delivered her baby into the toilet.

    Luckily, Braeley Pettigrew didn't panic. She and the baby were rushed to the hospital where they were treated. "I never thought I would be having a baby at 17, but my first instinct was to get him out of the toilet and wrap him up to keep him warm," she said.

    She originally told her mom and police the baby had been abandoned on the front porch. She eventually admitted the child was hers, and that she'd lied out of fear.

  • Woman Tests Negative For Pregnancy, Then Delivers Baby Girl

    Amanda Berger of Cedar Falls, IA, wasn't doing anything to prevent a pregnancy, but nothing indicated that she actually was pregnant when it happened. She took multiple pregnancy tests - three to be exact - and they all came back negative. She continued to feel weird, but she said she had a normal menstrual cycle every month and never experienced nausea.

    Berger didn't learn she was pregnant until she woke up at 36 weeks with severe cramping. She had to be induced into labor, and out came daughter McKinlee.