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What Is a Cryptic Pregnancy?

by | January 15, 2019

Have you ever heard those stories about women giving birth and they had no clue that they were pregnant? I think there’s even a TV show about it here in the US, ‘I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant’ or something like that. I used to think, no way, there’s no way that someone can be pregnant for nine months and not know. Well, apparently there’s a name for that: cryptic pregnancy.

As a person who’s extremely sensitive to changes in my body, I used to joke that I could feel the egg being fertilized, so someone having no idea they are pregnant is a strange phenomenon to me. Recently a story about cryptic pregnancy appeared in According to them, these are the most common signs, symptoms, and causes of such pregnancy.

cryptic pregnancy
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What is a Cryptic Pregnancy?

A cryptic pregnancy, also known as a stealth pregnancy, is when a woman who is pregnant has such minimal or subtle symptoms that they remain unaware of the pregnancy. Sometimes a woman could have low hCG levels due to sterilization or infertility problems, which could lead to pregnancy going undetected.

What are the Causes of Cryptic Pregnancy?

Some cryptic pregnancies are caused by hormonal imbalance, while others can be caused by psychological issues.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, also known as PCOS

Ovarian cysts may cause a hormonal imbalance in women, making hCG levels undectable.

Recent Pregnancy

Hormone levels don’t instantly fall back to normal levels after a pregnancy, so a woman who gets pregnant soon after a previous pregnancy could have a cryptic pregnancy.


The time when a womans body is heading towards menopause and showing menopausal symptoms.

Athletic Amenorrhea

Some athletes or women with low body fat can have fluctuating hormones.

Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills can contain hormones that can affect natural pregnancy hormones.


Stress is a significant factor in causing fluctuating hormones.

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Some of the signs of Cryptic Pregnancy

Periods or menstrual-like bleeding can lead a woman to think she is having her menstrual cycle as usual.
Nausea and vomiting could be mistaken for other conditions.
Feeling of movement in the uterus, could be mistaken for gas.

Along with low to zero detection of hCG levels, an ultrasound may also be unable to detect a pregnancy, especially if the fetus is nestled towards the spine.

Some cryptic pregnancies last longer than regular pregnancies.

Although we’ve all heard of a woman who gives birth to a healthy baby after unknowingly being pregnant for nine months, this is not the norm for a cryptic pregnancy. The gestation period for a cryptic pregnancy is usually much longer than that of a normal pregnancy. This is because the hCG hormone is not absorbed by the body. Cryptic pregnancies can last more than 40 weeks and have been known to last as long as two years.



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