A mum has taken to Mumsnet to share details of her surprise or ‘cryptic pregnancy’, revealing she had her baby a day after finding out she was pregnant … at 35 weeks gestation and just one day before delivering!
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A ‘cryptic pregnancy’ – sometimes called a ‘delayed pregnancy’ – is a lack of awareness of pregnancy until the end of gestation or birth.
“A 2002 paper published in the British Medical Journal estimated that it occurs in about one in every 2,500 pregnancies,” The Guardian tells us.
This includes those cases you hear of in the news where women go to the bathroom feeling a bit crappy and come out – to their surprise – with an unexpected newborn. But women don’t always find out about these cryptic pregnancies when a baby pops out. Sometimes they get a little more warning, as this mum’s story shows.
“I had a cryptic pregnancy,” the mum wrote inviting forum users to ask her anything about her experience. “Please try and be respectful and I’ll try my hardest to answer any and all questions.”
“I went to the GP with what I thought was horrible IBS,” the mum wrote about her surprise, first-time pregnancy. “After some back and forth, took a pregnancy test and it came up positive. Went for a scan quite quickly afterwards and it turned out I was about 35 weeks. I went into labour about a day later I think, eventually gave birth about a day after that.”
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NO baby bump! NO morning sickness!
This mum says the only sign – in hindsight – was that she “gained a little bit of weight but not enough to cause me concern … I got absolutely no morning sickness at all. I was on the progesterone only pill at the time so hadn’t a period since I started taking that 18 months before I got pregnant.”
The usual ‘baby bump’ we associate with pregnancy was absent in this case.
“I had no bump (I went into hospital in my size 12 jeans),” she confirmed.
This mum was quite fortunate to have found out about her sneaky pregnancy before her baby arrived. Many other mums who experience this sort of pregnancy find out when they are in labour. So how does this shock reveal play out in real time?
“On a practical level I was panicking,” the mum admits. “I literally had nothing, getting a pram on such short notice was close to impossible (eventually got one second hand). After I left hospital I had to make a mad dash to Mothercare an hour before it closed to get all the necessities: Moses basket, baby bath etc etc.”
Ready or not?!
But when it came to readying herself mentally, it was a case of just keep swimming.
“Emotionally I don’t think I had time to panic as I had to put my babies needs first,” she told other forum users. “I had great support actually. My family and friends were great, the midwifes were absolutely brilliant.”
“The father took it less than brilliantly, lots of accusation I got pregnant on purpose and had hidden it from him. He’s not involved (his choice) and hasn’t been since baby was born.”
The usual preparation of pregnancy was totally skipped over, and this had some consequences, the mum says.
“Luckily I’m not a big drinker or smoker nor do I like soft cheese or sushi. I did drink but not huge binges. The guilt from those few occasions where I did drink was quite hard to live with for a while.”
A hidden hunch?
This mum says she truly did not conceal her pregnancy and that it came as a total surprise.
“Some argue that there’s a psychological reason why the woman doesn’t ‘recognise’ her pregnancy, or can’t allow herself to acknowledge it consciously. Do you think that was the case with you?” one commenter asked.
“I had a lot going on in my life at the time,” the mum – whose child is now two – agreed. “I had elderly relatives in hospital that I was caring for, whilst studying and finishing my final year of university exams. I wasn’t paying attention to my own body because I was preoccupied elsewhere with things that I deemed more important. I also hadn’t had any blatantly obvious contraceptive cock ups so pregnancy wasn’t really on my radar.”
When asked by other curious mums if she had problems connecting to her baby, given the speedy and unexpected arrival, she said things fell pretty easily into place.
“I didn’t fret about whether there would be a bond or not as I had no time to,” she explained. “I made sure I did lots of skin to skin. For the first few days I couldn’t believe she was mine. I did feel a little cheated about not being to enjoy my first pregnancy at first, but I’m over it now.”