When Giving Birth Is The First Sign Of Pregnancy

Sonia's Surprise Baby, Superbly Done.

Stranger Than Fiction?

Most long-term Eastenders fans will have come across this phenomenon before.

In 2000, teenager Sonia was in labour with baby Chloe without even suspecting that she was about to become a mum! When the severe stomach pains started she'd thought that she was dying.

But although Sonia's story was fictional, this wasn't just some fantastical drama dreamt up by the writers to draw in audiences!

It happens in real-life too. And not realising that you're pregnant is more common than you would think.

About a year before the Eastenders' storyline aired, it happened to somebody that I knew. This lady was rushed to hospital with a suspected ruptured appendix. But luckily they checked first, and found a baby, who popped out shorty afterwards!

There were lots of questions going through my mind about how she could possibly not have known. Her work colleagues were also full of questions when she phoned to tell them that she'd be needing to go on maternity leave - effective immediately!

If you've never come across this situation before you might have some questions too. For most women, if they've been through a "normal" pregnancy, it seems an impossible thing that someone wouldn't realise they were pregnant for a whole nine months.

I'm sure that there have been a lot of negative aspersions cast on these women by males and females alike. This is unfair, because it is possible for a woman to be pregnant and not know it.

Here are some questions that you might be asking, and some answers that might surprise you!

Lack Of Periods

Wouldn't a lack of periods be a hint that you might be pregnant?

For most women, a missed period is the first sign of pregnancy. But this is not the case for everyone. Some women don't have regular periods anyway for a number of reasons; including poly-cystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the peri-menopause, being over or under-weight, or having an under-active thyroid gland. If you don't have a period very often then many months may pass before you realise that something unusual is happening!

And if a woman is on a certain type of contraceptive pill then she will not have any periods at all. So if her pill were to fail for some reason and she fell pregnant, the lack of periods would not give her any clue to her pregnancy.

Other women may have regular periods before their pregnancy, and continue to have regular period-like bleeds even when they are pregnant! These are unusual cases and the reasons for this are not always known, but there are a couple of known causes.

  • Some women are born with two wombs. If they become pregnant in one womb and continue to bleed from the other, the continuation of periods would not alert them to being pregnant.
  • The second cause of regular bleeding during pregnancy occurs when some of the womb lining continues to shed each month. This is known as decidual bleeding and is caused by an unusual hormonal balance. The lining that sheds has not yet become involved in supporting the placenta, and is thought to be harmless. It is most common in the first few months, but can continue further into the pregnancy.
N.B. Bleeding in pregnancy could be a sign of a miscarriage and 
should always be checked out by your doctor.

Beautiful Belly Art

Ok, so I think this lady knew she was pregnant, but some women don't.  Photo credit aturkus, on Flickr.
Ok, so I think this lady knew she was pregnant, but some women don't. Photo credit aturkus, on Flickr.

Weight Gain

How about the weight gain and increase in stomach size?

In the absence of any other pregnancy symptoms, (or occasionally perhaps due to a lack of knowledge of pregnancy symptoms), a woman might simply put her weight gain down to over-eating.

But, surprisingly, some women put next to no weight on when they're pregnant. I've known several really skinny ladies who have been weeks away from giving birth, and nobody would ever have guessed that they were even pregnant!

Their stomachs stayed small, due to a combination of strong stomach muscles and the (perhaps related) fact that they were carrying their babies high, behind their rib-cage. Some women also tend not to put much weight on elsewhere on their bodies.

Conversely, it is sometimes the case that women who were already quite large before pregnancy do not notice the extra weight, and a baby bump doesn't alter their appearance very much.

So if a woman doesn't gain much extra weight or see her body changing noticeably, then with a lack of other symptoms she would have little reason to suspect that she was pregnant.

Pregnancy Symptoms

Wouldn't you have pregnancy symptoms, like morning sickness?

Although morning sickness is common in pregnancy (it is thought that around 75% of pregnant women have pregnancy-related sickness or nausea), some ladies are lucky enough not to suffer with it at all!

Some women feel perfectly normal during their pregnancy, and don't have any typical pregnancy signs. They don't get strange cravings or digestive problems and they're not frequently rushing to the toilet. They are even-tempered, have normal-sized breasts, and they have plenty of energy throughout.

Women who don't experience these "normal" pregnancy symptoms often worry that there's something wrong with their baby, or that maybe they're not pregnant after all. But for some people it's just normal.

Baby Movement

When you felt your baby move you would suspect you were pregnant, wouldn't you?

Babies don't always move that much. Some children are full of energy while others are more laid-back - and this difference starts while they're still in the womb. Everybody's different.

My mum didn't realise that it was even possible to feel your baby moving inside of you because she never felt any movement at all when she was pregnant with me. While my own baby didn't stop kicking and jiggling around in my tummy. And it turns out that my daughter and I have very different personalities and energy levels!

A friend of mine was also worried when her baby didn't appear to move very much so she went to see her doctor, who did a scan and told her that everything was fine, she just had one chilled-out baby.

Had you heard about surprise pregnancies before reading this hub?

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So Not So Unbelievable After All..

So some women have pregnancies with no noticeable weight-gain, others have no perceptible change to their menstrual cycle, certain people suffer no pregnancy symptoms, and in some pregnancies there is little or no foetal movement at all.

And it is perfectly feasible for all of these things to happen at once! So this helps us to understand how occasionally a woman might be far into her pregnancy, but not suspect a thing.

photo credit: gabi_menashe on flickr
photo credit: gabi_menashe on flickr

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Comments 26 comments

Chaotic Chica profile image

Chaotic Chica 6 years ago

I am so glad you posted this! I had often wondered how it was possible to not know until I started to do a little research. There was a television show that also shed some light on this topic. It scares me to think of the many ways some of these women might have put their child's health in danger by not knowing but if they don't know, there's nothing they can do. I am still amazed when I hear such stories but I am more underdstanding now. I am glad to see that someone had the thought to share these views with the general public!


Moon Daisy profile image

Moon Daisy 6 years ago from London Author

Thanks for your comments Chaotic Chica. Yes you're right, if you don't know that you're pregnant you could be doing things to endanger your child without realising, but of course it can't be helped.

It is amazing to hear such stories. The lady I knew got used to people disbelieving her, but she truly got the shock of her life when it happened!


Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder

Some friends of mine had a high school teacher to whom this happened. She was in her early 40s and over weight. She had actually lost weight during the pregnancy, had some normal symptoms, such as heart burn, but never thought to attribute it to pregnancy. She thought she was going through menopause.


Moon Daisy profile image

Moon Daisy 6 years ago from London Author

Very interesting. It seems that there are all sorts of combinations of circumstances that make it possible to not realise that you're pregnant!

And it must be such an unbelievable shock when this happens. Thanks for your comment.


Baby 6 years ago

When i was watching the TV show about these pregnancies i thought it wasn't possible. But surprise! it happened to me. No missing period, no cravings, no nausea. I was loosing weight (i was not over weight so) i was even buying smaller clothes during this period. Fortunately, i am not smoking and i am not drinking usually and i have pretty healthy living style (eat lots of vegetable, fruits, no caffeine etc.) so the baby is perfectly healthy and has no vitamin deficiencies although i didn't take any prenatal vitamins.

Now i am extremely interested in medical explanations about these cases because part of the doctors didn't believe me when i told them i was pregnant (though i had been examined by 3 doctors and none of them said i was pregnant until i had an ecography and after that, in 15 minutes my baby was born). I must say that i used two types of protection at the same time (condoms and coitus interruptus). if you have any information about this or some bibliography please share with us because it is a very interesting subject.


Moon Daisy profile image

Moon Daisy 6 years ago from London Author

Thank you for your comment Baby, and for sharing your story. You are a prime example of what this hub is about! How amazing that you were actually losing weight, as well as not having any of the normal pregnancy signs or symptoms.

It really makes you worry about the medical profession if those 3 doctors didn't realise you were pregnant. Did they do any urine or blood tests? Or did they come back negative? I know that some women test negative despite being several months into a pregnancy, but I'm not sure why.

I can't imagine the shock you must have got when your baby was born. And it was a real I-told-you-so to those doctors - in the most dramatic way!!

I don't have any additional information to what I've put in the article, but if I come across anything I'll let you know.


Money Glitch profile image

Money Glitch 6 years ago from Texas

I admit that it is hard to imagine that an individual would not know that they are pregnant. However, I once knew a lady that went for six months without knowing she was. I guess this is just another uniqueness that happens with mother nature. Thanks for sharing your insight. Thumbs up!


Moon Daisy profile image

Moon Daisy 6 years ago from London Author

Hi Money Glitch, yes, surprise pregnancy is truly an amazing thing! It sure does show that everybody's different, things happen differently for all of us, and sometimes they don't happen at all how we expect! Thanks for your comment and the thumbs up :)


DaalRoti 6 years ago

Can you comment on the babies future and further complications for the babies those are born in this case (not knowing the pregnancy and bleeding throughout pregnancy) and baby is born in 7th month? Will they lead the normal life (espacially girl)?


Moon Daisy profile image

Moon Daisy 6 years ago from London Author

I'm afraid I'm not a medical professional DaalRoti, so I can't really help you there. You would need to talk to your healthcare provider. And I suppose a good place to start for research purposes would be looking at information about premature babies, and the health risks that they might face. Thank you for visiting my hub, and good luck.


lost lady 6 years ago

my question is can a woman have an ultrasound that doesn't show a baby and still be pregnant or is that not possible


Moon Daisy profile image

Moon Daisy 6 years ago from London Author

I'm afraid I'm not a medical professional and I don't know the answer to this question. I would guess that it would be unusual not to see a baby if there was one.

I've certainly heard of technicians missing seeing a twin when one baby was hiding behind the other, but in the case of a single baby, I'm not sure that it would be able to hide behind anything.

Plus I suppose it would also depend on how early the woman has the scan, compared to when it would normally be possible to see a baby on a scan. Beyond this I'm afraid I can't help with your query. I wish you well.


seeker 6 years ago

This also happened to me up until 24 weeks without knowing. I actually had no symptoms (including periods up until the 4th month) until I found out (after which I developed symptoms such as ankle swelling and belly growth rapidly in the next 2 or 3 days).

But I should point out a few things. I did not have strong stomach muscles, and the baby was apparently not hiding behind the rib cage. I am of thin stature, and I don't have two wombs. There is no actual evidence to show that the baby has low energy personality-wise if it does not move AT ALL during pregnancy. These are just inaccurate attempts to explain it away, which I can see as inaccurate from my own experience.

I heard also of other women who only developed symptoms after they realised they were pregnant. It makes me see that there is a connection between the way the mother's mind, desires and expectations are and the way her body has developed symptoms.. I myself had a very traumatic circumstance surrounding the conception and I really did not want to be pregnant.

I wish that there would be some scientific studies made of this. Does anyone know of any?


Sun-Girl profile image

Sun-Girl 5 years ago from Nigeria

Nicely, lovely and well shared article which i so much enjoyed reading from beginning to end.


Moon Daisy profile image

Moon Daisy 5 years ago from London Author

Seeker, thanks for your comment, and for sharing your experiences of this. You say some very interesting things, and I understand that for some women these explanations don't accurately explain why they exhibit no pregnancy symptoms at all.

I also like what you wrote about the mind-body connection. A very interesting idea that if your body doesn't know you're pregnant it won't produce any pregnancy symptoms.

I'm afraid that I don't know of any scientific studies that have been done on this, but agree that they would be an interesting read!


Moon Daisy profile image

Moon Daisy 5 years ago from London Author

Sun-Girl, thanks very much for your kind comment. I'm glad you enjoyed reading my hub.


Skye 5 years ago

I think that i might be pregnant but i don't really know how to ask my doctor to check im on "the pill" and i know that i cant take a regular home test and i don't want to tell my parents how do i know for sure without raising suspicion?


Moon Daisy profile image

Moon Daisy 5 years ago from London Author

Hi Skye, thanks for stopping by. Not sure how much I can help you. You sound young, so hope you can find someone you can talk to about this.

I'm not sure what the arrangements are where you live about visiting a doctor without your parents knowing, it probably depends on how old you are. Maybe you can phone up to find out. Failing that, you could visit a planned parenthood centre in your area which should be confidential, or perhaps speak to your school nurse.

You can certainly take a regular home pregnancy test if you are on the pill. It won't affect the results, which will still be accurate so long as you follow the instructions and test at the right time.

I wish you good luck.


Lee 4 years ago

Just to let you ladies know, it does happen. In fact, it happened to me. From the word go when I hit puberty I would literally have my period every 94 days like clockwork. I was taken to gp's specialists you name it and they all said this is just how it is for me and my body.

During my 42 week pregnancy, I put on maybe 3-4kgs over the christmas holiday period. This includes, my birthday, christmas, new year etc.

I went into early stages of labour while at my desk at work dealing with frustrating customers.

I ended up vomiting on my boss. He sent me home with cabcharge, told me to see a Dr and take the wednesday off. I got home eventually with these horribly painful cramps to which my Mum gave me panadol, nurofen, buscopan everything she could think of until it looked terrible and we both thought appendix, food poisoning, but never my baby boy.

I got to hospital, they assumed it was appendix and maybe it had burst or was just about to until the u/s machine picked up a very strong heartbeat.

They discovered I was in ful blown labour with a 10lbs 7 oz baby boy.

I still had my normal period (normal for me anyway) throughout my pregnancy, no morning sickness, he was too tall to mov in me so there was no foetal movement apart from when he wanted out!

He was delivered by c-section at 1:52am 15th March 2006.


Moon Daisy profile image

Moon Daisy 4 years ago from London Author

An amazing (true) story! Thank you so much for posting and sharing it with us.


jtrader profile image

jtrader 3 years ago

Really learned a lot from this. Thank you.


Jectdiclele 3 years ago

Hiya! I just want to give an enormous thumbs up for the great information you've got right here on this post. I shall be coming back to your weblog for extra soon.

Mooppybum


VVanNess profile image

VVanNess 2 years ago from Prescott Valley

I've watched the TV shows and heard that this was possible but I didn't believe it. That makes me want to take regular pregnancy tests just to make sure. lol

Great article. Thanks!


Moon Daisy profile image

Moon Daisy 2 years ago from London Author

Thanks jtrader, Jectdiclele and VVanNess! I'm happy that you visited this page. And VVanNess, yes, it is pretty unbelievable but true, and good thinking there! :) You just never know...


VVanNess profile image

VVanNess 2 years ago from Prescott Valley

Ever since reading this article I can't seem to stop thinking about it. I've wanted children my entire life, but more importantly, I've wanted to experience the miracle of pregnancy. I keep wondering what that has to feel like missing out on the whole process.

I have a book all planned out to write during my pregnancy, I have plenty I want to accomplish during that 9 months or so, and want to finally enjoy that period of time in my life to get used to the idea of motherhood, read tons of great books, and set up the nursery.

I don't know what I'd do if I totally missed all of that. Has anybody reading this actually experienced this phenomenon and how did you feel?


greeneyedblondie profile image

greeneyedblondie 2 years ago

I used to watch the show, "I didn't know I was pregnant" and it had woman of all ages, even menopausal, suddenly realize they were giving birth. Usually these are people that were told they were definitely infertile and could never have/possible shouldn't give birth to a child. One episode even had twins!

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