Not Knowing You Were Pregnant Until You Deliver

Updated on December 03, 2011
J.S. asks from Green Cove Springs, FL
22 answers

There was an article on this today. A woman in Portland went to the hospital thinking she had appendicitis and instead delivered a baby. She said she was told she couldn't have anymore children and blamed her weight gain on cysts on her ovaries and eating too much. I guess if you have a cystic disease it could also explain the absence of a period. I just wonder though, when the baby was moving and kicking, what did she think that was? (not being mean, I just really wonder what she thought it was) I know a few women that were pregnant and didn't know it till later in the pregnancy. In fact my husband aunt was one of them. She didn't know until she was five months pregnant, and thought she caught a bad case of the flu, went in and found out she was pregnant. This was a while ago when they still believed that you couldn't get pregnant while breast feeding. So she had two children only ten months apart! Yikes!

Any one else ever have this happen? It just so interesting! My daughter barely stopped moving enough to let me sleep, there isn't anyway I could have missed that! LOL

Edit: You know I never had those gas bubbles that felt like a baby moving until AFTER my daughter was born. So I can totally see mistaking one for the other, at least in the beginning. Near the end that child LIVED in my rib cage and would kick so hard people standing next to me could see it. :) Maybe some babies just are a lot less active?

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So What Happened?

AV: Thanks for that story! Like I said this is really interesting to me, and I could definitely see how you might not be able to feel the baby kick, with extra fluid in there. I suffer from lymphedema, and I can tell you when my leg swells it's either really painful, or dead to the world, and that makes sense.

Thanks for the stories ladies. I feel seriously educated now! You mean there are other shows on TV other than kids shows? Wow! LOL

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answers from Chicago on

I just think that anyone who gets that far into a pregnancy without knowing it is REALLY out of touch with their bodies. For me I knew at 5 weeks both times.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Savannah on

This type of thing happened to my cousin's wife. She has always had weight issues and looked heavy, but not necessarily pregnant. They had been trying for a baby, but she continued to have her period the entire pregnancy. Her period would be late, she would take a home pregnancy test and it would be negative. Her period would start a few days later, leaver her none the wiser. She took 4 different pregnancy tests throughout her pregnancy that were negative. Toward the end of December, she had taken another test which came back positive. She scheduled her appointment for after Christmas and decided to keep the secret to herself until Christmas Day as a "gift" for my cousin. She went into labor on Dec. 23rd. She was having severe abdominal pain and she ended up telling her husband, who took her immediately to the emergency room. In the ER they told her that she was going into labor and she insisted she was not because she was only a few weeks along, but when they did the ultrasound she was full term! She delivered that night.

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answers from Dallas on

I didn't know until I was 6 mos pregnant, because I was still breastfeeding. My back always hurt from carrying that chunky boy around. My breasts always hurt, I was always exhausted and hormonal, and I never had a period. I attributed it all to breastfeeding. Thanksgiving night I was laying in bed and felt what I thought was gas bubbles. But then I physically felt the foot kick my hand and I freaked out! Emergency trip to walgreens, emotional breakdown, a river of tears and anxiety.
But you know what? I love that sugar baby so much now. I tell her she holds the title for best hide and seek player in the world. She was so good, I didn't even know I was pregnant. What a good good baby.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I'm sorry, I just don't see how anyone who thinks can have this happen to them! Tracy K -I can see that at 6 months because of the breastfeeding, having a small baby already, etc., but I'm betting if she had gone another month or two that belly would have clued her in! Honestly, I know some women don't "show" nearly as much as others, but by the time you're knocking on 9 months -there is a BELLY. And it's usually HUGE! Unless you're monstrously obese -how could you not notice your midsection swelling up so much? I have a big frame and TONS of room between my hips -and a very long torso. I'm the kind of woman who doesn't show very largely, but my belly was HUGE. I do understand the not feeling the movement -I almost never felt my first baby, although by the end -you feel something bigger than gas! And then there's the no period issue. Like I said -if you're breastfeeding and not having a period, I can see that going on for awhile (not 9 months), but just suddenly not having a period? Hmmmm. To absolutely, completely have NO idea you're pregnant until delivery -I just don't think you're all "there" if you know what I mean!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I have wondered the same thing. I can totally understand not knowing you are pregnant until the second or maybe the third trimester (especially if it is your first and/or you thought you could not have children) but to not know until you actually deliver is kinda crazy! I look forward to your answers!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Most of the time a uterus is pointing outwards. The baby grows OUT. There also happen to be quite a lot of nerves (proprioception and pain reception) in that area.

Sometimes, however, a uterus can grow UP.

The baby, instead of being all squashed into a basketball sized shape stretches upward in a long thin line. At 9mo, if your uterus went up and back you're looking at ONE PANTS SIZE different. From a 10-12, or a 6-8, or a 14-16.

I don't know aboutchall... but I do that change every year after the holidays.

There's also a lot of nerve transmission issues when a baby/uterus is growing upward. You WON'T feel kicks, movement, because there aren't nerves to register the sensation. You WILL feel occasional shoulder pain, upper back pain, and possibly some pains in OTHER areas of your body. The ONLY reason we can feel a baby move is because we have nerves in the area (our stretched skin is AWASH with nerves, as are our abdominal muscles and intestines and bladder) that register the movement accurately.

Anyone who has had abdominal surgery is familiar with "referred" pain. Ditto most cancer patients. Referred pain is when one part of your body ACTUALLY hurts, but the signals get confused so A TOTALLY DIFFERENT part of your body feels it. Like stubbing your toe and having your elbow hurt instead. (That doesn't happen, but it's parallel).

Without nerves to tell you about movement, and without "the bump"... how WOULD you know? Missed periods. Well, if you're irregular, or have been told you're going through menopause, or have a gynecollogical issue?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

It happens often enough for their to be a tv show called 'I didn't know I was pregnant'.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

OH, I know, I'm with you. I don't understand how they can not know. Yes some medical conditions can explain the lack of a monthly period but how do you explain away the movement? Gas? Gas feels different than what a baby feels like. Now I guess if it's your first pregnancy and you are pretty naive, then maybe you can mistake it for gas but what about when the baby is clearly rolling around and sometimes pushing hard? I just don't get it. I can't wrap my brain around that at all. I don't know. I think some cases are of the woman being in complete denial, not allowing herself to think that she could be pregnant. Who knows.....

ADDED: I wanted to add something after reading AV's post. I too had that condition of too much fluid with my 8 year old dtr. At one point they had to remove fluid by inserting a long needle in (much like getting an amnio) - they ended up removing 2 liters of fluid! She had a pool to swim in. It caused a lot of preterm labor issues. However, I did feel her move but did feel her move harder and more after the fluid was taken. So I guess with that condition, it is possible to mistake it for something else but I still don't see it, because you get huge w/that condition along with swelling of the feet, ankles and so forth. But I guess someone can mistaken it for weight gain. Idk. But like another said, they would have to be sooo out of touch with their bodies to not realize they are pregnant. Who knows....

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answers from Lakeland on

My step mother’s sister did not know she was pregnant until she gave birth. She was very heavy and in her mid 40's. She figured she was going through menopause and that’s why her periods stopped (also she is not the brightest person). She went to the hospital for really bad stomach pains and they said it was time to deliver her baby, she was shocked.
I guess if you are that heavy you may not feel the baby or think it could be muscle spasms.

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answers from Charleston on

Like Abby H said - someone who doesn't know they are pregnant is really out of touch with their bodies or they are in denial. I know a 23 year old girl who claimed to not know she was pregnant until 9 months - when she had to move back in with her parents because she lost her job. She had been living in another city and I think she used the excuse of "not knowing" for her parents. She was VISIBLY pregnant, and tried to cover it up very unsuccessfully. I don't buy into that because there are too many factors and changes that happen when you are pregnant - weight gain, heartburn, morning sickness, no period, the list goes on and on. Sorry, but I just don't understand how someone cannot know or consider the possibility.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

When I was pregnant I could never tell if my son was moving, or if I just had gas bubbles. He was active, just not very strong movements.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Iowa City on

I had a coworker who didn't know she was pregnant until she was between 7 and 8 months. She got pregnant the first time she had sex. She was not at all in tune with her body and she didn't think she would get pregnant from having sex one time. She also had irregular periods. She was gaining weight and joined weight watchers but just kept gaining. Then her feet started to swell. At that point everyone was like, are you sure you aren't pregnant? She said she never felt the baby kick (she was a larger framed person)...just attributed anything she felt to gas.

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answers from Washington DC on

I have not had this happen. However, my cousin had a condition where there was too much fluid and had to have regular checks because she couldn't feel the baby nearly as often as one might expect. Baby floated around and was insulated by the fluid. Or sometimes the baby is in a different position in your body. Or you already experience bad gas and intestinal distress, etc. Thinking you can NOT be pregnant might also make you dismissive of the possibility. Friend was almost into her 2nd trimester before she found out about her daughter. Blamed weight gain on stress. Had some bleeding (maybe a subchorionic hemorrhage) and thought that was her cycle. Two forms of birth control. Pregnancy was NOT on her mind. She says the kid REALLY wanted to be here.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

It really depend on you build. I am short and relatively slender around the way I could hide/ignore/not know being pregnant past 16 weeks or so.
BUT I can imagine people who are tall, chubby and tend to put on weight around the belly may not necessarily look "obviously" pregnant. In addition the placement of the placenta and mom's body fat can dampen the sensation of fetal movements...

Wow, what a surprise!

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answers from Cleveland on

I gotta find some ttimeto watch that show and get educated iguess.

I has always kind of assumed if they went all the way to term that the mom was either a drug user in the past that had messed up her body prety bad or that the baby was very premature. maybe wrong assuptions but thats what i've always kind of thought about it.



answers from Tampa on

This seems crazy to me but I've watched that show "I didn't know I was pregnant" enough times to believe it. When I was pregnant, I could see my son's head (or butt) pushing out and moving across my stomach. Some babies just don't move that much or weight hides it. Some women have issues with their periods. I would like to think that I would know should I get pregnant again (but I'm not trying). I don't need any surprises!



answers from Oklahoma City on

There is at least on show on TV named I didn't know I was pregnant so it's not all that uncommon I guess.



answers from Miami on

My friends mum had 4 kids who were all in there late teens/early twenties and she though she was going through the menopause. Woke up in the middle of the night with terrible back pain, went to the toilet and out came a baby (my friend) Her mom was in her late 40's and had no clue she was even pregnant. She was not a big, overweight woman and my friend was 5lbs 2oz when she was born. She had no symptoms, no movement from baby and only slight weight gain (a few lbs). She thought her periods had stopped 2 years before due to her age and menopause. My baby also hardly ever moved inside me.



answers from Washington DC on

A friend of mine's sister-in-law didn't know she was pregnant until about two weeks before she delivered. She had NO symptoms aside from heartburn and diarrhea, which they contributed to irritable bowel syndrome because she was still having periods, LOSING weight throughout her pregnancy, didn't have any kind of swelling, breast tenderness etc etc, AND had several blood tests for pregnancy come back NEGATIVE. She wasn't "out of touch with her body" ... she just had no reason to think she was pregnant. She also is a petite and tiny woman, not overweight or anything.

They didn't discover she was pregnant till they did an ultrasound, since none of the meds or diet changes was working on the heartburn and diarrhea. When they did that they discovered she was 8 1/2 months pregnant. 2 weeks later she gave birth to a beautiful bouncing 8 lb (give or take I can't remember the exact weight) baby girl.



answers from Dallas on

DH's cousin didn't know she was pregnant until she went to the university student health center with terrible cramps - turns out she was in labor. My FIL said he had seen her the week before at a family gathering and she was on her stomach reading a book on the floor. Apparently, she has some kind of anatomy where she never got a bump! Weird, huh? He said she looked a bit heavy, but she's a big and tall gal so I guess it all sort of evened out. *shrug*

I do wonder how she couldn't feel the baby though, my personal theory is that she was in denial due to her young age.



answers from Houston on

I have friend with a friend who was pregnant THREE times and never knew. Some babies don't move that much, or if there's a placental issue, they may not feel the baby move. I've heard that really overweight mamas can't always feel the baby move.

I think some women just aren't that aware of their bodies, too. It's entirely possible that she either never actually felt the baby move, or simply attributed it to something else.



answers from Phoenix on

If the movement part is the part people cannot understand...I'm 27 weeks and BARELY feel the baby. I have to lay really still and try really hard to feel anything. I'm not skinny, but not huge either. I felt my other two children easily by the 19th week. They sometimes kept me from sleeping! My doctor has given me a couple of ultrasounds and finds the baby fine in movement, size, growth. Just sayin....

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