Hot Topic: Can You Really Not Know You’re Pregnant?

pregnant belly pregnancy
Not every pregnant belly looks like a basketball—especially not for those who didn't know they were pregnant. Credit:

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I became addicted to all of the baby programming on TLC. A Baby Story, Baby’s First Day and Make Room for Multiples (which, by the way, will make having a single baby feel less overwhelming) were staples when I had a break in my day. But by far the most dramatic and craziest of all baby programming is the gem I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant. If you haven’t seen it, the show documents women who didn’t know they were pregnant until they gave birth. Say wha??

At first, I couldn’t have been more skeptical. These women had to be in denial. There is just no way someone doesn’t know they’re pregnant. But the more I watch this show, the more convinced I become that it is entirely possible. Some of the women might not be Einsteins (and who is, other than Einstein?), but most of them seem perfectly sane and reasonable. There are women who have been told they can’t get pregnant and therefore had no reason to expect it. Women who have negative pregnancy tests. Women who continue to have monthly bleeding throughout their pregnancies. Women who simply don’t show at all—I saw one episode where they showed a picture of a woman at more than 7 months pregnant and she had a perfectly normal midsection, no bump at all. Some of the women have even been pregnant before and have pregnancy experiences that are the complete opposite of their others, a possibility I’m starting to understand. One woman had the typical round pregnant belly for her first pregnancy and didn’t show at all during her second.

I read this really interesting article on these so-called “cryptic pregnancies,” and it’s all just fascinating to me. The article states that 1 in 2,500 women is unaware of pregnancy until labor day, and a whopping 1 in 450 make it more than halfway through pregnancy without being aware. The article discusses how, under difficult conditions, the fetus staying “under the radar” can actually be of benefit—a survival mechanism, if you will. Seriously fascinating stuff.

Of course, I don’t always understand the craziness that some of these stories relate—like the woman whose family thinks she’s such a hypochondriac that they ignore her cries of pain and she has to call 911 herself. Or the one who doesn’t call 911 after she gives birth—or even tell her husband when he calls from a business trip. But I’m sure a surprise childbirth can really do a number on your brain.

What do you think? Can you really not know you’re pregnant until delivery day?

Can’t see the poll? Click here to weigh in on cryptic pregnancy!

With the number of pregnancy symptoms I’ve experienced both times, I know there is no way that I could go through the process without knowing I was pregnant. But what do you think about cryptic pregnancy? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic, so weigh in below! —Erin


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  1. kbmomof2 – Crazy, huh?? As my baby is playing karate with my insides, it’s amazing to me that you wouldn’t suspect. I mean, that would be one mean case of…there isn’t even a digestive issue to compare it to! 🙂

  2. It sounds absolutely crazy to women who were lucky enough to have normal pregnancies. I am due October 30 and doctors STILL think I’m not pregnant. One of them just said maybe I have a growth and I should have it looked at. No lie! My tests have all been negative, but I knew from the very beginning. I now have a big ol bump, havent had a period since january and a whole mess of normal pregnancy symptoms. It happens. nobody believed me, even my own family, until I started growing a sizeable bump. They thought I was imagining movements and everything. Thankfully now they believe it but I wish my doctors did! They were so incredibly rude about it. Some women just dont make the hormone. They just dont. There are so many people with many medical issues where they are missing important yet “normal” things, such as white blood cells and, I dont know, limbs. It happens and I have to admit I cant wait to show my baby off to everyone who called me an attention-crazy idiot!!

  3. My situation is based on what I am currently going through..In simple i’m a 40 yr old mother of 3 and a grandmother who loves her grandchild to bits and the best thing of all….he’s not mine!! I am not crazy no mental health issues but the long and short of my story is I started having symptoms…nothing like any of my other pregnancies but when multiple pregnancy tests come back negative 7 in fact then they must be right especially if I believe like all those that believe this really doesn’t happen. I had symptoms all of which were very very mild and nothing like any of my other pregnancies that I would put them down to other things…pms yet I have never suffered that in my life but with out a positive pregnancy test I cant run around telling people I am…This started in August

    I decided to ignore my symptoms based on the negative tests however I started to feel what feels like a twitch ever so slight low down in my pelvic in the October and usually same time evening I continued to ignore but as time progressed and the feelings developed my friends convinced me to go to a dr so it is now november however the 1st dr totally dismissed what I was feeling as movement two more drs and two tests still negative when the slight twitches started to feel like a definite kick and was no longer low down in my pelvic I also had bleeding gums real bad however my last visit to the dentist was september my teeth fine and healthy I have periods of nausea periods of actually being sick but all very very mild headaches, backaches, heavy feeling in the groin lots and lots of symptoms and negative tests combined with a a monthly bleed of roughly 2/3 days if you can call it that my last normal period was a 5 day period back at the beginning of august all the others each month barely can be counted as three days and it has taken three different drs before recognising my periods are not normal. My stomach is hard and filled out pictures of my stomach and my closest friends think i look pregnant while some say I look exactly like when I had my last child.

    Although I was never miss skinny I was never this big and my stomach is hard. My fat has always been squidgy i’ve given myself enough imaginary tummy tucks to know how soft my stomach usually is I have an obvious line from my pelvic to my belly button which is very thick and another line from my belly button to the top of my abdomen thinner but obvious and trying to get a dr to take you seriously about what you are feeling because you dnt turn a test positive and being told by a nurse who may I add is willing to take bets im not that what I am feeling is the blood pushing through my veins because my bp is hitting hights of 218/135….yet if my bp was high enough for me to actually feel the blood through my veins wouldn’t i be hospitalised? the fact with my last pregnancy I had high bp through my pregnancy, i was sent to eau for a heart trace as I complained of irregular heartbeat when I lay on my back my heart rate is fast yet pregnancy also causes the heart to beat faster the nurse even says because I have low potassium what I am feeling is spasms because of this however I have just found out I have had low potassium for 10 yrs and both the information online and has been supported by the consultant who is finally investigating my bp and potassium says low potassium causes muscle weakness not muscle spasms. Also why would I suddenly start having symptoms of low potassium if it has been in my records for 10yrs without any?

    Well I finally have a scan and will finally get an answer but definitely can understand how this is possible as to whether or not my story turns out i am…i would never say i was without concrete evidence I have spent ages trying to capture some of the movements for evidence because when drs themselves haven’t come across it they are just as unbelieving as “kbmomof2” and feeling something doesn’t get you jack with a positive test as I said the first dr blew me off completely I walked out of the drs as confuses as when I walked in and the last 5 months has been the most confusing of all.

  4. Destinee, have you gotten any answers yet? My symptoms are similar to yours and I’ve had no answers.

  5. am 20 years old, never had a sex without a condom and it never broke. i have pregnancy symptoms, i cants stand smells, am usually tired but i still have my regular periods. the scary thing is that i can feel kicks in the stomach, movement of a baby. i went to the docter and he did ultra scan but didnt see anything. i had a pregnancy test and it showed a faint line for positive pregnancy test, but when i did a home pregnancy test it came up negative. my boyfriend think am crazy and told me not to stress about it.. i cant just stand the movements in my stomach, anyone experiencing the same thing

  6. Im pregnant now and I never tested positive. It’s not always about denial or being crazy. I knew immediately that I was pregnant. A major part of this situation is doctors. Unless you have been through it or know someone who has you can’t understand I’ve seen doctor after doctor and I’m always denied care because they only focus on testing positive. Most refuse to even do ultrasounds. I had all the physical signs luckily but I have no doctor that will take me because of this. There’s a lot of women who are struggling with this and are not crazy or just don’t know. They know but are ignored.

  7. It isn’t about being crazy or in denial. I am 30 and have 3 children. I had a tubal right after my last baby was born. It’s been 4 years ago and I swear I am pregnant. I gain weight when I am and it’s not intentionally. I swear I feel movement and I look like I’m about 5 months. I have a somewhat normal period every month. I’ve been thinking I am for the last 2 months. My stomach is getting bigger. My husband says I am, but I don’t want the drs. To think I’m crazy. So I will set it out another month or 2 and if I get bigger then I will know for sure. I’m taking women’s one a day vitamins and not doing any thing that could harm a baby while I let nature take its course a little while longer…

  8. Cryptic pregnancies are very possible. Many of the women who experience it do not know they are pregnant until they deliver, but there are many of them that DO know they are pregnant. They cannot get medical confirmation because of the continued periods and negative tests.

    I created a support group for this on Facebook called “Cryptic Pregnancy Support Group”. I also have a website at

  9. I’m a 27 yr old who has been struggling to conceive. A yr ago I had a miscarriage at four months and had a cervical stitching before the miscarriage. I had my last period in August and for the past two months a hv been feeling movements in my tummy, I’m not sure what it is or if I’m pregnant or not since the 7 home test I’ve done hv turned up negative.
    Maybe this is all in my heard since I so desperately want a child. I struggle with pcos and I’ve always had irregular peroid. I’m very confused cz I don’t feel anything unusual other than the movements in my belly. My tummy is still the same, it’s not hard or anything. I’m so so confused and I don’t knw what to make of all this cz no one Blvd me

  10. I’m in a very same situation. My last periods was 28 august 2014. I knw that I’m pregnant, all the symptoms are there, have gained weight, tummy is growing, have linea nigra, lactating, always tired. Everybody can see that I’m pregnant, due in april. But the tests and ultrasound always comes back negative. Dr’s can see that I’m preg but the results are negative, ultrasound just shows a clear uterus, but always feels movements in my tummy. Now I’m taking folic acid and taking good care of myself. Can I be having cryptic pregnancy. Pls help. I’m so stressed and frustrated.

  11. I am in the same boat.Having all the symptoms for the past 6 months even wanted to kill myself from the negative vibe I am getting from the doctors.Even if there was a baby they wouldnt see it from the way they are doing the scan its less than a minute in one position and they say there is nothing.But I feel my baby move, not really often but they are really strong jabbing movements like something is jumping inside me.

  12. Am also going through the same I have symptoms of pregnancy but my belly is not growing I think I am 20 months I have movements inside of me, Dr say I have cyst, blood pressure is very high.

  13. I am experiencing the same thing. I will be 44 years old with grand children. I had my tubes tied 4 years ago after the birth of my last child. I still have my cycle every month. Some things I eat do not taste good anymore. I gag when i brush my teeth, which is something I did with my last pregnancy. I have 4 kids and I haven’t had any symptoms other than missed cycles to determine I was pregnant. I have gained weight and my breast have gotten bigger! My stomach is little bigger but not hard. I feel thumping and sometimes light kicks. I don’t remember exactly when I started feeling it because I just passed it off as gas, but I was sitting on the couch one day when I start to feel it again. I raised my shirt and I could see the thumping and movement. I took 3 home test and all was negative. I have a doctor appointment tomorrow! I understand the doctor may not want to do a ultrasound with a negative test, but they will at least have to give me one to see if my tubes are still tied.

  14. Destinee I am in the same boat I guess. I really feel like I’m goin bat shit crazy and feel like an idiot even thinking I could be pregnant. I too am 40. Just last month. I have a 21yr old and 14yr old. I had my tubes tied 10 yrs ago. My cycle has always been normal. Up until the last 2-3 months. Last month on June 23 I got my period. It lasted 3 days. For the last 4 wks I’ve been bloated, literally looking like I’m 4 months pregnant. Did all the home tests and had 2 blood tests. All negative. Have nausea, headaches, tightness all around but still soft somewhat. This month I should have gotten my period around Tuesday. It is sunday and my period started this morning, but it’s extremely light. 1st day always heavy. Went to ER 2 nights ago. Tests negative so CT scan done on abd/pelvis. Showed retroverted uterus. If I was pregnant, even at 3-4months along, wouldn’t it show? I honestly think I’m pregnant. Movements I feel do not feel like gas.

  15. I am 25…I lost 70 lbs December 2013-May 2014. The weight fell off of me with a new diet, and yoga. For the first time in my life I had gotten my body trim. I have PCOS, so this was my goal, but it was almost too easy. I was so happy to be ready for the beach. May, my stomach was flat. In June I saw that it started to puff out. I thought that is weird, because I just had my first “menstruation” in a year and a half the month before after quitting all depo provera, and I am eating so good, and still losing weight. Up until this point in June, I had been very very emotional over my breakup with my ex in January, mood swings, sensitivity to smell, blood circulation was off/ going to my stomach, my hormones changed, balance off and more. I said to myself every month since February, am I pregnant? I thought I can’t be, a few hpt were negative. I had been quitting drinking because I felt that it was not healthy anymore. Intuitive sense was so heightened to my body. All that I was feeling, started to show. June, I was freaking out because I had extreme pelvic cramping, rib pain, and felt a flutter. I had a negative ultrasound then. The movements never stopped though. They became more pronounced. I have felt strong kicks, sometimes repetitive, something spasms in there. Tightens. I have seen it kick from the outside. Its been a solid 8 months since I became consciously aware of my cryptic pregnancy. The baby is active on and off. It worries me that I don’t feel it as active as I used to. I look 4 months pregnant. I measure 18 weeks. Somedays I am crampy and short of breath. I have been in a lot of pain a number of times, and felt what I would describe as contractions. Depressed and my anxiety is through the roof. As hard as my belly is and how I feel… NO ONE, truly believes me. Doctors have turned me away many times. I am over going anymore. I don’t know what to do. My hormones are always in flux and I feel helpless. Hopefully I have a happy, healthy baby a year from now. Because it will be a while until it reaches term.

  16. hi am 37 years old, i have been trying to get pregnant for close to 10years now but all to no avail, I have done pelvic scan and it shows I have cyst,how do I get that remove and it also shows that I don’t ovulate regularly, some times my period come twice a month some times it comes within the interval of 11 days i didnt know what to do, i have seems numerious doctors but no luck , then i was searching on google ways to get pregnant , then i saw a lady who testify how ashra has helped her with a cleanse oil and a pregnancy spell, i contacted ashra via this email and after communication a pregnancy seed was sent to me as well as a cleanse oil which i use for 4weeks , 2 months later i became pregnant , am 34 weeks pregnant now and my baby is doing great , if you have issues trying to conceive then contact ashra for help via or call/whatapp +2348058176311