Cryptic pregnancy: What it is and why it happens

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Cryptic pregnancy: What it is and why it happens

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Pregnancy comes with lots of changes in the body, which starts showing up from the first month of conceiving the baby.

Missed period, tender boobs, morning sickness, nausea and vomiting, all these signs mark the beginning of the nine-month-long pregnancy journey.

It is hard to miss these drastic changes in the body without realising that you are pregnant.

However, there are many women who keep on going with their lives for several months without recognising there’s a baby on the way. This phenomenon is known as cryptic pregnancy or stealth pregnancy.

Data suggest that 1 in 475 women do not realise that they are pregnant till 20 weeks. The rarest are the ones when they do not know they are expecting until delivery.

​Signs of a cryptic pregnancy

The signs of cryptic pregnancy aren’t like typical pregnancy. One does not experience fatigue, nausea and vomiting, missed periods, or abdominal swelling. They are more subtle, and this is the reason why they go unnoticed or overlooked. Morning sickness can be associated with an upset stomach and missed period with an irregular menstrual cycle. It may even happen that even after repeated testing they may get a false negative. More awareness about cryptic pregnancy can help to determine the situation at an early stage.

Reasons one may suffer from cryptic pregnancy

A cryptic pregnancy may happen due to several reasons. It can happen consciously or unconsciously. Here are some factors that can make a cryptic pregnancy more likely to occur.

Lack of symptoms

Mistaken Pregnancy Symptoms

Small Baby Bump

A false negative pregnancy tests

Intermittent spotting

Who is more likely to suffer from cryptic pregnancy

Anyone can have cryptic pregnancy. There is no possible explanation for why it happens to few. But health conditions and lifestyle problems can make you more prone to cryptic pregnancy than others. Women who are more like to experience cryptic pregnancy are:

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Perimenopause

Birth control use

Intense Sports

Obesity

Irregular period

Mental illness

​Complications involved with cryptic pregnancy

As cryptic pregnancy progresses without proper medical care there is an increased risk of complications for the mother and the baby. As the mother might not be aware that she is pregnant, she may fail to take proper care of herself. An unhealthy diet, intense activity, alcohol intake, smoking and other lifestyle problems can lead to miscarriage or loss of pregnancy. The risk of prematurity, low birth rate, hospitalization, unattended delivery, or death is also higher in the case of cryptic pregnancy.

If the new parent is not mentally prepared for the arrival of the new child in their life, this major change in their life may lead to child abuse or neglect, disassociation from the baby, depression, and other signs of psychological distress.

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