Women who don't know they're pregnant

  1. Just curious about this...

    I think everyone has heard stories about women who had no idea they were pregnant and then suddenly delivered. I had heard a story like this about a friend of my Mom's, thought "yeah right, whatever," and forgot about it.

    However, my MIL was one of these women. With her second child she said that she had no idea she was pregnant, because she was overweight, on the pill, and had a period every month during her pregnancy. While on vacation in Las Vegas (we live in Southern California) she felt ill (abdominal pain and vomiting), and her husband drove her to Sunrise Hospital. You can imagine his surprise 30 minutes later (there is a family history of extremely short labors) when a nurse came out and informed him "It's a Girl!" It probably didn't help that he'd been drinking all night. LOL Ever since, my sister-in-law has been know as the "Sunrise Surprise."

    People absolutely do not believe me when I tell them this story, but I believe her! After all, she had one child before and knew what pregnancy was like. I admit I wouldn't be rushing to take a pregnancy test if I was on the pill and having my period each month. It's harder to explain away the kicking and movement of the baby (thought I was going to die with #2 because my daughter was trying to come out my bellybutton!) but still...anyone have any experience/stories with this?

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    About StarNurse2006

    Joined: Dec '03; Posts: 77; Likes: 8
    Specialty: 2 year(s) of experience in Geriatrics, Wound Care


  3. by   sweet4dalejr
    Yes, I have to say I have heard of this also. I have the same response that you did until it happened to me with my 2nd child. I went through 32 hrs of labor with my first. I knew what is was like being pregnant and I too had my period every month and I was on the pill. I even went to the GYN at the end of July. Everything was fine the dr gave me another RX for my BC and I was on my way. One night I started having severe abdominal pains, I could barely walk so I went to the ER and they said I could possibly be pregnant in my tubes, long and behold when they took me up stairs to examine me they said you are about to deliver. I said deliver what I am not pregnant. That was 3:25am and my daughter was born at 3:33am. No time for drugs or nothing. So, as you can tell this does seem to happen.LOL
  4. by   gwenith
    Just had a patient who came to my unit from another hospital, Originally presented via ambulance fitting loss of consciousness - taken to the nearest centre - they did a CT scan and THEN realised she was 40 weeks and in severe eclampsia (this hospital is not a midwifery hospital) bounced her to our ICU. Very sick young lady whom we poured Mg into. Vented for 3 days before she was awake enough to be told that she was a mother. Imagine waking in ICU to be told you are a Mum!!
  5. by   Gompers
    My mother didn't know about me until she was five months along. She and my father are BOTH medical professionals, too. But they'd been married eight years and suffered from infertility - had already adopted my brother by this point. She was on the pill to prevent painful periods, and she was doing the "seasonale" thing way before it was popular - kept taking the active pills without using the placebo to spare her the periods. So when she started gaining weight, she just thought it was because she'd just turned 30 and was finally getting a "womanly" body.

    When she finally realized her stomach was hard, not flabby, and that those abdominal twinges weren't indigestion...she felt like an idiot for not putting the pieces together sooner.

    But you know, after eight years of infertility, and I'd probably be in denial myself.
  6. by   NurseNora
    Most of the Moms claiming they didn't know they were pregnant, I don't believe. So often they're teens who just refused to admit it. But there was one I believed.
    She was 38 years old and had had infertility treatments for several years without success. She and her husband decided to accept that they just weren't meant to have children. A few years later, she had a sudden onset of back and abdominal pain and went to a local free-standing ER. They gave her IM Demerol and Phenergan which gave her some relief, so she went home. A while later, the pain returned worse than before so they called an ambulance to take her back to the ER. She delivered at home while waiting for the ambulance.

    She was obese and her size didn't change, although she admitted her shape changed a little. She had a period every month, lighter than usual, but she thought she was having early menopausal signs. She thought the baby moving was gas. Since she was preeclamptic and the baby was IUGR looking, it probably wasn't as active as most babies anyway.

    They were thrilled, but her husband had trouble convincing the family he wasn't drunk when he called them to tell them the good news.
  7. by   txspadequeenRN
    I knew someone like this. She did not want kids and then one night she had horrible "indigestion". She went to the hospital and guess what ...Dilated to a 7. She said I almost needed CPR . Her husband fainted in the ER but now they have 2 or 3 kids and couldnt be happier.
  8. by   fourbirds4me
    There was recently a pt brought to the ER with severe ABD pain, vomitting and what was assumed to be "ascites" (which fit the picture according to EMS because of all the beer cans thrown around the house) Pt. self admitted to drinking 12-24 beers/day. By the time ER discovers the woman is pregnant she is 5+cm. After a quick US we find out this is a 3# 31 weeker. To make a long story short... baby delivers. Some respiratory distress but nothing too bad. In the process of trying to deliver the placenta the Dr cries out... "I feel suture lines"... Yep baby #2 delivered shortly after. Turns out both pretty well term but SGA... (wonder why??LOL)

    The woman swears she had no idea... I believe her (she was probably too drunk to notice)
  9. by   Gompers
    Quote from NurseNora
    They were thrilled, but her husband had trouble convincing the family he wasn't drunk when he called them to tell them the good news.
    When my mom called her family and said, "Guess who's pregnant?" they ALL said, "Damnit, not the dog again?!?!"
  10. by   rn/writer
    When my sister was in her mid-twenties, she had a ruptured appy followed by severe peritonitis. She nearly died and lost a lot of weight during her recovery. She was told she might never have kids d/t scarring and adhesions. Her periods stopped entirely for a while. Then she had occasional spotting for months. She also had a lot of GI complaints, some due to the peritonitis, some related to IBD.

    Fast forward a year or so. She gained back the weight she lost when she was so ill and put on a few extra pounds (which actually look good on her). One Sunday afternoon, she was having her usual belly problems only nothing was giving her relief. Hours went by and my brother-in-law was getting worried. He'd never seen her in so much pain. Against her wishes, he called 911 and followed the ambulance to the hospital in his car.

    When he got to the ER, a nurse told him that mother and baby were doing well. He told her he was looking for my sister who came in with abdominal problems. The nurse said, "Mother and abdominal problem are doing well."

    In the ambulance, my sister had an urge to push and that's when the paramedics realized she was crowning. They barely made it to an ED room when she gave birth to a 6 lb. 6 oz. baby girl.

    My bil was shocked. But no more so than my sister.

    As a side note--the hospital where she gave birth did not have an OB department. All OB cases went to the other hospital across town. However, the ED folks were so tickled that they got to deliver a baby that they kind of adopted my sister and her family. They also knew that with this baby being a total surprise, no preparations had been made for her arrival. The next day, some of the staff brought in a mini-baby shower. The ED staff had chipped in and bought baby clothes and a teddy bear and diapers and even a car seat. My sister and her husband were surprised and grateful.

    My niece just turned 12 and she's a delight. My sister had two more kids and became as big as a house with each of them. She knew within several weeks that she was pregnant with each of them. We laugh about that.

    Before I witnessed all of this, I had a hard time believing that anyone could NOT know they were carrying a baby inside them. Now, I believe . . .

    Last edit by rn/writer on Apr 6, '09
  11. by   grinnurse
    I am one of these women!!

    Four years ago I had just begun taking prereqs for nursing school. My periods have always been irregular and I am "heavy set". Had been pregnant once before and gave birth and had always thought to myself too, how can these people not know they are pregnant????????

    It was late October and one of the Auxillary women at the hospital pulled me to the side and said "I hate to be rude, but, are you putting on some weight?" I was like, OMG, that was rude!! Then, in trying to relax for a test that I had coming up I decided to take a bubble bath. Well, was relaxing in the tub and decided to turn over on my stomach and couldn't lay flat. Still, thinking what the heck is going on? I immediately start thinking I have like a 50# tumor of some sort and got to thinking back trying to remember when my last period was and had no clue. So I got to thinking to myself "There is no way that I am pregnant, am I?" "No way" but the thought kept on nudging at me all that night. So the next day I go to store and buy a pregnancy test, just to prove to myself that I wasn't pregnant but most likely either sick or in early menopause b/c I was 38 at the time and had just seen a show on Oprah about women who have early menopause. Well, to my shock, the darn thing came out positive and I was like no way so I bought another one the next day and again it came out positive again!!! In shock, I made an appointment with an OB at the hosp to go in and see what the heck was going on. After the examination, the doctor states "You had no idea you were pregnant?" and I said "No, I've just been really busy lately" and he pops off "I can tell" Ended up having a 3 month pregnancy.

    Thinking back I really had no signs that couldn't have been explained away by stress of school. I have never doubted anyone saying this ever since....
  12. by   Jessy_RN
    My cousin was one of those cases. Her and her hubby were trying to conceive for over 10 years. She finally gave up, treatment was out the question because she couldn't afford it etc... As time went on, she got pregnant and did not know it because she had always been irregular with her menstrual cycle. It never even crossed her mind until she was feeling cramps and her water broke. When she got to the hospital she was still in denial. She refused to even think that she was having a baby because she had already given up after years of trying. Better late than never I guess
  13. by   tvccrn
    I, too, am one of those women.

    I have a two year old and was working two jobs. I was a waitress in a pizza place and was having pizza every night for supper. I wore size 24 waist jeans and my pants were a bit tight, but I thought I was eating too much. Never went up a pants size. One day I worked 12 hours at my primary job, slinging 200 pound carts from one side of a large warehouse to the other and I woke up the next day with a backache. I called into work and told then I would be in at noon to pick up my check and go into the doctor for some muscle relaxers. I couldn't walk upright without excurciating pain. I went in at noon, got my check, went home to feed my son lunch. As he was sitting at the kitchen table, I got the irrestible urge to push, at that point the lightbulb went on. I got into the tub (epmty) because I figured that would be the easiest to clean afterward and delivered a 6 lb 10 oz boy. I tied off the cord with a shoestring and cut it. Clean up and got up to call my MIL. She came in and after just about dying, called the ambulance and my husband. Got to the hospital, everyone checked out fine, stayed overnight and was told the next morning, "Well, you did the expensive part, you can go home." I signed the birth certificate as both mother and attending person.
    Now that I am a nurse I cringe at all the things that could have gone wrong but didn't.
  14. by   Cherry2
    Another one here!

    In September 2003 I stopped getting my periods, went to the doc in oct when it still wasn't back- I had taken 2 pregnancy tests already and they were negative so my doctor told me to wait 2 more months and come back if it didn't return.

    January I was back, complaining of exhaustion, headaches etc. She asked me if I could be preg? I said no, I have been taking tests every 2 weeks, all negative. She does a blood test just to be sure- also negative. I was then told to come back in April b/c at the six month late mark that is when it needs to be looked into.

    April comes along- same problems going on, now I am gaining weight. Still getting negative tests though. She thinks it is my thyroid- I get tested and no, not that.

    Then she sends me for an MRI b/c she thinks it might be a pituitary tumor (!!) So I am completely freaked out. I wasn't able to get in for the MRI right away- and since my mom has had ovarian cysts she tells me to get the doctor to send me for an U/S.

    Now it is the week before my U/S, I can barely squish into my jeans (same ones all along- and I am not overweight) I have stretch marks showing up on my stomach- but still all preg tests are negative so I 'know' I'm not pregnant!

    May 31st 2004, the day of the U/S I walk in and the tech sees my stretch marks and says "are you pregnant?" I get really MAD.. I said "shouldn't it say on my chart or something why I am here?? I have done (pregnancy) test after test since January- I am not pregnant! "

    So she gets me to lie down and put the wand thingy (lol) on my belly and says "well..... you are pregnant!"

    I croaked out a "whaaat?" to which she says, "and it isn't that little of a baby either"

    21 weeks and 1 day by her measurements! So here I am at 5 months pregnant having taken who knows how many tests and blood tests with out it ever showing up that I am pregnant!

    My son is the best thing in my life- but I worry if I will know next time, and I hope I won't have to get an U/S to find out, since I was all alone when I found out this time.

    It does happen- even to those who aren't overweight, although I will say, I 'popped' out just 3 days after I found out and there was no mistaking I was pregnant then! 2 days after that I felt movement. I truly believe though that if I had been overweight I may have ended up as some do and not known till I was in labor. I can see how that happens now, but I too used to believe it only happened to teenagers or those just plain in denial! Now I know! :chuckle