Cryptic pregnancies are very real: What is it and why does it happen?

People are horrified to learn that some people can be pregnant without realising it at all.

Cryptic pregnancies are very real: What is it and why does it happen?
© Abraham Gonzalez Fernandez
Cryptic pregnancies are very real: What is it and why does it happen?

Pregnancy is a challenging period of life for most women. Many people have pregnancy symptoms that can upend their regular lives, with women having to take extra-great care of their body and mind during pregnancy.

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However, believe it or not, some people apparently completely skip the typical pregnancy experience, and out of nowhere, get shocked with the realisation that they are pregnant when they are already far along on their pregnancy or even during labour.

While new technology has now enabled women even in their 50s to give birth, there is a very different kind of pregnancy-related news that has been sweeping TikTok lately: cryptic pregnancy!

What's a cryptic pregnancy?

TikToker @thegirlisthick2.0 shared one such experience. She captioned her video,

This is just a reminder that cryptic pregnancy is real

In the video, she shares the shocking experience of visiting a hospital for pain only to realise that she is in labour. She writes,

your mom took you to the hospital for back pains and you came back with a stranger

This is just a reminder that cryptic pregnancy is real😭😭😭😭😭😭 #trending#viral#fyp

♬ original sound - Mcebisi_M

Earlier, there have been other TikTokers who have shared experiences of cryptic pregnancies.

Indeed cryptic pregnancy is very much real. As per Health, a German study has shown that one out of every 475 pregnancies is not known of until the 20th week or later. That means cryptic pregnancies happen in 0.2% of pregnancies.

Usually, people with cryptic pregnancy find out about it before labour, but there are some people who find out only when they go into labour. It's estimated that one out of 2,455 births (just .04%) come from a cryptic pregnancy. Other ways to describe cryptic pregnancy are unperceived pregnancy, pregnancy denial, or stealth pregnancy.

Needless to say, videos like this on TikTok are spreading more awareness about cryptic pregnancy, but have also created anxiety.

This comment on the video encapsulates the fear,

Last month I was feeling pains allover my stomach and back na once cryptic pregnancy enter my head I begin beg God for mercy and compassion

Another person writes,

I'm a product of cryptic pregnancy, so I know how real it is

People also pointed out how videos on cryptic pregnancy are all over social media. One such commenter pointed out,

Jesus Jesus please why have I been seeing this often

Cryptic pregnancy definitely comes with big challenges, including people feeling shame and embarrassment for not realising they are pregnant. In the absence of pregnancy symptoms, people might also put the foetus at risk without knowing. There are many factors which could lead to such unperceived pregnancy.


My story🤍

♬ original sound - Kayla

Read more:

This woman’s ‘pregnancy’ turned out to be something much worse

Preeclampsia: Damage may be seen in the eyes decades after pregnancy

Why does a cryptic pregnancy happen?

Health states that though the reason why people experience cryptic pregnancy are not that clear-cut, it could be because of a variety of psychological and physiological factors.

As for the physical factors linked with cryptic pregnancy, some research have found that people with lower levels of human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG hormone, are more likely to have cryptic pregnancy. This hormone is related to pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, morning sickness etc, which first indicate that someone is pregnant.

People who have mental health issues, trauma or depression could have a higher risk of having a cryptic pregnancy. In some cases, some people might have such strong anxiety about the idea of being pregnant that they might unconsciously block out the reality of their pregnancies.

Social factors could also put people at higher likelihood of having cryptic pregnancy. A study from 2021 found that cryptic pregnancy was more common among younger people who were single and without high school diploma.

Read more:

Superfetation: A rare phenomenon which gets you pregnant while you are pregnant

Sources used:

TikTok: @thegirlisthick2.0

TikTok: @kaylanicolesimpson

Health: ' Pregnant Without Knowing It: What Is a Cryptic Pregnancy?'

This woman complained of terrible stomach pains, what doctors discovered was totally unexpected This woman complained of terrible stomach pains, what doctors discovered was totally unexpected