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11 signs you're pregnant and don't even know it

Posted July 23

I know you want to ask the big question, “How can a woman not know she is pregnant?” They must know or they must be in denial.

According to Jena Pincott’s article on cryptic pregnancies in the "Huffington Post," 1 in 450 women are unaware they are pregnant till they are 20 weeks along and 1 in 2,500 women are unaware of their pregnancy until they are in actual labor.

There are multiple ways a woman could be pregnant and unaware. Here are 11 signs you could be pregnant without realizing it.

False negative pregnancy test

Over-the-counter pregnancy tests determine whether a woman is pregnant by recognizing human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in their urine sample.

These at-home tests can read false negative when used improperly, taken too early or read wrong. If the fetus is secreting low levels of hCG, any at-home test will read a false negative. Health experts suggest women take a blood test to determine whether or not they are carrying a child because they can detect even the lowest levels of hCG.

Misinterpret light spotting for period

Some women experience implantation bleeding in the first six to 12 days after conception. This bleeding presents itself as light spotting or a light flow that can be mistaken as a light period. The bleeding can last for a few hours to a few days.

Period is irregular, so missed periods are not noticed

According to clinical professor and gynecology specialist Amy Autry, nearly 30 percent of women will experience irregular periods during childbearing years. Extreme exercise, persistent dieting, stress, contraceptives or polycystic ovary syndrome could cause the irregularity.

If you are one of these women, the absence of your period may not trigger any confusion or reason to believe you are pregnant.

They have PCOS and believe they are infertile

Polycystic ovary disorder (PCOS) is described as a hormonal imbalance. Women who experience PCOS produce higher amounts of androgens (male hormones) than normal. These hormones affect the development and release of female eggs during their ovulation cycle.

PCOS regularly disrupts ovulation cycles, creating irregular periods, and can be problematic with fertility. Women who are diagnosed with PCOS are oftentimes told they will have a low chance or zero chance of becoming pregnant and will often deny the likelihood of conceiving.

Do not show any signs of weight gain

Several women are unaware they are pregnant, because they simply do not experience any physical changes to their bodies. Women who conceive babies that produce low levels of hCG are less likely to be aware of their pregnancy.

The pregnancy hormone hCG is the communication tool the fetus uses to communicate. If the fetus does not release high levels of hCG to notify the mother it is hungry, the woman will not feel hungrier and will not experience acute symptoms.

Few or no symptoms

Women who are unaware of being pregnant do not experience extreme nausea or morning sickness, fatigue, tender breasts, food cravings, back and abdominal pain, headaches, soreness or weight gain. The absence of these vital signs makes detecting a pregnancy difficult.

Women who are unaware they are pregnant may experience light sensations or symptoms, but often confuse them with indigestion, stress or a common illness.

Extreme levels of stress

Stress can negatively affect a woman’s attitude and can induce denial of conception. Among the women who were unaware of their pregnancy, many admit that stress distracted them from the idea they could be having a baby.

Stress has also been linked to affecting the regularity of a female’s menstrual cycle. A woman who experiences high levels of stress can blame the missed period on stressful or upsetting factors, instead of a possible pregnancy.

Mental health instability

Some women—not all—who have remained unaware of their pregnancy until labor have been diagnosed with a mental health condition. Multiple studies have revealed that many women have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, severe depression and multiple personality disorders, which influence the mother’s ability to detect her own pregnancy.

A calm baby

Your baby may not kick, squirm or communicate with you. The position of your child could make any possible movement in the womb nearly impossible to detect. Some babies are more active than others.

In retrospect, some women have noted that when they felt a twinge in the stomach, they usually blamed it on indigestion or an upset stomach.

Too much faith birth control

Overconfidence in birth control pills, condoms and other contraceptives can add to the shock of your unplanned and unnoticed pregnancy.

Contraceptives, such as birth control and condoms, are extremely effective in preventing an unplanned pregnancy, but they are far from perfect. Taking the pill at different times of the day or missing one day can increase your chance of getting pregnant. Condoms can break and incorrectly used contraceptives will increase the likelihood of getting pregnant.

Blaming pregnancy symptoms on other health issues

Women often mistake common pregnancy symptoms with other health problems. Individuals with a history of ovarian cysts can experience discomfort or pain around the abdominal area that can easily be confused.

Other pregnancy symptoms might be overlooked based on the belief that they are only temporary.

If you are worried you might be pregnant, take the precautions necessary and visit your health physician. It never hurts to be aware and informed.

Hannah Rose is a story-telling enthusiast that finds joy in sharing insights and human experience. Connecting the world through written verse is a passion that drives her to pursue her journalistic endeavors.

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