Pregnancy is an exciting time in a woman’s life that is characterized by a plethora of bodily changes. From a growing belly, to swollen ankles, to morning sickness – pretty much every inch of your body is affected by the life growing inside of you. But what if you don’t realize you’re pregnant until the day the baby arrives? This was a reality for one young mother who unexpectedly gave birth to not one, but two babies in the middle of the night!
Beth’s Unexpected Pregnancy
Beth Bamford, a 21-year-old who hails from Stoke-on-Trent, UK, was blissfully unaware she was pregnant with twins until one midnight trip to the toilet turned into childbirth (1). Beth insists she showed no signs of pregnancy, was still having regular periods, and had only put on a “small amount of weight” (1). She’d visited the doctor a number of times thinking she was sick prior to the twins arrival on February 21, but they failed to realize she was pregnant (1).
The doctor’s missed diagnosis resulted in Beth giving birth alone in the bathroom while her boyfriend, 22-year-old Andy Morris, lay asleep in the next room (1). After delivering the first twin, 5.5-pound Willow, Beth called an ambulance (1). She stayed on the phone with emergency services and they helped talk her through pushing out the afterbirth (1). Instead of afterbirth coming out, the other twin, 5-pound Freya, made her entrance into the world (1).
A Troublesome Delivery
Freya’s arrival didn’t go very smoothly, she was breech and it took several moments for her to finally start breathing (1). Beth described the scary ordeal, stating, “The second one wasn’t breathing because she was breech. I was panicking about what to do because I wasn’t sure what to do with one, let alone two. Nobody was answering me when I was shouting and I couldn’t wake my partner up because I was on the floor with the babies and couldn’t move” (1).
Eventually, Andy did hear the commotion and came into the bathroom, shocked by what he found (1). Paramedics arrived shortly after and Beth said she had a difficult time explaining that there were no medical notes because she didn’t know she was pregnant (1). Even her partner thought she had hidden her pregnancy from him (1).
All’s Well That Ends Well
Despite being unprepared for their new arrivals, Beth and Andy, who were already parents to two girls prior to the twins, have adapted well (1). Beth and the babies spent a week in the hospital after the birth, where the twins were closely monitored for signs of distress (1). Today, they are back home with their older sisters and parents (1).
Looking back on the whole ordeal, Beth admitted, “It didn’t pop into my head I could be pregnant. It’s a bit of a struggle but I just have to get on with it” (1). Nevertheless, she feels lucky things went the way they did as it could have gone a lot worse (1).
As shocking as Beth’s story is, she isn’t the first woman to go through her entire pregnancy having no idea she was expecting. There are several reasons why a woman can fail to realize she’s pregnant. Here are a few of the most common ones.
5 Reasons A Woman Can Miss Pregnancy Signs
1. Irregular periods
About 30% of women in the US experience irregular periods (2). As such, they don’t equate missing a period with the possibility of being pregnant, especially if no other symptoms are present (2).
Spotting is a pretty common occurrence during pregnancy, and a woman can mistakenly take this symptom for her actual period (2). A condition known as “breakthrough bleeding” can also be a source of confusion for pregnant women (3). It happens early on in a pregnancy when your body is still adjusting to being pregnant and you experience some bleeding around the time of your expected period (3).
3. No Weight Gain Or Other Typical Symptoms
Sometimes women don’t realize they’re pregnant because they don’t have any of the telltale signs of pregnancy, like weight gain and nausea (2). A lack of pregnancy symptoms can be caused by low hCG levels, a hormone produced by the placenta when an embryo implants in the uterus (4). The hCG hormone allows the fetus to communicate its needs, so if there isn’t a lot of it, you won’t have an increased appetite or experience morning sickness (2).
4. Negative Pregnancy Test
The hCG hormone is also what allows over-the-counter pregnancy tests to detect whether or not a woman is pregnant (2). If your fetus puts out low levels of hCG, at-home pregnancy tests will read negative regardless of how far along you are in your pregnancy (2).
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that causes a woman’s body to produce higher-than-normal levels of androgens, also known as “male hormones” (5). The high level of androgens cause problems with ovulation and affects a woman’s fertility (5). Since women with PCOS are often told they may have difficulty conceiving, this can lead them to mistakenly believe they are infertile (2).
The symptoms of PCOS, like bloating, weight gain, pelvic pain, and acne, are also symptoms of pregnancy, which makes it that much more difficult to know if you’re pregnant (2).
Beth’s story proves that proves that pregnancy is different for every woman. If you’re sexually active, never rule out the possibility of being pregnant, even if you’re not experiencing “typical” pregnancy symptoms. Read this next to learn how taking Tylenol during pregnancy can alter a child’s brain development.
- Woman didn’t know she was pregnant until she gave birth to twins. (2018, July 12). Retrieved from https://au.be.yahoo.com/woman-didnt-know-pregnant-gave-birth-twins-024557230.html
- Enochs, E. (2016, February 1). 5 Reasons Women Can Be Pregnant For Months & Not Know It. Retrieved from https://www.bustle.com/articles/138809-5-reasons-women-can-be-pregnant-for-months-not-know-it
- Jones, P. (2014, August 14). Bleeding During Pregnancy: Usually No Cause For Concern. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/08/14/bleeding-during-pregnancy-usually-no-cause-for-concern_n_7366606.html?guccounter=1
- Young, B. (2017, November 3). What You Should Know About Low hCG. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/low-hcg
- PCOS and Your Fertility – and What You Can Do About It. (2017, March 25). Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-fertility#2
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