At least once, each one of us has heard the story about a woman who didn't learn that she was pregnant until after contractions began. And then each one of us asked a question: "How could she not know that she was pregnant? Isn't it obvious?"
In fact, it's not always as obvious as it seems.
It has been estimated that one in 450 pregnant women doesn't know that she's expecting a child until she's in the 20th week and one in 2,500 is totally unaware of her pregnancy until she gives birth. She can mistake spotting for menstruation, think that belly cramps are due to food poisoning, and might be sure that she's not pregnant, only because she took a pregnancy test and it was negative.
There are a lot of things a woman can tell herself when she's certain that she's not pregnant. Let's take a look at some of the most common ones.
17 It Feels Like A Bad PMS
The earliest symptoms of pregnancy feel pretty much like bad PMS. Your girls become sore, you have mild abdominal cramps or bloating, you feel more stressed and tired, and you might also notice that you have mood swings.
According to WebMD, these similarities confuse many women at the initial stages of pregnancy because it makes it hard to tell whether you're pregnant or you just should expect your period to start very soon.
16 You Might Think You Had A Light Period
Parenting-First Cry says that it isn't rare to experience some light spotting at the initial stages of pregnancy that's caused by the implantation of the fetus. Few women know about it and, before other symptoms begin, they can mistake this spotting for a starting period. And even if this discharge stops pretty quickly, they still might think that it was just a light period and have no idea that they're pregnant.
15 Baby Blues Before The Baby Comes
The List says that mood swings can appear not only after you gave birth, but also at the initial stages of pregnancy. So if you often find yourself sobbing about some small things, if you get angry more quickly than usual, or notice that your mood changes from high to low in a moment, think about buying a pregnancy test.
14 Toilet Habits Change Very Often
According to Parents, you might notice that you need to pee more often than usual. It doesn't only happen when your belly is big, but in the beginning, as well. See, the fetus is starting to grow right away and it creates a minor pressure to your bladder. But, at the same time, you might also have constipation that happens due to hormonal changes in your body.
13 Your Gums May Get Sore
The increased levels of progesterone can make your gums feel bad. WebMD says that this hormone increases the flow to your gums and they become swollen, sore and sensitive. What should you do to ease it? Just visit your dentist on a regular basis during pregnancy (they will give you tons of advice) and brush your teeth very carefully.
12 It Also Feels Like Menopause
The cases when a woman gets pregnant close to her menopause aren't rare. Sometimes, a woman in her mid to late 40s can experience the so-called perimenopause that's accompanied by the shift in her cycle and other symptoms that make her think that she can no longer have kids. And when her guards (in the face of birth control) are off, she can unexpectedly get pregnant and then, instead of understanding that she's "late," she will think that the menopause has started.
11 You Might Feel So Tired All The Time
Karen Perkins, M.D., an OB-GYN with A Woman’s Choice at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, says that increased fatigue during pregnancy is very common and it also happens because of the hormonal changes. The production of progesterone raises your basal body temperature and it leads to a drop in energy level. Besides, your heart also pumps faster during pregnancy.
10 "I Think I Just Have A Cold Or Flu"
According to Parents.com, another set of early pregnancy symptoms can make a woman think that she has a cold or flu, instead of a bun in the oven. For example, it's nasal congestion that can be caused by the increased circulatory volume putting pressure on the vessels in a woman's nose. Besides, hormonal changes might also result in the swelling of the mucous membranes in the nose, as well as in the elevated body temperature.
9 "Guess I Ate Something Bad..."
If a woman experiences morning sickness, it's usually all about nausea and vomiting. And is there something else that's all about nausea and vomiting? Sure, there is – it's food poisoning! And since there can also be a change in bowel habits and increased fatigue, it's not uncommon for a woman to think that she just ate something bad and now she has food poisoning.
8 You Feel Thirsty All The Time
An infertility expert Kristin N. Burris states on Bustle, "Patients will report that no matter how much water they drink, they simply can't get hydrated." Normally, this symptom is explained by the increase of volume in circulation. It can also be related to the frequent urge to urinate. Since your body loses more liquid, it needs to receive more of it, too, right?
7 Some Women Don't Look Pregnant
Of course, one can miss some of the symptoms because they can be subtle, but is it possible to miss the growing bump? In fact, sometimes it is!
WebMD says, all women are different and they have different pregnancies. Some notice a growing belly almost immediately, while others barely gain any body mass during the whole pregnancy. Multiple physical peculiarities, from her height to anatomy, can contribute to making a woman unable to notice that there's a baby growing inside of her.
6 Your Head Might Hurt More Often
Richard Gersh, M.D., an assistant professor of OB-GYN, writes on Parents: "Fluctuating hormones tend to make headaches worse, and estrogen levels are more stable during pregnancy." It means that at the beginning of pregnancy you might experience more frequent headaches, but later on, the issue will probably stabilize and they will stop bothering you so often.
5 A Baby Isn't Always Active In There
Some women, who have been pregnant before, consider it hard to not notice that you're pregnant because of the baby's movements in the womb. Sometimes these kicks even keep you from sleeping, so how is it possible to miss them?
In fact, it's also possible because not all babies are so active in the womb and, due to the anatomy specifics, some women don't notice the movements or confuse them with gas or rumbles.
4 Sometimes There Are No Symptoms At All
Not all pregnancies are accompanied by severe symptoms, such as morning sickness, bloating, fatigue, and so on. According to WebMD, sometimes these symptoms are so mild that it's even hard to notice them. Besides, some of them can resemble other issues a woman has had, such as endometriosis or ovarian complications. In this case, the woman is likely to just wait for the symptoms to go away and postpone a visit to a doctor.
3 Some Women Ignore Them
On the other hand, a woman can experience obvious symptoms, but she might choose to ignore them. Specialists call it denied pregnancy. Michael Cackovic, MD, an OB/GYN at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center explains, "Denial is a very powerful defense mechanism, making it possible to talk yourself out of every symptom you may have."
If it happens, a woman needs emotional support to find a reason for her denial and accept the fact that she's expecting a child.
2 Or They Don't Know How It Should Feel
Most women have at least some degree of knowledge about their reproductive system, but there are also those who have no idea about the things that should be obvious. For example, WebMD says that a recent survey revealed that 47% of women don't even know what ovulation is. Besides, almost half of women are unaware of how long the average menstrual cycle should be.
It means that some women do not understand their physiology and don't notice pregnancy symptoms.
1 Signs Are Especially Easy To Miss When You Don't Plan It
According to Dr. Jen Villavicencio, an ob-gyn who lectures at the University of Michigan Medicine, almost half of all pregnancies are unintended. And if a woman doesn't even think of getting pregnant (and, on top of it, she's sure that she won't get pregnant), she might miss even the obvious symptoms. Sometimes, she won't learn the truth until she notices that her belly starts growing and, in rare cases, until labor begins.
Sources: Bustle, CNN, Stay at Home Mum, Mother.ly, Parents, How Stuff Works, WebMD, Parenting First Cry