Most of us know when we are pregnant. There are clues: Cessation of menstruation, swollen breasts, nausea, food affinities and aversions, getting kicked in the ribs (along with...ahem...other 'places') and then there's the ever-expanding belly. Most women experience so many uncomfortable symptoms towards the end of pregnancy, it makes it almost impossible not to know. Not so for Linda Ackley, 44, who thought she just had a hernia. According to an ABCnews story, Ackley delivered a 10-pound baby girl on February 8th, without realizing she was pregnant. Ackley had been told she could not bear children, so their new addition, Kimberly Kay, is a miraculous surprise for her and her husband, Mike, of 24 years.
So how common is it that a woman might not know she is pregnant? According to an article published in Discovery Fit & Health, written by Marianne English, there are several reasons some women might not know. Some are a result of 'denied pregnancy', (the term speaks for itself) either consciously or subconsciously. One researcher who did a population based study on denial of pregnancy presents results:
Altogether 62 women did not realise they were pregnant until after 20 weeks' gestation. On the basis of 29 462 deliveries during the study period, we determined that 1 in 475 (95% confidence interval 370 to 625) pregnancies were denied by the woman. (BMJ 2002;324:458.1)
Besides denial, there are other reasons a woman might not know she is pregnant. Some women who are overweight may not gain very much during pregnancy; women with infrequent or irregular periods may not pay attention to their cycles; and some just don't experience the usual occurrences that we tend to associate with pregnancy.
So, although infrequent, it does happen.
*Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. Ackley on your 10-pound bundle of joy!