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Can You Be Pregnant and Not Know It?

Can you be pregnant and not know it?

For women who have experienced the onset of pregnancy symptoms like nausea/vomiting, exhaustion, and a missed period, it is hard to imagine not knowing you are pregnant.  However, there are stories of women not realizing they are pregnant until they have entered into their third trimester, or until they are in labor! So how does this happen? There are a number of things that could keep a woman from realizing the changes that her body may be going through. 

5 reasons you can be pregnant and not know it:

1. No Symptoms

Some women simply do not experience the typical physical symptoms of pregnancy such as weight gain, fatigue, morning sickness, or heartburn. They can also have such mild symptoms that they do not even notice anything has changed. These women can go through pregnancy feeling the same as they did before they were pregnant.  

2. Fear or Stress

Stress plays a big part in a woman’s body during an unexpected pregnancy.  Just the thought of pregnancy can be a big stressor and cause a woman to go into deep denial. Denial is a very powerful defense mechanism when crisis arises in a woman’s life.  She may not want to admit that it is real, so she avoids taking a pregnancy test or seeking medical care. Pregnancy brings big life changes, and it can feel very overwhelming to acknowledge.  

3. Irregular Cycles 

Some women experience irregular cycles due to stress, medications, medical problems (PCOS, hormonal imbalance), obesity, or eating disorders.  When these women experience a missed period the first thought is not, “I might be pregnant,” because it is not abnormal for them.  It is important if you are sexually active and do not have regular cycles each month to do a pregnancy test at home each month. That way you are able to seek prenatal care early on in your pregnancy.  

4. Not Feeling the Baby Move 

Typically, an expecting mom will start to feel her baby move between 18-20 weeks of pregnancy. If the placement of the placenta is anterior (in the front of the uterus) she might not be able to feel those movements.  This can sometimes be concerning to women who know they are pregnant, and are not feeling much movement from the baby. An ultrasound, during the second trimester will help you to determine the placement of your placenta during pregnancy.  

5. Pregnancy Denial 

There are many different reasons for pregnancy denial.  Some women may have a denied pregnancy because of mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.  A younger girl might be scared to tell her parents she is pregnant because they would find out she is sexually active. Women can and do deliver healthy babies after a denied pregnancy, but there are risks to not knowing you are pregnant. 

4 Risks to Not Knowing You are Pregnant

1. You miss out on prenatal care such as blood tests, ultrasounds, and physical exams that ensure you and baby are healthy.

2. You will not know if there is a risk for complications during your pregnancy for things such as preeclampsia, anemia, gestational diabetes, or high blood pressure.  

3. You miss the opportunity to make healthy choices for you and your baby during pregnancy, such as diet changes and prenatal vitamins.  Prenatal vitamins provide you and your baby with the amount of nutrients it needs during crucial rapid development.

4. You are unable to intentionally make lifestyle changes for the health of your baby. Decisions such as quitting smoking, drinking, or drug use are crucial to the growth and development of the baby. 

If you think you might be pregnant, or have experienced changes in the way you feel, please give us a call at 770-924-0864.  We offer free pregnancy testing and ultrasounds that can confirm pregnancy. It is important to pay attention to any changes in the way you are feeling or if you have missed a period.  Some signs of early pregnancy are going to the bathroom more often, swollen breasts, feeling extremely tired, nausea, food aversions, and food cravings.

An unexpected pregnancy can bring stress, fear, and denial, but the good news is that there is support.  We are here to help, so call and make an appointment today.   

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  • Anna Muller – Nurse Manager

    Anna Muller - Nurse Manager

    I am so glad you are here. My name is Anna Muller, and I am the Nurse Manager at The HOPE Center. I love working at The HOPE Center and meeting all of the wonderful women and families that visit our clinic.