Cryptic Pregnancy: Signs, Prevention And Discovery
If you have ever been pregnant, you probably cannot imagine going through those months oblivious of your pregnancy. If your stomach weren’t bulging, you would be dealing with morning sickness, weight gain, bloating and the many other friends of pregnancy. Not to mention your missing monthly period. Because a missing period is the first indication that a woman might be pregnant. Enter the cryptic pregnancy, where there are no signs and village people are held responsible. A cryptic pregnancy is one that stays concealed until delivery. This means that the woman is pregnant, but her Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) levels are too low to be noticed in a blood or urine test and other medical testing methods may fail to detect the baby. So the women don’t know they are pregnant sometimes until they reach labour.
What Causes Cryptic Pregnancy?
Even though there are several speculations that explain the low HCG in a cryptic pregnancy, there are hormonal reasons for this condition. Some of them are: Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS); Recent pregnancy; Low body fat; Perimenopause and Birth control pills.
Your Ultrasound Could Miss It!
In a normal pregnancy, the doctor will do a trans-vaginal ultrasound 12 weeks into the pregnancy. After that, he will do an abdominal ultrasound until the due week. But in most cryptic pregnancy cases, ultrasound scans cannot discover the growing fetus. This may be due to some abnormalities in the abdominal region or uterus.
- Uterine retroversion:It is also known as tipped or tilted uterus because the uterus is inclined towards the back of the pelvis unlike a vertical position (as in a normal uterus). This position makes it difficult to see the fetus in an ultrasound.
- Bicornuate uterus:It is a congenital abnormality wherein the uterus is heart-shaped, with two horns. A wall splits the uterus either completely or partially. It can thus affect the reproductive abilities of a woman, and also result in cryptic pregnancy.
- Abnormal scar tissue:An abnormal scar tissue can happen due to abdominal surgery, C-section, or tummy tucks, among others. This scar tissue prevents the ultrasound waves from passing into the uterus, showing negative results on the scan.
A Cryptic Pregnancy Has A Longer Gestational Period
The foetal development is slowed down because the woman has low levels of HCG. This slow fetal growth will mean that the woman is pregnant for longer than 40 weeks. Also, regular periods during a cryptic pregnancy contribute to a prolonged gestational period.
Possible Complications Of Cryptic Pregnancy
A woman who is not aware that she is pregnant cannot get prenatal care. Her delivery will thus turn out to be unassisted or even at home. Prenatal complications such as hypertension, diabetes, or blood group incompatibility will go undetected, putting both the mother and baby at risk. The mother also may not avoid certain habits that put the baby at risk, such as smoking or drinking.
Labour And Delivery In A Cryptic Pregnancy
Labour in a cryptic pregnancy is similar to normal labour and delivery. The woman may experience back pain or a tightness which radiates to the front like that of a period pain. She may want to go to the loo but would not have a bowel movement. In such a case, she should go to a hospital. Sometimes, the symptoms of labour can stretch for months. In most cases, the actual process of a cryptic pregnancy delivery is quick.
How To Prevent It
If you constantly experience certain pain or changes in the lower abdomen or pelvis, you should immediately see a doctor. Even though it is difficult to detect a cryptic pregnancy, your doctor will do what he can to detect it.
If you do not get regular periods, take repeated pregnancy tests. You should speak to your gynecologist about irregular periods and get a thorough checkup. You should also get a checkup done if you think you have entered menopause.
How To Confirm A Cryptic Pregnancy
It’s difficult to predict who could have a denied pregnancy, but it helps to know and look out for the early signs. If you think you might miss some of the common signs like weight gain or a missing period, you can watch out for other early signals, such as tender, swollen breasts; peeing more often; feeling very tired; nausea, sometimes with vomiting; intolerance certain foods or smells.
Since a cryptic pregnancy cannot be detected through blood or urine tests, or an ultrasound scan, your doctor will use a Doppler (monitors fetal heart rate) along with a finger pulse to confirm the pregnancy.
If you have irregular periods and the test results show otherwise, talk to a gynecologist. Also, take care of yourself and eat healthy to promote a normal and healthy development of your baby.
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