Cryptic pregnancy is one such concept that most of us are unaware of. So let’s understand what it is.
We have a basic idea of what encryption means. It is simply decoding things so that it is not easy to identify or understand. Cryptic pregnancy is the same thing. It is an unidentified pregnancy that is difficult to detect until 20 weeks or sometimes until a woman goes into labor and is undetectable due to negligible amounts of HCG in the body.
What is HCG?
HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is a hormone that is produced when a woman is pregnant by the placenta after implantation of the fetus in the uterine. It is produced only when a woman gets pregnant and it is this hormone in blood and urine that confirms pregnancy after the test.
Why cryptic pregnancy is unnoticed?
Cryptic pregnancy is unnoticed because HCG does not pass in the maternal as a typical pregnancy. Due to this, the body fails to generate any pregnancy-related signals and also the development of the baby is slow. This makes the pregnancy last longer than the actual nine months gestation period.
Sometimes there are other medical reasons like:
Cyst on the enlarged ovaries cause hormonal imbalance.
After pregnancy hormones take time to go back to normal levels. Having unprotected intercourse soon after having a baby may cause cryptic pregnancy.
Low body fat:
Mostly in the case of athletes.
Birth control pills:
These interfere with natural hormonal cycle.
Women with age above 40 take missing period as menopause and this way the pregnancy goes unnoticed.
It is one of the most common reasons for hormonal imbalance and thus causing cryptic pregnancy.
Will I get periods during cryptic pregnancy?
You may or may not get your menstrual cycle. Most of the times it is spot which is misread as periods and so women are unaware of the pregnancy. There is a difference between spotting and periods. But not big enough for cryptic pregnancy to get attention.
Some women may also get regular periods due to less amount of HCG hormone produced.
Why does it go undetected in scans and tests?
There are many reasons why pregnancy is cryptic (undetected). Some of these reasons are:
- Due to unbalanced and fluctuating maternal hormones, urine and blood tests for pregnancy will come back negative.
- Some women feel early labor contractions which are misread as usual cramping during the menstrual cycle.
- No sign of pregnancy on the ultrasound in most cases due to difficulty in detecting the fetus as most of the times fetus is implanted at the back of the uterus near spine.
- Fetal movements inside the womb are mistaken for gas and bloating.
What are the symptoms of cryptic pregnancy labor ?
As the gestation period of this pregnancy is longer, women experience false labor few times. But this is again to taken as pregnancy symptoms due to unawareness. The contractions are mistaken as menstrual cramps. the pains lasting for months may prompt women to see a doctor, where the pregnancy may be confirmed. The doctor may try to induce labor or perform a C-section to deliver the baby according to the development stage of the fetus.
Some of the labor symptoms are:
- Back pain
- Pain in legs
- Vagina feeling bruised and painful
- Cold sweats
- Pulling sensation in abdomen
- Blurred vision