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rosehips
02-23-2013, 02:27 AM
How common is it for a woman to experience no pregnancy symptoms (other than missed periods) in early pregnancy? I want to keep my character blissfully unaware of her condition for a while (she hasn't been watching the calendar).

How common, then, would it be for some symptoms to develop a bit later?

In my own two pregnancies I started feeling really sick pretty much at the point of implantation (there were signs). It's hard for me to imagine not getting those symptoms, but I realize all pregnancies are different...

Jersey Chick
02-23-2013, 03:05 AM
I actually know someone who didn't know she was pregnant until she went into labor. But she was a big woman with a history of other medical problems, and they came into play to mask every thing.

Karen Junker
02-23-2013, 03:13 AM
Ditto on Jersey Chick -- a resident at a group home where I worked went into labor and none of us had realized she was pregnant. She was a large woman.

I've known women with irregular cycles who didn't realize they were pregnant until the 3-4 month. No morning sickness or anything.

GeorgeK
02-23-2013, 03:24 AM
I actually know someone who didn't know she was pregnant until she went into labor. But she was a big woman with a history of other medical problems, and they came into play to mask every thing.

Sounds impossible, but I've seen it several times, usually with poorly educated individuals. When we showed the new grandma the baby she insisted, "My daughter's just fat. Put that baby back where you found it!"

Drachen Jager
02-23-2013, 03:50 AM
There's a T.V. show dedicated to these cases. I think it's called, "I didn't know I was Pregnant!" or something like that.

Most cases the women are obese, often very young, but there are a few cases where a young woman is just terribly naive and thinks she's getting fat.

I'd say three months is certainly possible for anyone if the conditions are right.

ULTRAGOTHA
02-23-2013, 04:20 AM
If her periods are irregular, she may not even have that as a clue.

Some women do bleed a bit in early pregnancy, which would help confuse things even further.

Wilde_at_heart
02-23-2013, 04:36 AM
Maybe if you show your character not being terribly in tune with her body anyway...

Some people claim to know right away, some have no idea for the first few months but they may just be in denial as well.

IDK if it's necessarily about lack of education. According to a friend of mine who works in social services, the biggest group of mothers of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome babies were women studying for their Masters' or higher.

Maryn
02-23-2013, 04:43 AM
I was in my 30s, educated, healthy, with no symptoms other than missed periods. We used two forms of birth control consistently and responsibly. I occasionally had a skipped or late period, which my gynecologist said was nothing more than stress and no reason at all. I had no morning sickness, no symptoms at all, until I was in my fourth month and the OB was sure there was a fetus cookin' in there. I was still testing negative, too. My first real symptom that I could detect was sore breasts. And an huge appetite, so hungry I hurt at times.

So while such a thing as not knowing you're pregnant might be most common in the poorly educated woman who's both overweight and out of touch with her body, it happens to 'regular' people as well.

Luckily, The Kid turned out to be a joy and as an adult is my best friend.

Maryn, who'll talk privately for novel-writing purposes as needed

Myrealana
02-23-2013, 05:08 AM
It's perfectly reasonable for the early symptoms to go unnoticed if the woman isn't looking for them. A woman at work was on that pill that gives you only four periods a year - she didn't have any symptoms and didn't know she was pregnant until she was almost though her 2nd trimester. This was an intelligent, professional, normal-sized woman.

rosehips
02-23-2013, 05:12 AM
Wow, everyone! Thank you for these responses. There are some amazing stories here.

Jersey Chick
02-23-2013, 05:16 AM
The woman I know was very well-educated, but she had so many other underlying problems that her periods were never regular to the point where she obviously paid no attention when she skipped a month (or 9, obviously :D) She thought she was having an appendicitis attack and drove herself to the hospital. Just imagine her shock when, instead of sending her home with her appendix in a jar (do they really even do this???), the hospital sent her home with a baby girl. :D

JoNightshade
02-23-2013, 05:48 AM
Another thing you could use, which is what happens to me, is that early pregnancy signs are often VERY similar to how you feel before your period. Crampy, sore breasts, etc. With my first pregnancy I even bled - I had taken a pregnancy test just as my period was due, but then I assumed I had just miscarried as my period came. I was still pregnant. (Actually there's even a long-ago thread on AW where I went "I'm pregnant" "Nevermind!" "Oh wait yes I am!") So anyway, if your character isn't really thinking of pregnancy, she could bleed lightly and think she had a light period, and then not realize anything until she missed her period the following month. (Which would make her about 8 weeks/2 months pregnant.)

Siri Kirpal
02-23-2013, 07:09 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I know two women who didn't know they were pregnant until more than 4 months in, and both are (or were, been awhile since I've seen one of them) educated and healthy.

Apparently if the fetus implants in certain places in the uterus, blood still sheds for the first few months. Can cause lots of confusion.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Chasing the Horizon
02-23-2013, 07:48 AM
What about people like me who could miss half a dozen periods and not even notice? I gather I'm weird in this, but back when I was on birth control, the clinic would ask when my last period was and I would answer with something like, "I dunno. Longer than last week but after the weather got cold." (Said in February) Like, what, you expect me to be able to keep track of this stuff?

So not everyone would notice missed periods.

GeorgeK
02-23-2013, 01:36 PM
hense the term, "usually."

It bears to mind how we even as physicians don't really know what's going on.



we react to events and rely on experience and science and by and large do a good job, however, 100 years from now people will call us rubes.

Witch_turtle
02-23-2013, 09:46 PM
Here's an interesting/terrifying article I read recently which might help or inspire you also :)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jena-pincott/pregnant-without-knowing-it_b_1078776.html

pernickety
02-23-2013, 11:46 PM
I could say that although I knew I was pregnant straight away on each pregnancy, I never had many symptoms. I had to be persuaded to stop lifting heavy things, doing garden work etc. Even when I learned not to do those things, I felt like I could. The only thing different when I was 7 and 8 and 9 months pregnant was the sheer weight and size of the bump. But even then, I remember turning sideways in the bus to let someone pass, and then realising that I was bigger sideways! ha!

debirlfan
02-24-2013, 12:34 AM
When I went through military basic training, a number of the girls never had their periods - my understanding is that it's not unusual to miss periods if you're exercising heavily, or sometimes even just from stress. If the woman starts running/training or the like shortly before, she might blame missed periods on that.

rosehips
02-24-2013, 02:14 AM
Thanks again everyone!

Witch and debirlfan, the fact that exercise/stress can contribute to lower HCG levels really works well with my plot. Thanks again!

Quentin Nokov
02-24-2013, 02:26 AM
How common is it for a woman to experience no pregnancy symptoms (other than missed periods) in early pregnancy? I want to keep my character blissfully unaware of her condition for a while (she hasn't been watching the calendar).

How common, then, would it be for some symptoms to develop a bit later?

In my own two pregnancies I started feeling really sick pretty much at the point of implantation (there were signs). It's hard for me to imagine not getting those symptoms, but I realize all pregnancies are different...

I have never been pregnant--obviously :roll: But my co-worker had had a baby three years ago. She actually thought she had a miscarriage, but what happened was she was pregnant with twins and she lost one. So she went three months thinking she wasn't pregnant and then she started getting sick in the morning. It was in February she find out that yes she was still in fact pregnant and she gave birth to her son at the end of July.

JoNightshade
02-24-2013, 03:37 AM
Quentin, that's exactly what happened to me! I thought I miscarried as well and would never have known I was still pregnant with one except that the doc told me to come in and check to make sure. Turns out it was likely my son's twin.

CrastersBabies
02-24-2013, 07:04 AM
A friend of mine had her "period" all the way through her pregnancy. I'm not sure it was a real period, but she did bleed regularly while pregnant. It was a very strange, rare condition of some sort. Sorry I don't have more about that.

Some women do not get morning sickness at all.

teacherwelden
02-24-2013, 07:48 AM
I have read about cases where very young girls disguise their pregnancy for many months. They are able to subconciously deny that they are pregnant to the point that not only do they appear "not pregnant" to others but they also completely convince themselves that this is the case.

sassandgroove
02-24-2013, 08:11 AM
My mom had miscarried a few times so when she got pregnant with me she had given up. She was on a diet, (thankfully a nutritious one.) and was losing weight as I gained weight. She passed out at work and the doctor they took her too said it was stress. Oh it was stress alright! It was me. Ha. She was six months on and knew something wasn't right and went to her doc who said, "guess what." I told that story once to a woman who just couldn't believe my mom didn't know, but I think having miscarried she didn't want to believe/see it because she was afraid of another loss.

Zaffiro
02-24-2013, 09:01 PM
It happened to a girl I know. She was young (19) and had polycystic ovarian syndrome, so she was used to going for months without a period and that didn't strike her as unusual. She doesn't think she had any other symptoms, but since pregnancy wasn't on her radar, she could easily have put down things like fatigue and nausea to other causes (stress, overwork, hangovers).

Finally her stomach was bothering her or something, so she mentioned it to her mother, who felt the solidity of her stomach and said, 'You're pregnant.' Five months, as it turned out.

She's on the slim side, but she didn't show at all. She's not incredibly highly educated, but she's very far from stupid and she knew all about sex and pregnancy. She doesn't fit the pattern I've read about a few times, where a young girl represses the knowledge of her pregnancy because she comes from a conservative religious family who would be horrified and/or furious: in this girl's world, there's nothing unusual about having a baby outside marriage. And the father was her fiancÚ, so there wasn't a trauma associated with the conception. It just never once occurred to her that she was pregnant.

jaksen
02-24-2013, 10:18 PM
I didn't know I was pregnant until well into the third month. I am short, very small, and only knew one thing, I was having terrible indigestion. My doctor diagnosed me as having gall bladder issues and put me on Tagamet. I went through Thanksgiving, Christmas and most of January before my Tagamet-doctor couldn't figure out why I wasn't feeling better. I told him I was sleepy and felt sick some of the time, at which point he quickly changed his diagnosis and sent me for a pregnancy test. (This is 1980)

My husband and I laughed all the way to the test (different doctor) and then were stunned speechless all the way home.

She was a little baby and I wasn't showing even at three months. Clothes weren't getting tight or anything.

So yeah, anyone can be mistaken, confused, not feel the usual symptoms, etc.