All About Cryptic Pregnancy, Symptoms and Causes


Cryptic pregnancy is a peculiar instance in which the woman is not aware of being pregnant until much later. It can be as long as seven to nine months and at times is not aware until the start of labor. It may sound incredulous, but cryptic pregnancy is a real phenomenon and occurs more often than you think.

How can this happen?

Women with cryptic pregnancy, may have been told that they have an infertility issue and that their periods will not be regular. They may have used birth control pills and so, confident that they cannot conceive. This is slightly more common in overweight women, because it is hard to detect growing pregnant belly. Some thin and tall women may also end up with cryptic pregnancy, because the positioning of fetus makes it difficult to detect early.

Symptoms of cryptic pregnancy

Symptoms of cryptic pregnancy

Signs and symptoms of a cryptic pregnancy are the same as in a regular pregnancy, such as morning sickness, breast tenderness, food cravings or aversion, migraine, heartburn, cramping and others. Most women with this condition do not experience pregnancy symptoms like other expecting women do. Even if they have, they brush it off as some other issue.

  • In cryptic pregnancy, the home pregnancy test results negative, because hCG hormone is too less to be detected.
  • Ultrasound scan may also not detect the presence of fetus, because of its uncommon position and the technician may not look for it, as they may have already informed about their negative test result.
  • If they are nauseous, they believe it’s because of something they have eaten. There is hardly any weight gain in such cases and even if they do gain, they don’t recognise it as unusual.
  • Absence of their periods is not uncommon to them, because they usually have irregular periods caused by hormonal imbalances or due to contraceptive medications.
  • They hardly register any fetal movement. If they do, they blame it on upset stomach or gas.

Causes of cryptic pregnancy

Cryptic pregnancies are mostly associated with hormone related problems. The issues that can lead to this condition include-


Women with this condition suffer from hormonal imbalances that result in irregular menstrual cycles. This can also cause fertility issues.


Birth control measures such as pills or IUDs can be misleading sometimes. Women can still get pregnant, when they are on their pill or with an IUD inserted in place.

Peri menopause

This is the period before the onset of menopause, when your periods start becoming irregular and then completely stop. They may believe that increase in weight and hormonal changes could be due to peri menopause.

Recent pregnancy

Women who had given birth recently may not believe that they are pregnant already because their period has not returned yet.

Athletic activities

Women active in high intensity sports may not have periods for longer times. Their low body fat content and low levels of other hormones also contribute to reasons behind negative pregnancy results.

Other causes

  • Use of the morning after pill for preventing pregnancy
  • Use of injections or drugs for weight loss
  • Extreme stress
  • Consumption of soy and its products in excessive quantities


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