Go To The ER, Come Home With Baby

You may have seen stories on TV about moms who didn't know they were pregnant until the baby was born. Are these stories believable? How can a mom miss a pregnancy?

Pregnant belly

An old friend recently reminded me of a mutual acquaintance whose wife went to the emergency room with severe abdominal pain, only to later deliver a healthy, term newborn baby. And... this happened to her not once -- but twice! If you are pregnant or have ever been pregnant, do you think for a moment you could mistake anything you are feeling for something other than a pregnancy?

Unmistakable signs

Many moms know something is going on even before they miss their period. Once an embryo implants into your uterus, your hormones go crazy to ensure its survival, and it can do a number on your body. Even early on, you may feel hot, slightly nauseated or exhausted. The biggest clue is often a missed period, which will prompt many to go out and buy a pregnancy test.

And as a pregnancy progresses, you can experience extreme morning sickness, dizziness and severe fatigue, mad cravings and serious food aversions. Later on as your uterus expands, your belly begins to round out, and you have to wear different clothes. And for many of us, by the end of your 40 weeks, even your maternity clothes eventually become too small.

And don't forget about fetal movement. In the beginning, it can be mistaken for gas, but by the end of your third trimester, those sweet little early movements can become quite painful as your little one pounds on your bladder or bicycle kicks your ribcage.

But wait!

For some moms, their periods don't really stop. For example, at around the time of implantation, many mothers bleed a little, which can be mistaken for a light period. And sometimes, it's an even bigger bleed.

And for other moms, they didn't have regular periods to begin with, which can make it difficult to date a known pregnancy but can make discovering one even harder. If you weren't trying to conceive, would you take a pregnancy test every month if you didn't think it was a possibility? I can't say I would.

Some medical conditions can mask pregnancy as well, or the mom is lucky enough to have such mild symptoms it can be overlooked as a bout of illness or sore muscles. Some moms gain little to no weight, and still others keep up with their regular activities without a hitch.

Giant baby

As for overlooking the fact there is a seven- or eight-pound baby inside your uterus, I can only speculate. Actually, I can't. By the end of my pregnancies, I couldn't bend over or sleep well. I peed constantly, had terrible heartburn and non-stop practice contractions. If I didn't know I was pregnant, I'd go to the doctor anyway because none of that was normal for me.

Some of these cases may be chalked up to serious denial, but if I didn't know someone who had this happen to them, I'm not sure I could believe it. What about you?

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