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Here are some astonishing statistics: Among pregnant women, 1 in 450 doesn’t know her status until week 20 or later (more than halfway through the pregnancy), and 1 in 2,500 is oblivious until she actually goes into labor.

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I know what you’re thinking because I’ve thought it too: it’s denial. On some level, these women must know they’re pregnant but can’t deal with the reality.

Yet when I explored the origins of cryptic pregnancy — the clinical name for this condition — I realized that denial or mental illness doesn’t fully explain the phenomenon. Only a minority of cryptic pregnancy cases has been attributed to personality disturbances (eight percent) or schizophrenia (five percent). It appears that most unexpectedly expectant mothers are perfectly sane and educated. Quite simply, they do not know they’re pregnant because they have no symptoms — no weight gain, no nausea, and little to no abdominal swelling. They may still have their periods, or have always had irregular periods. If they have symptoms, they’re so subtle as to be easily mistaken for something else. Indigestion, perhaps.

Read the rest here.