Woman Had No Idea She Was Giving Birth In Viral Story Of A Cryptic Pregnancy (Yes, That's A Thing)

"How I became a mom within 15 minutes."

By Gina Florio3 min read
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People are enamored with a young mom's rare birth story that she recently shared on TikTok. For most mothers, pregnancy is a long process of around nine months, and it can be quite uncomfortable at times. Then there's the birth, which can go smoothly or could be riddled with complications. Labor duration varies greatly among women, especially for first-time mothers. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the average active first stage of labor, where the cervix dilates from 6-10 cm, lasts 4-8 hours for a first-time mother. For women who have given birth before, this stage may only last 2-3 hours. The second stage, which involves pushing and ends with the birth of the baby, can last from 20 minutes to two hours for first-time mothers. In subsequent births, this stage typically lasts around 20 minutes. In total, labor usually lasts between 6 and 18 hours for first-time mothers, while for subsequent births, it can be significantly shorter. But for TikToker Kayla, her first pregnancy was almost non-existent, and she gave birth in 15 minutes—without even knowing she was pregnant at all.

What Is a Cryptic Pregnancy?

While pregnancy is often associated with classic signs such as missed periods, morning sickness, and an expanding belly, there exists a rare phenomenon known as a cryptic or stealth pregnancy. This condition occurs when a woman is unaware of her pregnancy until the last few weeks or even until she's in labor. While this may seem implausible, cryptic pregnancies are not as uncommon as you might assume. While precise figures are hard to establish due to the rarity and difficulty in reporting such cases, some studies estimate that cryptic pregnancies occur in about 1 in 475 pregnancies late into the second trimester. Some even suggest that 1 in 2,500 women may not realize they're pregnant until they go into labor.

Cryptic pregnancies present a unique case where typical pregnancy symptoms like nausea, weight gain, and a growing belly may be absent or very minimal. In some instances, women continue to have what appears to be a menstrual cycle throughout the pregnancy. The phenomenon is more perplexing because women with cryptic pregnancies may still experience abdominal pain, backache, or other common pregnancy-related symptoms, but these are often attributed to other causes, like stress, digestive issues, or menopause, thereby masking the pregnancy.

In many cases, even standard pregnancy tests may return negative results. This could be due to low levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) (the hormone that pregnancy tests detect) in the woman's body. This further compounds the confusion and delays the pregnancy discovery.

The underlying causes of cryptic pregnancies are complex and multi-faceted. Certain physiological factors can lead to a cryptic pregnancy. These may include lower-than-average hCG levels or carrying the baby in a way that doesn’t cause a noticeable change in the shape or size of the abdomen. Psychological factors can also play a role. Denial or fear of pregnancy, especially in stressful or non-ideal circumstances, can lead the woman to interpret symptoms differently or dismiss them altogether. Underlying medical conditions like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which cause irregular periods and hormonal imbalances, can confuse the woman into dismissing pregnancy signs. Age and weight also factor into the equation. Older women may mistake pregnancy symptoms for perimenopause, while women who are overweight might not notice additional weight gain from pregnancy.

Ultimately, cryptic pregnancies remind us of the extraordinary range of experiences surrounding pregnancy and childbirth. They highlight the importance of attuned body awareness and open dialogue with healthcare providers about any unexplained changes. Although cryptic pregnancies can lead to feelings of shock and lack of preparation for the baby, with the right support and care, both mother and baby can still achieve a healthy outcome.

Kayla's Cryptic Pregnancy Story

A young TikToker decided to share her birth story and it already has 8 million views. She wanted to explain how she "became a mom within 15 minutes." Kayla went to the emergency room in November 2021 thinking she had appendicitis. She was dealing with severe abdominal pain and "major bleeding," so she called her mom upstairs and told her the symptoms. Her mom suggested it might be period cramps, but that didn't make sense to Kayla because her period had just ended two days before. They were going to just have Kayla take some Advil and use a heating pad, but it became clear that the pain was too excruciating to handle without medical assistance.

They rushed Kayla to the ER, and she was in so much pain that she couldn't even walk. The doctors performed an ultrasound in an attempt to rule out hernia, appendicitis, etc., but then Kayla's mom noticed something familiar on the screen: a small pair of baby feet. That's when Kayla let out a loud scream of pain. Doctors checked her and realized that she was crowning. A baby was on the way!

Within 15 minutes, Kayla gave birth to a healthy baby girl who had no health complications. She was 6.9 pounds and 19 inches long. Kayla also explained that she had zero pregnancy symptoms during the last nine months. In fact, she had lost 30 pounds, her stomach was the flattest it had ever been, and she had a period every month. It was a complete surprise, to say the least.

"Within those 15 minutes, my life changed forever," Kayla said. "Now I can say for the better."

When people ask her how she managed to suddenly accept a new baby into her life and become a mother at 20 years old, she said she is "so grateful to have supportive parents" who decked out the whole house with necessities for Kayla's daughter and even turned the spare bedroom into a nursery.

"I am so grateful that I did not suffer postpartum depression," Kayla continued. "I was honestly fine. Obviously, I was in shock, but I do think that things happen for a reason." She says she is the happiest she has ever been, and she knows she was meant to be a mom.

Some of the comments reveal similar experiences. "I had a cryptic pregnancy as well," one woman said. "Drs kept telling me 'it's gas.' Well, the gas turns 23 in July." A few others said they were a product of cryptic pregnancies, while others wished for a cryptic pregnancy of their own so they didn't have to go through the symptoms of traditional pregnancy. Kayla's daughter is almost two years old now, and she regularly shares moments of motherhood on her TikTok, shedding light on how much she enjoys being a mom.