One in 2,500 babies arrive with seemingly no warning.
  • An Australian model gave birth to a baby without even realising she was pregnant.
  • 23-year-old Erin Langmaid told 7News she felt intense stomach cramps, and a baby daughter arrived within about 10 minutes.
  • "I wasn't showing obviously because I fit into everything. It's just really bizarre," Langmaid told 7News. "I'm still in shock, but you just adjust and this is our life now. We wouldn't change it."
  • Langmaid experienced what is known as a "cryptic pregnancy." It can affect as many as one in 2,500 women.
  • Dr. Isis Amer-Wahlin from Bonzun, the virtual midwife, told Insider pregnancy can go unnoticed because of irregular periods, an athletic physique, and dismissing the symptoms as other things like food poisoning.
  • For more stories go to the Business Insider South Africa homepage.

Australian model Erin Langmaid had a huge surprise when she gave birth to her daughter in the bathroom because she didn't even realise she had been pregnant.

Langmaid, who is a 23-year-old model, told 7News baby Isla arrived in just 10 minutes after she started having intense stomach cramps. She'd had no bump, morning sickness, cravings, or any signs of pregnancy at all, and was also taking contraceptive injections.

"I wasn't showing obviously because I fit into everything. It's just really bizarre," Langmaid told 7News. "I'm still in shock, but you just adjust and this is our life now. We wouldn't change it."

Langmaid's partner of two years, Daniel Carty, posted the news on Instagram, saying both mother and daughter were well and ready to go home from the hospital after an "extremely tough few days."

"Now after a big week we look forward to life as a little fam with the most gorgeous new little addition and all the great things that come with that!" he said.

Langmaid's story sounds shocking, but it's actually not as rare as you might think to have what's called a "cryptic pregnancy." According to WebMD, research has shown one in 400 or 500 women are 20 weeks into their pregnancy before they realise they are carrying a baby, while a 2007 study in the BMJ states one in 2,500 women get all the way to labour before they work it out.

Dr. Isis Amer-Wahlin, an obstetrics and gynecology consultant and board member at Bonzun, told Insider that cryptic pregnancies are unknown not just to the mother but all those around her, including her healthcare provider.

"In many cases, the physical changes that are expected to take place when a woman becomes pregnant are not apparent," she said. "While in the most extreme cases, a woman does not know that she is pregnant until she enters labour, for others experiencing a cryptic pregnancy they might become alerted to the pregnancy during the third trimester when the body changes the most."

How a pregnancy can go unnoticed

She said there are a number of reasons a mother might not notice her pregnancy. She may be very athletic, have irregular periods, or her body type conceals the pregnancy for many months.

Sometimes, hormone fluctuations cause light bleeding, which can be mistaken for a period, leading the mother to think they are having a regular menstrual cycle. Or they may think their symptoms of nausea are caused by something else, like food poisoning.

Erin Langmaid and her daughter Isla.

Not every woman experiences all the typical pregnancy symptoms, and some don't notice any at all, Amer-Wahlin said, so they don't think to take a pregnancy test. The tests that you pee on are not 100% reliable anyway, she added, and can show a false negative.

"Additionally, women who have been told that they are infertile may fall pregnant but not assign the symptoms to pregnancy because they are of the understanding that pregnancy isn't possible for them," Amer-Wahlin said. "When one is of this mindset is it very easy to attribute physical changes within the body to weight gain or illness."

According to WebMD, another reason a pregnancy goes unnoticed is denial. Fear and stress are such powerful emotions they can lead to a mother dismissing every pregnancy symptom

"For example, a teenager may deny or ignore a pregnancy because she doesn't want her parents to know she's had sex," the site says. "A married woman may do the same because she got pregnant by someone other than her partner."

While it may not be possible to always notice a cryptic pregnancy, it's worth knowing the early signs that you're expecting, including swollen and tender breasts, tiredness, nausea, and not being able to stand certain foods.

Receive a daily email with all our latest news: click here.

Also from Business Insider South Africa: