In a cryptic pregnancy the pregnant woman is not aware that she is pregnant until she goes into labor and delivers the baby. The word "cryptic" is a Greek word and it means "mysterious" or "obscure" or "hidden or ambiguous meaning", so a cryptic pregnancy is a mysterious or obscure or hidden or ambiguous pregnancy.
The first and only publication on cryptic pregnancy in the medical literature was published in 2007 indicating a 1 in 475 incidence. The author says that "very often, bodily symptoms of pregnancy (nausea, amenorrhea and abdomen swelling) are absent or greatly reduced, and neonates tend to be underweight; in many cases, pregnancy goes undetected also by relatives and physicians."
There may be several reasons a woman may not be aware of the pregnancy such as:
- Not realizing the period was missed
- No pregnancy symptoms
- Supposed negative urine and blood tests
- A small fetus
Cryptic pregnancy is not so different from a denial of pregnancy. In pregnancy denial the woman is subconsciously aware of her pregnancy, but denies its existence while in a cryptic pregnancy the woman does not know at all that she is pregnant until labor and delivery.