In a viral TikTok video, Kayla Simpson from New Jersey shared her astonishing story of being rushed to the emergency room due to severe abdominal pain in November 2021. Despite having ended her period two days earlier, Simpson, then 20 years old, had no idea that she was about to give birth.
She revealed that she had experienced a cryptic pregnancy, a term used for pregnancies that go unnoticed without the usual symptoms or signs such as cravings, morning sickness, or a visible baby bump. Simpson’s video and revelation have left viewers shocked and distressed. While some women admitted it awakened a new fear in them, others saw the idea of being unaware of pregnancy for the entire term as somewhat appealing.
Insider consulted a doctor who confirmed that cryptic pregnancies are uncommon, and the circumstances described by Simpson are even rarer. Simpson shared her story on TikTok, titling it “How I Became a mom within 15 Minutes.” She explained that after arriving at the hospital with abdominal pain, an ultrasound was performed to rule out hernia, ovarian cysts, and appendicitis.
To her surprise, her mother noticed something familiar on the scan, which turned out to be “little feet.” Shortly after, Simpson claimed her baby started crowning, and she gave birth to her daughter, Madi. Commenters expressed shock at this medical phenomenon and shared their own experiences with cryptic pregnancies.
While some saw the humor in the situation, others were terrified by the thought of a cryptic pregnancy. Dr. Nicole Rankins, an OB-GYN and podcast host, explained that while cryptic pregnancies are uncommon, those where the realization comes during labor are even rarer. Approximately 1 in 475 women don’t realize they’re pregnant until the fifth month, and only about 1 in 2,500 discover their pregnancy while in labor, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Although Simpson’s circumstances are extraordinary, Dr. Rankins cautioned against discounting personal experiences. However, she noted that some aspects of Simpson’s story are unusual. The cause of cryptic pregnancies is unknown, but they are more commonly seen in women with irregular periods.
In her extensive experience, Dr. Rankins has only encountered two patients who were unaware of their pregnancy until labor, both of whom were actively hiding it. She also highlighted that pregnant women cannot have menstrual periods, as Simpson claimed, and a 30-pound weight loss is atypical during pregnancy.
While Simpson’s story intrigued some viewers who found the idea of a cryptic pregnancy appealing, Dr. Rankins emphasized that it can also increase the risk of complications due to the lack of prenatal care. She warned against giving excessive attention to rare medical conditions amplified by social media algorithms. While notable cases exist, they are few and far between. Viewers should not overly fret about cryptic pregnancies, as they are not a common occurrence.