Battling writer’s block. A blank screen staring out at me. The quest for the memorable inaugural blog post. My grocery list. A million scattered thoughts. Then my patient came in. Sunlight at the end of the tunnel.
“Doc, why are my pants crying?” giggling as she said it.
My patient had apparently just seen an episode of “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant” on TLC. I had served as one of the medical experts for the show for two seasons and inevitably every week my patients would come in and ask… how did they really not know they were pregnant? Was this for real?
But this isn’t what finally pushed me to write this blog post. It was Kathy Griffin’s recent comedy special on BRAVO which poked fun at the show and I must admit had me in stitches. Check out 5:51
I will go on the record and explain the non-televised version of how they could possibly not know they were pregnant to clear up any misconceptions.
Sometimes it is just pure denial- not a PC thing to say on television of course. This is most common amongst adolescents. They think it couldn’t possibly happen to them. Little by little they ignore the signs by brushing it away… somehow mistakenly thinking that it will somehow go away. Basically, it is their coping mechanism albeit not the best way of coping.
2. Medical problems
There are medical conditions that can cause either irregular periods or no periods such as polycystic ovarian syndrome and thyroid conditions. They mistakenly think that not having a menses is “normal” for them.
An elevated body mass index can cause a hormonal imbalance which can lead to irregular periods or their absence. Their habitus can effect how they might (or rather might not) experience a baby moving around.
4. Lack of self-awareness
A lack of self-awareness of their bodies can contribute to a failure to recognize the common signs of pregnancy.
5. Pregnancy is different for everyone
Every woman experiences pregnancy differently. In my practice, I have had several patients breeze through their pregnancies without any major symptoms. Some of them worked or did yoga up to the date of their delivery. This is more the exception than the rule.
Last thoughts... it was mostly during residency that I tended to encounter these types of situations that are portrayed on the show. It really does happen...not often... but it does.