How could anyone miss those telltale signs of nausea and exhaustion? Well, if you're not expecting to be, erm, expecting, it's easier than you think...
Natalie Dass, 30, a care coordinator, lives in Bristol with husband Rahul, 34, and Maya, 22 months
When did you first spot the symptoms?
'My tummy felt gassy, but I still went skydiving, horseriding and hiking'
I’d just arrived in New Zealand, where I’d come for a three-month career break, and noticed my tummy felt gassy. Rahul came out to visit me a few weeks later, and we went skydiving, horseriding and hiking. He returned to the UK, but I still felt nauseous, so booked a flight home.
When did you finally work it out?
On my last day there, I was so dizzy, I had a niggling thought I might be pregnant. I’d been taking the Pill, but to rule it out, I went to a pharmacy and bought a test. I was astonished when it was positive, but I knew Rahul and I were committed to one other and we’d make it work. I decided to wait until I got back to the UK to go to my GP. When Rahul picked me up from the airport, I broke it to him. He reacted really calmly, thankfully. We arranged a private scan where the sonographer told me I was 27 weeks and confirmed that everything was fine. We also worked out that, as the Pill isn’t 100% effective, I must have been one of the few who slipped through the net.
How was the rest of your pregnancy?
I just had time to go to a few antenatal classes, and having to be practical really helped to focus my mind. I busied myself making lists and buying baby essentials.
How was your labour?
I was 12 days overdue and had to be induced. Then the midwife told me the baby’s head hadn’t dropped down into my pelvis, I was given diamorphine to ease the pain. For the next 20 hours, the contractions kept coming, but the head still hadn’t dropped, so the doctor recommend a C-section.
What was it like meeting your baby?
With Rahul by my side, after the epidural I felt a quick, painless tugging sensation before our beautiful girl, Maya, was lifted over the screen. Looking at her perfect face, I was elated to have brought her into the world.
'I was elated to have brought her into the world'
How did you get so far along without noticing?
If I’d been in the UK going about my normal routine, I’m sure I would have realised sooner. But, despite missing out on the excitement of the early weeks, I still wouldn’t change what happened.
What the expert says
‘No alcohol is best, but under the recommended limit (14 units per week), your baby’s health shouldn’t be affected,’ says GP Sophie Rivett.
‘Although there is an optimal time for certain scans to be done, most health tests can be performed at a later date,’ says Sophie.> STI Tests‘It’s really important STIs are treated during pregnancy, as they can cause illness in the baby and affect your future fertility, so get tested.’
'It's really important STIs are treated during pregnancy, as they can cause illness in the baby and affect your future fertility, so get tested'