August 8, 2020


We, Deliver

Baby pops out, falls into pit latrine as Machakos woman unaware of her pregnancy answered call of nature

By Patrick Mutisya and Brian Okoth

A 36-year-old woman from Machakos County on Friday evening (July 10) gave birth while answering a short call of nature at the Mwala Level 4 Hospital.

The woman, who lives
with partial paralysis following a stroke, had been assisted by her teenage son
to access the toilet, where she gave birth to a baby boy, and the newborn fell
into the pit latrine.

After assisting her
mother out of the toilet, the woman’s son heard a baby crying in the pit
latrine, prompting him to alert nurses at the facility.

“We managed to get
people to demolish the pit latrine and rescued the baby, who was alive. Preliminary
examination indicates the new mother had carried the pregnancy to term,” Mwala
Level 4 Hospital medical superintendent Dr. Stephen Kitheka told K24 Digital.

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Dr. Kitheka says the
woman, who is paralysed on the left side of her body, stated that she wasn’t aware
of her pregnancy, or did not experience any labor pains prior to giving birth.

The doctor says the
patient had come for physiotherapy sessions among other treatments for
different ailments.

“After rescuing the
baby, we admitted the mother-and-child to a ward, where they were closely
monitored. The infant was accorded emergency care, and is now in stable
condition. It is actually breast-feeding,” said Dr. Kitheka.

Cryptic pregnancy

Medical News Today says a situation where a woman carries a pregnancy to term without knowing that she was expectant is known as cryptic pregnancy.

Sometimes the woman
will realise she is pregnant when she is in the third trimester or only when
she goes into labor.

Recent studies on
cryptic pregnancy are hard to come by, says Medical News Today. However, those
available studies have suggested that cryptic pregnancies occur more often than
doctors might think.

A 2011 review of
available research finds that 1 in 475 women deny their pregnancy at 20 weeks
or more.

Often, women with a
cryptic pregnancy do not experience typical symptoms of pregnancy, such as:

  • Nausea
  • missed
  • abdominal

Doctors and
relatives may also be unaware that the woman is pregnant.

Babies born from a
cryptic pregnancy tend to be underweight, and the lack of prenatal care may
affect their development, says the Medical News Today.

Doctors classify
most cryptic pregnancy as psychotic or nonpsychotic.

According to the
2011 review, women with psychotic denial of pregnancy may have mental
illnesses, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. They may experience
symptoms of pregnancy but may link them to delusional causes.

Women with
nonpsychotic denial have no history of mental illness and their sense of
reality is intact.

Doctors separate
nonpsychotic cryptic pregnancy into three categories:

  • pervasive
  • affective
  • persistent

Women with pervasive
denial of pregnancy experience a lack of emotional significance to pregnancy
and are unaware that they are pregnant.

Women with affective
denial of pregnancy acknowledge they are pregnant but do not prepare
emotionally or physically for pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting.

Doctors report that
women with persistent denial become aware of pregnancy in the last trimester
and avoid seeking medical attention.

Research reports
that 36% of women with cryptic pregnancies have pervasive denial, 11% have
persistent denial, and 52% have affective denial.


Women with cryptic
pregnancies may not experience any typical pregnancy symptoms or only vague

Doctors may need to
consider that women of childbearing age with symptoms of pregnancy may be
pregnant even if they deny it might be the case.

Women with a
psychotic cryptic pregnancy may experience a variety of symptoms. One of the
only symptoms that women with a nonpsychotic cryptic pregnancy may notice is an
unexpected delivery.

Doctors may find it
challenging to diagnose a cryptic pregnancy because symptoms may not be present
or noticeable. Also, women may never consult a doctor during their pregnancy.

In some situations,
women may have consulted a doctor during their cryptic pregnancy but not
received a correct diagnosis.

By increasing
awareness in healthcare providers, women experiencing cryptic pregnancy may
have better access to medical care. This can help to improve outcomes for their


According to the
literature, researchers previously thought that women with cryptic pregnancies
typically had one or more of the following factors:

  • younger
  • learning
  • poor
    social and family support
  • mental
  • history
    of drug abuse

From the review of
studies, the evidence now suggests that most women with cryptic pregnancies

  • in their
  • have
    other children
  • have
    good social and family support
  • Only a
    minority have lower intelligence, drug abuse, or mood and psychiatric

External stresses
and mental or emotional conflicts around pregnancy may cause pregnancy denial
in otherwise healthy women.

Doctors may find it
challenging to identify women with pregnancy denying characteristics.

Risk factors

Pregnant women
experiencing psychiatric disorders may be aware of their symptoms but deny they
are real and link them to other causes.

Other women without
mental illnesses may experience stress and conflicts about pregnancy, which can
lead to cryptic pregnancy.

Doctors have yet to
establish risk factors for cryptic pregnancy because they are unable to
identify common features.


As the cryptic
pregnancy progresses, doctors have a better chance of detecting pregnancy. The
rate of cryptic pregnancy decreases from 1 in 475 pregnancies at 20 weeks to 1
in 2500 pregnancies when active labor begins.

Since women with
cryptic pregnancies may only become aware of pregnancy in the later terms of
pregnancy, they may experience emotional disturbances.

After giving birth,
the women may disassociate from their baby, increasing the risk of abuse, child
neglect, and death.

Women with cryptic
pregnancies may have unassisted deliveries because they have not prepared for

Denial of pregnancy
and its complications put the baby at risk of:

  • Prematurity
  • small
  • hospitalization
  • death

How does it affect labor?

Women with denied
pregnancy may deliver unexpectedly, in some cases, giving birth without

deliveries can be dangerous for both mother and child.

Doctors suggest that
up to 15% of all births involve potentially fatal complications. In addition,
around the world, more than 500,000 women die from complications during

Many healthcare
professionals report that unassisted childbirth is not safe, and medical
attention is essential during delivery.

What to do despite a negative pregnancy test

Women who are
confident they are pregnant, despite having a negative pregnancy test, should
speak with their doctor or another healthcare provider.

The most specific
and accurate pregnancy test is a blood test. Doctors will check for the presence
of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in the blood. HCG is a hormone that the
placenta releases.

The post Baby pops out, falls into pit latrine as Machakos woman unaware of her pregnancy answered call of nature appeared first on K24 TV.