Fat Women and Babies

I saw on a recent tv show that an obese woman came into hospital complaining of stomach pain and lo and behold, out popped a baby. She did not know she was pregnant. Having given birth to two children myself, I find this hard to believe, what with the absence of a menstrual period, feeling the baby move, etc. Is it physically possible to be so fat that you don’t know you’re pregnant until you give birth?

ws - welcome to the message board. One thing I learned as a newcomer is that if you have a question, in general, often if you use the “search” function, you’ll find other threads with this information. We had one going two days ago. http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=38391

In it your question is answered.

As an aside, don’t assume that the weight of the woman involved was in any way related to the issue. It can lead to some one perceiving your question as rude.

Uhhmm, how can the weight of the woman not be realted to the issue? A woman of average weight is going to have no problem knowing she is pregnant.

Not so, Tzel.

See the other thread for more details, but other related issues are the woman’s height (more room in the abdomen for the baby), her age, degree of fitness, and how many other kids she has had (tighter abdominal muscles will make you “show” less), and the size of the baby.

The quick and dirty answer is that the women whom this happens to are usually incredibly obese – eg 5 feet tall and 250 pounds. They’re the kind of people who might gain 15 or 20 pounds and think nothing of it. I’ll stick my neck out a little farther and say that most are also very poorly educated, and might not have ever had a proper sex education, or even “that little talk”.

Oh please. Read the other thread for god’s sake. Many women who are taken by surprise by pregnancy have regular menses during their pregnancy, believe themselves to be infertile because a doctor told them so, and/or have few or zero normal pregnancy symptoms.

Wring, cher3, and Sea Sloth: Talk about fighting ignorance! Way to go. You three are my SDMB heros!

      • I’m a guy, and a single guy with no kids to boot, so it’s a fair bet that I don’t know sheet about birthin’ babies. It seems though, that (as I’ve heard it) there’s a bunch of symptoms of pregnancy, weight gain being only one of them. I kinda wonder how one could miss them all. Most women I have heard about were absolutely miserable at least 3 or 4 of those 9 months. - And both stories I have read about surprise pregnancies were with very-overweight women, so there. - MC

MC, did you go back and read the thread wring linked?

Lordy, yes. Some of my mother’s friends . . . and others she has heard of, they were pregnant for a while and had no freaking idea.

My cousin is pregnant now and overweight enough that I doubt she’s know if not for pregnancy tests and the lack of periods.

As was the case for the woman in the show (I think I saw the same show). She was large, but more importantly:[list]
[li]She had been on injectable contraceptives (doctor figured she became pregnant shortly after the first injection.[/li][li]She had an apparent menses two months prior to delivery.[/li][li]She did not feel the baby move (unlike her two previous pregnancies).[/li]
Weight gain is so variable - my own mother gained only 10 lbs with me and even on her slim frame, she did not look “very” pregnant. I don’t recall the woman saying anything about weight gain and even if she noticed, given that she was on contraceptives, she did not attribute weight gain to pregnancy. Given all this (even apart from the contraceptives), it doesn’t surprise me that some women don’t realize they are pregnant until delivery, obese or not.

Alex, what is “two things I like to avoid at all costs”?

My mother actually lost weight during the early part of her second pregnancy (my younger sister). She was invited to some formal affair during that time and had to make herself a new long skirt because all the skirts she had were too loose. She started to gain the weight back late in the second trimester but I don’t think she ever got very far above her pre-pregnancy weight. I can see how another woman in my mother’s position might not have realized that she was pregnant, especially if she had irregular periods to begin with or continued to bleed during pregnancy. Even if other symptoms of pregnancy were present the weight loss might make many women (and maybe some doctors) think that there was another medical condition responsible for them.