How can a woman not know she’s pregnant? Surprise births rare, but do happen

WATCH: There are many ways to make an entrance, but the baby of a Canadian couple surprised everyone — including her parents. The baby made her first appearance at 36,000 feet, on board a flight from Calgary to Japan. Mike Drolet has the story.

She put on weight, took a pregnancy test that came back negative and even saw a doctor before her trip. While en route to Japan, a Canadian woman went into labour over the Pacific Ocean on Sunday, giving birth to a baby girl.

New parents, Ada Guan and Wesley Branch, were dating for about a year. The Victoria, B.C., couple welcomed their daughter, Chloe, on board an Air Canada flight headed to Tokyo.

READ MORE: Canadian woman gives birth on Air Canada flight from Calgary to Japan

“She told me, ‘Something fell out of me.’ I lifted up her pants and I saw a head and then I heard, ‘Wah,’” Branch told Global News.

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“I thought, ‘Oh my god, I think we have a kid,’” he said.

Baby Chloe was born to Canadian couple Ada Guan and Wesley Branch on an Air Canada flight Sunday, May 10, 2015. Handout

Guan was 37 weeks pregnant, nearly full-term. She gained a bit of weight a few months ago, took a pregnancy test and even consulted with a doctor before their flight, the couple said.

Surprise pregnancies have been immortalized on reality TV shows like I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant, in which new moms recount their stories of giving birth. It lasted for four seasons.

Dr. Doug Wilson, a University of Calgary department head of obstetrics and gynecology, said that these surprise births are a rarity, though.

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“The vast majority of women will have early nausea, will have breast tenderness and things like that and also missing a period,” he told Global News.

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“Sometimes if you don’t think it can happen to you, you’re going to deny some of those very normal symptoms and put them down to indigestion, or the flu, or one of those types of things,” he explained.

A 2002 German study had researchers scour through hospital data in Berlin to find that in a single year, 25 women had pregnancies “diagnosed” while they were in labour.

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“Deliveries in which the woman has not been aware of her pregnancy until going into labour occur about three times more often than triplets,” the paper read.

WATCH BELOW: In light of a Canadian woman giving birth on a plane en route to Japan claiming she had no idea she was pregnant, a medical expert weighs in on whether it’s possible to be completely caught by surprise. Cindy Pom reports.

University of Ottawa data suggests that a “substantial proportion” of pregnancies are unplanned.

“It seems likely that perhaps 40 per cent of all pregnancies in Canada are unplanned. Of these, about half are carried to term,” the university says.

In another instance last fall, an Iowa woman walked into a clinic with stomach pains – turns out, she was six months pregnant with high-risk twins.

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She delivered the babies via Caesarian section just hours after heading into the emergency room.

READ MORE: Woman with stomach pains told she’s six months pregnant, gives birth to rare twins

In January, a Massachusetts woman who thought she put on holiday weight ended up giving birth to a 10-pound baby just an hour after learning she was pregnant.

“We do about 3,500 births a year and we probably see this a few times a year,” Dr. Kim Dever, of the South Shore Hospital told CBS Boston.

“Very often, especially in your first pregnancy you’re really not aware of what you’re feeling and we often have women joke and say they’re feeling gas pains or they can attribute it to other natural conditions,” Dever said.

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READ MORE: Woman delivers 10-lb baby 1 hour after learning she’s pregnant

The concern with surprise pregnancies is that moms aren’t preparing themselves or their unborn child with appropriate nutrition and folic acid.

“You might not be eating properly; some women may smoke, some may take alcohol or other forms of over the counter medication that could have some potential risks,” Wilson said.

-With files from Carmen Chai, John Hadden and Heather Yourex

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