BMJ Case Reports 2014; doi:10.1136/bcr-2014-204800

Not your average birth: considering the possibility of denied or concealed pregnancy

  1. Nicola Long2
  1. 1Peninsula Medical School, Torquay, UK
  2. 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Torbay Hospital, Torquay, UK
  1. Correspondence to Kathryn Stammers, kathryn.stammers{at}
  • Accepted 9 May 2014
  • Published 29 May 2014


A 23-year-old woman presented to the emergency department (ED) with a 3-day history of lower back pain. She had seen her general practitioner 2 days previously who prescribed trimethoprim for a confirmed urinary tract infection. Routine admission observations showed she was tachycardic, tachypnoeic and slightly hypotensive but non-feverish with normal oxygen saturations. Her urine sample revealed that she was pregnant but was otherwise negative. The patient maintained that she was unaware she was pregnant. She was reviewed by an ED staff grade who was suspicious of a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. She was subsequently referred to the obstetrics and gynaecology registrar who on examination found she had a gravid uterus and vaginal examination revealed that her cervix was 8 cm dilated. The patient was very promptly admitted onto the labour ward for further assessment. She gave birth to a live male infant in the early hours of the next morning.

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