Woman with 'tummy ache' only discovers she'd given birth after seeing two feet in toilet

Stock image baby feet; woman holding toilet paper
After feeling unwell, Lucy Jones put the sickness down to period pains - but there was a different unexpected arrival in store. Photo credit: Getty Images

A trainee flight attendant suffering from stomach pain only discovered she had been pregnant - and had actually given birth - when she spotted two feet in the toilet bowl.

Lucy Jones, a cabin crew member from Bristol, England, dismissed the pain as menstrual cramps when she began to feel unwell in March. The next morning, however, the 22-year-old had given birth - to a baby she didn't even know she was carrying. 

As reported by the Mirror, Jones had been in bed when her stomach suddenly "flipped". Dashing to the bathroom, believing it was a sudden urge to go to the toilet, Jones heard a loud thump - and saw a newborn baby in the bowl.

Speaking to Kennedy News and Media, the first-time mum claimed she had no clue she was expecting, had experienced no symptoms throughout the nine-month period, and still had her monthly menstrual cycle. She also continued to take her contraceptive pill daily. 

The now full-time mum-of-one said she worked 70-hour weeks, drank often and went clubbing a number of times throughout her pregnancy - including just three days before her new arrival.

Despite her now four-month-old daughter Ruby "magically arriving" unannounced, Jones said she's enjoying motherhood and has adapted well to the sudden change in lifestyle.

"I had no bump, no sickness and had a period every month," Jones said, as reported by the Mirror

"I was still taking the pill. I took it every day and had been on it for six or seven years. I went up one dress size after Christmas and then I went back down again - I put that down to eating and drinking a lot."

In order to obtain her 'fit to fly' certificate, which she received the month before she gave birth, Jones had even undergone a medical examination during her third trimester - however, the doctor hadn't picked up on her pregnancy.

"I did a week's training [for cabin crew], came home for two days, and that's when she magically arrived," Jones said. 

"I had tummy and back ache the night before but I was due my period at the end of the week, so I just put it down to that. 

"I was in bed for about 45 minutes and it felt like my stomach flipped, it's the only way I can describe it, and I just felt like I needed a poo. I ran to the toilet and gave birth to my daughter in the toilet at home by myself. I heard a crash and looked down and there were two feet sticking out of the toilet.

"I didn't have any pain. No one could believe that. I had my back ache and tummy ache but there wasn't actually any pain when I was physically [giving birth]."

Jones said she wrapped her newborn daughter in a towel before placing her in the sink. She then called her father to report the shocking turn of events, and her parents arrived around 10 minutes later.

"I had no idea I was pregnant until I saw the baby in the toilet. I was hysterically screaming, saying 'there's a baby', and they were expecting there to be a miscarriage - not a full-sized seven-pound baby in their kitchen sink."

Jones admitted she had been "terrified" by the surprise delivery and was "numb" from shock. Her parents called for an ambulance and the 22-year-old and her child were rushed to hospital.

"Dad described the kitchen - it just looked like a murder scene."

Jones acknowledged it took a few days to come to terms with her daughter's unannounced arrival, but about five days later, reality hit. 

"Even now as a family, we still can't get our heads around what happened… it's one of the stories that you read about, but you never think it would be you."

What are cryptic pregnancies?

'Cryptic pregnancy' is a phenomenon in which a woman falls pregnant, but doesn't know she is expecting until very late into the pregnancy - or even at the time of birth.

In an article for The Conversation, Helen Cheyne - a Royal College of Midwives Professor of Midwifery Research at the University of Stirling - noted that despite cryptic pregnancies sounding almost farcical, they're not particularly rare. They are estimated to occur in around one in 2500 cases, suggesting around 320 cases in the UK annually.

"In these cases, women lack all awareness of pregnancy and report experiencing few, if any, of the common symptoms," Prof Cheyne said.

"'Menstrual–like' bleeding during pregnancy (any pregnant woman who experiences any vaginal bleeding should seek medical attention) is reported, although not explained, in around 1 percent of women.

"Morning sickness, the most common pregnancy symptom portrayed in the media and drama, is experienced by around 70 percent of pregnant women but varies widely in severity and duration and may again be attributed to numerous other causes."

Various physiological or psychological theories have been suggested to explain cryptic pregnancy. While it may occur more commonly in women who have a co-existing mental health condition, Cheyne noted, many cases occur in women who have no evidence of underlying mental health problems and its cause remains unknown.

"There are many uncertainties surrounding childbirth and even today many, superficially straightforward, aspects of pregnancy and birth remain poorly understood. While we may continue to read these news reports with some disbelief, we must ensure that we respect and protect the women behind these tales of the unexpected."