Cryptic pregnancy: Aussie woman's shock after going into labour without knowing she was pregnant

Ashley Wilson and her newborn daughter
The new mum is taking to motherhood, despite not having the usual nine months' preparation. Photo credit: Ash Wilson, Facebook / 7 News

An Australian woman who gave birth to her first child earlier this month has revealed she had no clue she was pregnant before her daughter's unexpected arrival.

Ashlee Wilson, a 34-year-old truck driver from Perth, said she had "no idea what was happening" when she suddenly went into labour on May 6, 2023.

Speaking to, Wilson said in the nine months leading up to her daughter's birth, she noticed she was no longer menstruating and felt a bit "bloated", but didn't take much notice of her symptoms. She put it down to weight gain and perhaps the beginnings of perimenopause. 

Now with a three-week-old daughter Marley-Rae, Wilson and her partner Justin, 32, are navigating their new life as a family-of-three - without the nine months' warning that typically comes before parenthood. 

"I honestly had no idea I was pregnant. It was a big surprise," the new mum told

"Looking back, there were clues. My ankles would randomly swell and I felt some movement in my stomach, but I thought it was my body rejecting foods I was eating.

"I was bloated, but thought it was just some weight gain. Then of course my period stopped, but I honestly assumed I was going through menopause. I didn't know much about menopause… I also got hot flushes, so my mind was like, 'Oh cool, no more periods, it's just menopause'.

"I had no idea what was coming. The whole thing was crazy."

Ashlee Wilson and her newborn
Now with a three-week-old daughter Marley-Rae, Wilson and her partner Justin, 32, are navigating their new life as a family-of-three. Photo credit: Ash Wilson, Facebook

As a happy coincidence, Wilson said she had given up alcohol and barely drank throughout her pregnancy, aside from one night out in September - about a month after her daughter would have been unexpectedly conceived. 

On May 5, the day before Wilson gave birth, she said she felt extremely ill - so much so, she believed she was dying. Unbeknownst to the 34-year-old, the severe pain and cramps she was experiencing were her going into labour. 

"I had been working doing deliveries. I started to feel uneasy and around 5pm I was getting really bad cramps and pain," she told "I had no idea what was happening. At 2am the next morning, I thought I was dying. I was screaming from the pain. At 4am I finally called the ambulance."

It was then that Wilson received the life-changing diagnosis: she was mere moments away from giving birth. 

A healthy Marley-Rae was born a short while later at 5:26am, May 6 at the couple's home in Perth. 

"I was in shock when I was told I was in labour," Wilson said. "I kept saying there was no way I could be pregnant. Then when they [put] my daughter to my chest I just thought, 'Oh my God, it's a bloody baby!'

"My mind was scrambling at the fact that for nine months I didn't know this little soul was inside me. Processing [her birth] took a lot of time and it took me a few days to adjust to motherhood. But now it feels so natural."

Wilson said her family and friends took the staggering news in their stride, and while she and Marley-Rae were in hospital, her loved ones rallied together to ensure she and Justin had everything they needed to raise their surprise bundle of joy - from a bassinet to a changing table to clothes and nappies. 

Despite the extraordinary circumstances, Wilson told the outlet she has embraced her new life with open arms, with both herself and Justin quickly taking to parenthood. 

"She has lit up my life… I wouldn't have it any other way," Wilson said. "I cannot wait to tell her the story of how she came into the world one day."

Ashlee Wilson, Marley-Rae and St John paramedic Mel Gardiner.
Ashlee Wilson, Marley-Rae and St John paramedic Mel Gardiner. Photo credit: 7 News

Although it's uncommon, Wilson is far from the first woman to give birth without knowing she was pregnant. The phenomenon, known as a 'cryptic' or 'stealth' pregnancy, is when a pregnant person doesn't know they're pregnant. In some cases, like Wilson's, they won't realise until they're in labour or have actually given birth: in other instances, the person will realise about five months into the pregnancy. 

According to reports, the phenomenon is quite rare - around one in 500 people will make it to 20 weeks before realising; one in 2500, like Wilson, won't discover they are pregnant until going into labour. 

According to the Cleveland Clinic, a person can unknowingly carry their child due to several reasons, such as little to no symptoms, mistaking symptoms for a virus, or their pregnancy test returning an incorrect result. 

Other examples of people who experience cryptic pregnancies are those who use birth control, leading them to believe they cannot conceive, or who have recently given birth and become fertile again, unbenownst to them. Others may have dismissed common symptoms, thinking implantation bleeding or abnormal bleeding throughout pregnancy was their period, or if the woman had irregular periods, they may not have even realised they had missed several bleeds.