When you think about a pregnancy, it’s a pretty straightforward process. Two gametes come together to form an egg, the egg gets implanted into the uterus, and then it grows for several months until delivery. While that description may seem like an oversimplified summary, that’s a pregnancy in a nutshell. No two pregnancies are the same and the ones on this list are far from common. From rare conditions to first-time occurrences, the pregnancy stories on this list are unlike any we’ve heard of. Here’s a list of the strangest ones we could find.
- The Oldest Mother in the World
Most women choose not to have children after 50, but medical advances including but not limited to in vitro fertilization and hormone therapy, have allowed people to continue having children well into their 60s. Although it is not common, there are a few people who are willing to have children beyond their 40s, as was the case for Omkari Panwar, who at 72 years old, gave birth to twins: a boy and a girl. With the help of in-vitro fertilization, Panwar and Charam Sing, her husband, added two additional children to their family, which already included two daughters and five grandchildren. The couple, in an attempt to have a son, went through the tedious process which nearly claimed Panwar’s life. She is now considered the oldest, (not our preferred choice of word) mother in the world.
- Double Pregnancy, Not Twins
Superfetation is a rare phenomenon whereby a second conception occurs during pregnancy, which results in embryos of different ages. There are some women who are born with more than one uterus – a condition called didelphys. Although it is highly unlikely that women with didelphys become pregnant in both uteri in a short time period, it happens, as Angie Cromar will tell you. In 2010, she gave birth to two children at once, who were not twins. They developed in different uteri, the clear distinction from twins who all develop in the same uterus. The odds of this happening is one in five million.
- Successful Nonuplets
In 2009, a woman named Nadya Denise Suleman, nicknamed Octomom, became famous for successfully giving birth to octuplets – eight children. Not only did she become a reality TV star, but she also became a Guinness World Record holder because of it. In 2021, a Malian woman named Halima Cissé took the title from Suleman when she gave birth to nine babies all of whom survived thanks to a team of 10 doctors and 25 paramedics assisting with the delivery. The children all weighed between 1.1 and 2.2 pounds, so they had to spend the first few months in an incubator.
- The Surprise Pregnancy
A surprise birth, cryptic pregnancy or stealth pregnancy is one where conventional medical tests often fail to detect a pregnancy. Additionally, most women are unaware that they are pregnant typically until halfway through the process. In April 2021, Massachusetts native Mellisa Surgecoff was experiencing terrible pain, so she decided to sit on the toilet to get rid of what she thought was a kidney stone. When she looked down, baby Liam made his presence known. Her fiancé took their new baby to the hospital where tests confirmed that he was healthy. These types of pregnancies can be problematic for several reasons, as mothers often miss appointments, milestones, and necessary prenatal care, but things had a happy ending for the Surgecoff family.
- The Longest Pregnancy
It’s not an uncommon thing for a baby to miss its due date. According to BBC News, only about 4% of babies arrive on their due date. Most pregnancies usually last about 9 months or 280 days, but California resident Beulah Hunter had a much longer experience. In 1945, Hunter gave birth to a healthy 7-pound daughter who she named Penny Diana, but her journey into the world was far from normal. According to her reports, Hunter was pregnant for a year and 10 days – 100 days longer than the average pregnancy, making her a medical marvel. Hunter’s pregnancy was so long that it broke the 70-year-old record of 58 days past the due date.