She Gave Birth on an Airplane Without Knowing She Was Pregnant, ‘Cryptic Pregnancy’ Is Real

May 12, 2015 Updated: May 13, 2015

It turns out that the Canadian woman who gave birth over the Pacific Ocean on a Tokyo-bound flight from Calgary on Mother’s Day, didn’t even know she was pregnant, reported Global News.

Ada Guan, 23, was 37 weeks pregnant, but boyfriend Wesley Branch told the Canadian news outlet they had no idea. A pregnancy test had come back negative and even after a doctor’s visit nothing was confirmed. 

Labor on the plane started with Guan saying she had an upset stomach.

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

“I thought, ‘Oh my god, I think we have a kid,'” Branch told Global. They named her Choloe.

Fortunately, there was a doctor on board Air Canada Flight 009 who helped deliver the healthy baby girl.

Air traffic control at Narita International cleared the flight for an early landing, about 30 minutes ahead of schedule, and mom and baby were whisked to hospital where all was reported well, AFP reported.

Branch and Ada Guan have been dating for about a year.

Air Canada tweeted out a video of a Japanese news report of the birth—which appropriately, happened on Mother’s Day. 

Cryptic Pregnancy

While many women who have been through pregnancy find it hard to believe, the phenomenon of being unaware of being pregnant is more common than we might think.

The official term is called “cryptic pregnancy,” and it refers to a woman not knowing she’s pregnant until the 20th week (about half way to term). This happens in one out of every 475 pregnancies, according to one study cited in Cases like Guan’s, where she didn’t know she was pregnant until labor, happens in one out of every 7,225 births.

It is also not uncommon for a pregnancy test to come back negative and for doctors to miss a cryptic, or stealth, pregnancy. Sometimes the mother-to-be senses she’s pregnant, but when it isn’t detected medically she’s left in a confused or distressed state. For this reason, cryptic pregnancies used to be called “denied pregnancy.”

One website devoted to helping such women,, offers this advice:

“Please do not feel like you have to prove your pregnancy to the medical field. This can be a unkind path to progress down. They can ask for mental evaluations and depending on which country you are in the implications are different.”

Other recent inflight births include a baby boy born in March aboard a Qatar Airways flight. The pilot had to make an emergency landing in Newfoundland, Canada a few hours after take-off from Miami.

In January, a baby girl was born on a New York-bound flight from Amman, Jordan. The Royal Jordanian pilot said he was planning to make an emergency landing in Canada, but decided to carry on to New York after he was told the birth was problem-free, Emirates24 reported.