Woman claims she’s not aware of pregnancy after giving birth in toilet: Doctors react

A 34-YEAR-OLD woman, Marla McEntire, living in Georgia, has given birth to a baby in a toilet and claimed she was unaware of the child’s pregnancy.

Marla has been on birth control since she was 18.

The New York Post reports that she claimed to have taken labour pain for constipation on the day she gave birth and had rushed to the toilet five times.

Her fifth attempt to empty her bowel in the restroom allegedly brought her to a rude shock – a baby dropped from her into the toilet and had a larger part of his body covered with the toilet water.

“I have just had Atlas in the toilet, I looked down and saw that he’s alive, and I yelled for my dad. My dad came in there and helped me get the baby out of the toilet because, obviously, he was still attached at this point, and it was a little hard for me to get him out. 

“I looked down in the toilet, and he is in there with water up to his ears and right under his chin, just looking back up at me, like, ‘Are you going to get me out of here, mom?'”

Marla McEntire and her newborn
Photo credit: Daily Mail

The young mother said though she had loved having a baby, pregnancy and labour pain were her fear.

Marla argued that she had no sign of pregnancy for 40 weeks when the baby was in her womb – no kick, no sickness, and her belly button didn’t pop up, she claimed.

Speaking further, she said: “I just looked like maybe I ate a big burrito. If you saw my size and the way that I didn’t show, it’s astonishing how he could be in there and me not know it.”

At the early stage of the pregnancy, the woman had missed one period and went for a pregnancy test that turned out negative — her periods had come uninterruptedly after that.

Her father, Kevin, with whom she shares an apartment, immediately called 911 for advice after she gave birth. The mother and baby were taken to the hospital for checkups – and they have been fine.

Marla’s baby is a five-pound, 18-inch son – whom she named Atlas Cohen. 

But the happy mother has yet to ascertain the child’s paternity.

Daily Mail reports Marla taking to her Tiktok account at marlamactastic to narrate her story after the delivery. ‘I’m 34 years old, and I’ve never had a pregnancy scare before. 

“I got pregnant last May, and I never showed. My stomach was squishy, my belly button didn’t pop out, no morning sickness, and I never felt a kick – nothing.

“Around January, I started having some hip pain and some stomach issues. So I went to a chiropractor and went to a doctor, and no one caught the fact that there was a baby in there.”

Marla’s baby boy
Photo credit: Daily Mail

Speaking with The ICIR, a reproductive expert and former Country Director IPAS, Ejike Oji, said Marla’s claim could be true.

Oji, the chairman management committee of the Association for Family Planning and a senior special assistant to the Minister of FCT on Health and Hospital Management, however, put a caveat – there’s is a need to check Marla’s mental health status.

His words, “It is very rare (for a woman to be pregnant without knowing), but it is possible. You have to check the mental state of the woman. Most women don’t know they are pregnant until the pregnancy has advanced.”

The secretary of the Nigeria Medical Association (FCT chapter), Michael Olarewaju, a consultant obstetrician gynaecologist, holds a different opinion.

He told The ICIR that Marla’s claim is untrue.

“These are things we see daily, people coming to tell us they didn’t know they were pregnant. It is a lie. In one aspect, they could have wanted to dispose of the baby. 

“There was this one lady that delivered in a toilet. I was still at Maitama Hospital then. She allegedly delivered in a toilet in Maitama. They wanted to give the baby up for adoption, but along the line, she developed complications. She started bleeding so badly. They brought her to Maitama General Hospital. I was the doctor on call. When I saw her, she was a young girl, about 19 or so.

“I counselled her. Immediately I saw the lady; I knew that they wanted to put the baby up for adoption. I told her that if she had made any mistake about having the pregnancy, the best thing for her was to return to her parents. I advised her, and she gave me her mother’s number. Her mother was in Enugu. She said they had not seen the girl in six months. This is a girl who told me she was not sure she was pregnant.”

Olarewaju said when the lady discovered she was pregnant, she ran away from school. When she was about to deliver, she took a flight from Enugu to Abuja and gave birth soon after, probably because of the stress from the flight.

The doctor said the claim by women that they don’t know when they are pregnant was false.

According to him, there are many signs for women, including periods, baby kicking, and falling sick.

Another doctor, Nabila Abubakar, who works at the National Hospital, Abuja, said any woman’s claim that she doesn’t know she is pregnant till the point of delivery is likely untrue.

“This is highly improbable. There are uncountable symptoms to it, in addition to the lack of menstruation and hormonal changes,” the doctor stated.

Similarly, a consultant family physician, Safiya Ojo, who works at Cedarcrest Hospital, Abuja, said a woman couldn’t be pregnant for nine months without knowing.

She said there are hormonal changes when a woman is pregnant.



    “There are some things you feel were not there that will make you suspect you should go to the hospital and be diagnosed.”

    She listed nausea, vomiting, unusual eating pattern, and abdominal discomfort as some of the factors.

    “I’m sure the woman also menstruates. Didn’t she miss her period?”

    When told that Marla was on family planning, the doctor said for somebody to be pregnant for nine months, the abdomen will protrude, no matter how slim the person is.

    Marcus bears the light, and he beams it everywhere. He's a good governance and decent society advocate. He's The ICIR Reporter of the Year 2022 and has been the organisation's News Editor since September 2022. Contact him via email @ [email protected].

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