In terms of people with Talent detecting pregnancy: I would think that Talents are more concerned with a "conscious" mind. Now, correct me if I'm wrong because I haven't refreshed myself on the series yet, but I think with farseekers, they can't detect each other if they are unconscious or sleeping. I would argue that unborn babies do not necessarily have consciousness. In which case it would make sense that the baby would remain undetected. I would also suggest that perhaps if the mother is talented, that talent would possibly shield the child. Healers would be the only exception but I cannot really remember how they're talent works.
Good point re the conscious vs subconscious. The healing talent uses deep-probing, the same as coercing (Elspeth says in Farseekrs), which I think means bypassing the conscious mind and into the subconscious to do whatever needs doing. I don't think any of their number has proper healing ability...but Elspeth would detect any pregnancy if she were to have to coerce a pregnant woman...unless yes, the foetus was considered 'sleeping', and its mind unreachable...[act]ponders[/act] this is all really interesting speculation...
Another thought re reasons Elspeth probably isn't pregnant; with the Agyllian's healing gift, a zygote might be considered a parasite...
What do we mean by conscious in this context? Do we mean the opposite of unconscious or do we mean self aware?
I think I read somewhere that fetuses have sleep patterns towards the end of pregnancy, so if a fetus developed a mind, I would be the opposite of unconscious while awake, but I don't know if it would be self aware or not. However, Lidge baby was able to use their talent from birth, so I think it's possible that whichever definition of consciousness is used for the conscious/subconscious dichotomy in the oberchron would be developed in utero. We could argue that Lidge didn't exhibit talent while in the womb, but we could equally argue that Lidge had no need to. Being born is probably really scary and Lidge's enslavement of Gillaine, Daffyd and the others was probably a response to this; I mean, Lidge left Elspeth, Kella and Jik alone, which you wouldn't expect if Lidge was just capturing any other talented misfit in the area.
I think the next question is though, if we assume that a human fetus would
develop a mind that could be detected in utero, when would it become detectable? I read that a fetus's brain start's emitting electrical signals at ~12 weeks and brain waves become a thing at ~24 weeks. I also read that self awareness is developed sometime after birth, as all human babies are technically premmy babies, but I think that this is still under debate. I think brainwaves would be needed to have a detectable mind, but then the "signature characteristic" of a misfit baby is apparently static and we don't really know why/what the static is caused by. Possibly the static is what a misfit mind looks like between developing opposite-of-unconscious consciousness and developing self awareness, in which case you might expect to start seeing it after 24 weeks, but that might be completely wrong, you might start to see static at 12 weeks when the brain first starts functioning, I have no idea.
I think that a fetus in the oberchron probably would develop a detectable mind at some point after 24 weeks, but depending on what static is, a misfit fetus might be detectable earlier based on static. Based on this, I think a midwife would still identify a pregnancy before a misfit who was not also a qualified midwife. Also, 12 weeks is about 3 months and I don't think they've been on the road that long? So if Elf was pregnant and we assume that she would be able to detect it's mind and/or static, probably wouldn't happen for a little while longer?Disclaimer:
This post is complete speculation and is intended to be considered only within the fictional reality of the chronicles of obernewtyn. This does not reflect my views on the consciousness or otherwise of actual human fetuses and babies.