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False pregnancy

According to Wikipedia false pregnancy, most commonly termed pseudocyesis in humans and pseudopregnancy in other mammals, is the appearance of clinical and/or sub-clinical signs and symptoms associated with pregnancy when the person or animal is not pregnant. Clinically, false pregnancy (pseudopregnancy) is most common in veterinary medicine (particularly in dogs and mice). False pregnancy in humans is less common, and may sometimes be purely psychological.

Pseudopregnancy is a rare condition that is nonetheless a serious emotional and psychological condition in women. What is false pregnancy? What are its causes and symptoms? What women are most at risk for false pregnancy and what kind of diagnostic and treatment options are available for women who suffer from false pregnancy?

What is False Pregnancy

Pseudopregnancy (so called Pseudocyesis) is a condition in which a non-pregnant woman believes that she is pregnant, even though there is no physical evidence of pregnancy.

Also referred to as pseudo-pregnancy, women with pseudocyesis will often experience real pregnancy symptoms.

Pseudocyesis occurs in one to six of every 22 000 births in the United States.

False Pregnancy Causes

Although this condition has yet to be fully explained, experts believe that there is a strong emotional and psychological underpinning pseudopregnancy.

Psychologists believe that women who experience pseudopregnancy have an extremely strong desire to become pregnant and experience all stages of pregnancy. Women who have pseudopregnancy tend to experience false pregnancy symptoms around the same time that their relatives and/or girlfriends and/or competitors are experiencing pregnancy.

Research has also linked false pregnancy to the pituitary gland (which is the center of hormone production during pregnancy) and specifically, to an unusually high level of hormones. This hormone imbalance is often sparked by stress and anxiety, which in turn causes the emotional and psychological shifts that lead a woman to falsely believe she is expecting.

False Pregnancy Symptoms

False pregnancy

Women with pseudopregnancy will claim to have—and in some cases, actually exhibit—the following true pregnancy symptoms:

  • Missed periods,
  • Toxicosis,
  • Regular morning sickness,
  • Cravings,
  • Bent for to certain products,
  • Widening of the abdomen,
  • Enlargement of the breasts.

Experts are unsure as to why women experiencing pseudo-pregnancy sometimes exhibit true physical signs of pregnancy.

How to know if pregnancy is False

ONE – pregnancy tests are negative in most cases (urine tests, blood tests); sometimes could be false positive tests which always confuse doctors and clients.

TWO – ultrasound analysis could see normal size of uterus, which is “empty” (without any pregnancy inside!);

THREE – if woman keep false pregnancy long – up to expected “delivery period” – baby never can be discovered.

Risk group for false pregnancy

Women who are most at risk for pseudopregnancy are:

  • women in their late thirties or early forties, who have been trying to conceive for many years and who may have fertility problems;
  • women who are not generally emotionally unstable but who are extremely emotional with regard to pregnancy;
  • women who have suffered a miscarriage or who have lost a child.


Pseudopregnancy – What to do

For women experiencing pseudopregnancy the special counseling is recommended in order to treat underlying emotional and psychological causes of false pregnancy, including stress, anxiety and depression. Stress management tools are strongly recommended.

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