A sad woman staring at a pregnancy test

What is false pregnancy?

What is it? What are the signs? Is there treatment?

False pregnancy, medically known as pseudocyesis, occurs when a woman believes she is pregnant when she is not.

People with pseudocyesis have many, if not all, of the symptoms of pregnancy, except for carrying a real child. 

This condition is believed to be purely psychological (all in the mind) at most times. It usually occurs based on the belief and desire of a woman to be pregnant. This desire is so strong that she starts believing that she is actually pregnant.

The brain then misinterprets the signals as pregnancy and this may lead to the release of hormones that cause physical changes in her body, same as those that occur during an actual pregnancy.

What are the symptoms of false pregnancy?

False pregnancy is confusingly similar to a real pregnancy in every way except the absence of a baby. These symptoms can last for a few weeks or for the entire duration of a typical pregnancy which is 9 months

Some common signs include:

  • abdominal extension, similar to a baby bump.
  • morning sickness and vomiting
  • changes to the breasts, including size, tenderness, and pigmentation
  • weight gain
  • inverted bellybutton
  • increased appetite
  • enlargement of the uterus
  • softening of the cervix
  • labor pains and false labor

These symptoms can be quite convincing. 

Is there a treatment for false pregnancy?

The only way to bring false pregnancy to an end is by showing a woman proof that she is not pregnant through administering a pregnancy test or imaging techniques such as an ultrasound

Also, since this condition is believed to be purely psychological at times, they should be under the care of a psychiatrist or psychologist for treatment.

There is nothing to be ashamed of if you thought you were pregnant and experienced all the pregnancy symptoms only to find out that you are not. You might feel sad, angry, confused, emotionally crushed. All these feelings are normal reactions to this experience.

Remember, you are not alone.

You can call or SMS 1190 free of charge for counseling services.

Did you learn something new?

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