False pregnancy: Feeling pregnant without really being pregnant

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False pregnancy: Feeling pregnant without really being pregnant
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Although pregnancy denial is when there is a total absence of pregnancy symptoms while in fact you are pregnant, a false or imagined pregnancy is the exact opposite.  When a woman has a false pregnancy her body displays all the usual symptoms although there is no fetus developing inside her womb.  This psychological illness can be caused by a fear of being pregnant or, in complete contrast, the excessive desire to have a child.  

What causes a false pregnancy to develop?

False pregnancies are more common with younger or older women.  In other words it often affects the two categories of women where pregnancy is often thought of as a risk or could be frightening.  A false pregnancy is a pyschosomatic disorder in which the person affected develops all the usual pregnancy symptoms although they are not actually pregnant.  This illness can be caused by different psychological states:

  • A previous trauma
  • A panicky fear of pregnancy
  • An obsessive desire to have a child

Sometimes in certain instances a false pregnancy can be due to a hormonal imbalance.  Once the mind takes control of the person’s body, it affects different areas of their body.  The hypothalamus in the brain will encourage the ovaries to act as if the women is pregnant, so she will not have her period. As a result, it is very easy to think you’re pregnant.
The patient then enters a vicious circle where the body, under the orders of their unconscious mind, sends physiological messages that tell the woman that she is pregnant, while it is not the case.

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Symptoms produced by the body

A false pregnancy is a vicious illness. The symptoms exhibited by the body are very similar to those of a real pregnancy:

  • No periods;
  • Nausea and vomiting  – especially in the morning – ;
  • Weight gain ;
  • Food cravings for particular foods – ;
  • Swollen and sensitive breasts;
  • Lactating (sometimes);
  • Swollen stomach with the sensation that there is a baby moving;
  • Mood changes, irritability, increased sensitivity;

During a false pregnancy the symptoms are very similar to that of a real pregnancy.  Therefore you can also feel more sensitive to smell or even change your food desires.
The body sends all these signs until the conscious part of the sufferers mind starts to become convinced that they are pregnant.  The idea becomes really hard to break and the affected person enters into a form of delirium. As a result, it is difficult to make the person understand that they are not pregnant.

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Medicine and psychology

You should make an appointment with your doctor or gynecologist to cure you of this illness.  Only medical bodies can diagnose the lack of a fetus and therefore verify that the you are suffering from a false pregnancy.  The ways in which you can test if you are really pregnancy include:

  • A pregnancy test (no overly reliable)
  • Urine tests
  • Ultrasound;
  • Examination of the pelvic floor.

You should also undertake sessions with a mental health professional so that they can understand the cause of such an illness.  They can help you understand how a fear or a desire of having a child can trigger a false pregnancy.  What’s more, often a simple medical diagnosis is not enough to quieten these symptoms.  However psychological support can help.

Last words

Although your body can drain itself of it’s stress it is not easy to do.  This is why communication is crucial for curing this type of illness.  A conversion between you and your partner or even you and your body could be a great help.  Get back in touch with your feelings and emotions which were at the root of this false pregnancy.

Above all, take care of yourselves!

As an aside note:  In the animal world a false pregnancy is used to restart lactation.  However this is not all.  Men can also suffer from false pregnancies.  A man can through this pathological process, psychically support his partner’s pregnancy. However the symptoms cease during childbirth.


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