By gpointstudio/shutterstock

What is a Phantom Pregnancy?

by | January 8, 2019

Most women know their body so well that they can tell when they’re pregnant way before they can even take a test. What happens if there is, in fact, no baby on the way? In rare cases, a woman believes she is pregnant, only to learn that her symptoms were not caused by pregnancy, but by something else.

What is a Phantom Pregnancy?
By Gajus/shutterstock

You might also like:

What is a Phantom Pregnancy?

Phantom pregnancy, also known as false pregnancy and clinically termed pseudocyesis is the belief that you are carrying a child when you are not actually pregnant. People with pseudocyesis have many of the symptoms of pregnancy. Some men can also experience a phantom pregnancy; it’s known as couvade or sympathetic pregnancy. They will have many of the same symptoms as their pregnant partners, including weight gain and nausea.

According to Americanpregnancy.org these are the facts on
pseudocyesis.

What are the signs of phantom pregnancy?

A woman with a phantom pregnancy may experience many of the same symptoms as a pregnant woman, such as:

  • missed periods
  • sore and enlarged breasts that may produce milk.
  • nausea or morning sickness
  • leg cramps and backache
  • feeling of fetal movement
  • weight gain
  • swollen tummy
  • symptoms of preeclampsia or contractions

These symptoms can persist for a few weeks up to the full nine months of pregnancy, possibly even longer.

What causes phantom pregnancy?

Although pseudocyesis isn’t a condition with an easily identifiable cause, these are some of the physical and psychological issues that may cause a phantom pregnancy:

  • ovarian tumor
  • history of depression
  • infertility
  • past miscarriages
  • the loss of a child
  • past sexual abuse

How to treat phantom pregnancy

A doctor will take note of the symptoms and perform a pelvic exam, abdominal ultrasound, and urinalysis. If there is a tumor, it will be evaluated and treated accordingly. The patient may also be screened for a psychiatric disorder and neurological condition.

In most cases, emotional support and psychotherapy are the best ways to treat a phantom pregnancy.

SIGN UP TO THE EXCLUSIVE GROUP WITH REGISTERED DIETITIANS JUST ASK THE DIETITIAN

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:
Julie Nealon

Associate Editor, New York USA | Contactable via [email protected]

twitter

Comments

Leave a Comment