What Is Psychological Pregnancy And When Does It Occur

Psychological pregnancy, or pseudocyesis, is a psychological disorder that can affect women, regardless of their marital status or mental health.

Have you heard of pseudocyesis , also called psychological pregnancyIt is a psychological disorder that can appear, generally, in women between 20 and 40 years old, although there are cases of menopausal girls and women with this problem.

Discover in the following lines what is psychological pregnancy, why it occurs and everything you need to know. Do not lose detail.

What is psychological pregnancy?

Psychological pregnancy

Pseudociesis is the medical term for a false pregnancy, that is, the conviction of a woman that she is carrying a baby when in fact she is not. But what exactly is a psychological pregnancy?

This disorder, also called Rapunzel Syndrome, is not simply a thought or a feeling, it is the true conviction of being pregnant that is evident not only on an emotional level, but also on a physical level. In other words, the body acts as if a fetus actually existed. And this is evidenced by this research carried out by Dr. Ana Cecilia Márquez.

Causes that lead to a false pregnancy

Woman with depression in bed

The etiology of psychological pregnancy is still not entirely clear, however, the vast majority of causal theories accepted at the moment highlight a correlation between psychological factors, such as an intense desire or fear of pregnancy, a misperception of the symptoms of pregnancy and a depressive disorder, and the reproductive system. And this is evidenced by this research published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry .

However, other psychological factors that influence the development of this psychological disorder may be the following:

  • Feeling of loneliness and desire to be a mother.
  • Acute depression
  • Low self – esteem.
  • Belief that “without a child, her husband or partner will abandon her.”
  • Social pressure to get pregnant.
  • Extreme fear of getting pregnant
  • Situations of sexual abuse in childhood or adolescence.
  • Emotional stress
  • Infertility.
  • Having experienced one or more miscarriages or having suffered the death of a child.
  • Approaching menopause and desire to have children.

Symptoms and diagnosis of pseudocyesis

Nausea in pregnancy

The incidence of utopian pregnancy in the population is low. It is estimated that 1 in 22,000 pregnancies is psychological. Now, let’s discover together the symptoms of this disorder according to this information from the American Pregnancy Association :

  • Absence of menstruation: the hormones LH and FSH decrease, in such a way that the woman does not ovulate and, therefore, the menstrual cycle “freezes”.
  • Appearance of tiredness.
  • Feeling of nausea and even vomiting : this is due to an increase in prolactin and progesterone.
  • Breast enlargement and tenderness.
  • Growth of the abdomen.
  • Fetal movement sensation in the womb.
  • Milk production.
  • Contractions: if the disorder is not treated, the pregnancy, even if it is false, will continue its course, including the growth of the belly, the sensation of “the kicks” of the baby and the labor pains.

As you can see, the mind influences the body and generates an organic or psychosomatic response in which hormones are altered and symptoms similar to those of an ongoing pregnancy appear. For this reason, to make a diagnosis, the most advisable and necessary thing is to carry out the following procedure:

  1. Conduct an examination of the woman.
  2. Order a lab test : A urine or blood test will show the dosage level of the hormone hCG (the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin). When the test is negative, the presence of a utopian pregnancy is evidenced.
  3. Ultrasound : the absence of a fetus in the uterus makes the diagnosis obvious. The woman suffers from a psychological disorder that needs to be treated as soon as possible.

If the woman produces milk, it would be necessary to carry out tests to rule out the presence of a prolactinoma, that is, a tumor in the pituitary gland that could be stimulating prolactin, the hormone responsible for milk production.

Treatment of psychological pregnancy

Psychological treatment

The doctor will indicate the most appropriate treatment according to the physical and emotional condition of the woman. As a general rule, psychological consultation is recommended, since it is a disorder with psychosomatic origin.

The woman’s mind has sought an escape valve from her worries, therefore, it is necessary to treat her psychologically to solve the physical symptoms.

In short, pseudocyesis is a psychological disorder that can generate shame in those who suffer from it. If this is your case, keep in mind that you are not guilty of what happens to you. Trust your doctor and family to get through the process.

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