Psychological Pregnancy - Pseudopregnancy

The pseudopregnancy, popularly known as psychological or false pregnancy pregnancy is a rare syndrome in which a woman who is not pregnant, not only firmly believes he is expecting a baby, and starts to present typical symptoms of pregnancy, including absence of menstruation and increased abdominal volume.


Psychological pregnancy incidence in the population

Psychological pregnancy is a condition that affects women of all ethnic groups, regions and social levels. The pseudopregnancy is more common in married women aged 20 to 40 years, but there are reports of false pregnancy in children and in older women, even after menopause.

Psychological pregnancy is a subject extensively explored in films, novels and books, but its real incidence is very low. Only 1 in 22,000 pregnancies is false, that is, only 0.005% of pregnant women are actually pseudopregnancy.

Causes of pseudopregnancy

The pseudopregnancy is a syndrome already known for centuries. Its incidence has been higher, but it is believed that the change of women's role in society has been responsible for the decline in the occurrence of psychological pregnancy. For many centuries the woman was only seen in the role of mother, considered useless if it were not able to generate a family. Currently, women have other responsibilities and concerns as well as being mothers. In addition, technological advances allow many women with fertility problems are able to become pregnant, reducing cases of infertile women who can not have children.

The pseudopregnancy seems to be due to stimulation of the neuroendocrine system caused by psychological factors. stress cases, anxiety and / or severe social / family pressure could act on the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian axis, deregulating hormone production, leading to symptoms similar to those of pregnancy, such as missed periods, nausea and breast augmentation.

Among the situations that have been identified as triggers for psychological pregnancies, we include:
  • Find that the husband will drop it if you can not have a child.
  • Loneliness.
  • Depression.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Intense family pressure for a pregnancy.
  • Fear of becoming pregnant.
  • Sexual abuse during childhood.
  • To be going by great emotional stress.
  • Infertility in women who long to become pregnant.
  • Occurrence of miscarriages in women who do not yet have children (and wants to have them).
  • Being close to menopause and still want to have children.
  • Having a personality that does not deal well with criticism or undesirable events.

To be pseudopregnancy the patient has to really believe that you are pregnant. People who pretend a pregnancy intentionally fall outside this framework.

Symptoms of psychological pregnancy

The psychological pregnancy, in some cases, can be an impressive situation with multiple symptoms of a real pregnancy.

Among the symptoms of pregnancy that pseudopregnancy can produce are:
  • Increased abdominal volume
  • Morning Sickness
  • No monthly bleeding
  • Breast Enhancement
  • Milk production
  • Feeling fetal movements
  • Weight gain

There are cases, even of women who come to the emergency room with symptoms of labor.

The pseudopregnancy usually lasts a few weeks, but there are cases that persist for months or years. In some women, the symptoms desparecem after they come into "labor". Women feel terrible pain, as if estivem giving birth, and then improve the picture. They do not always understand what happened. It is common to hear the patient say we had an abortion or that the child was taken away by God.

The psychological pregnancy may precede pearance of any other psychiatric illness such as depression or psychosis.

Diagnosis of psychological pregnancy

In many women, the psychological pregnancy only presents a unique difference from the actual pregnancies: the lack of a fetus in the womb. All women with symptoms of pregnancy should have a pregnancy test that is the dosage of bhCG, a hormone produced by the placenta during pregnancy. As might be expected, women with pseudopregnancy not produce bhCG and pregnancy tests are negative.

Another test that can be done is the abdominal ultrasound that will show an empty uterus, proving that there is no ongoing pregnancy. In women with breast for milk secretion is important to rule out the presence of prolactinoma, a tumor of the pituitary gland that stimulates the production of prolactin, a hormone responsible for milk production.

Treatment of pseudopregnancy

In general, it is not easy to convince a woman who for months you think you're pregnant, that she has is an illusion, it was all set up by his head. Often pseudopregnancy the exhaust valve is that the brain found to deal with the psychological adversities. There is no established treatment for psychological pregnancy.

Usually, we recommend follow up with a psychiatrist, even in cases where the symptoms disappear spontaneously.

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