What is psychological pregnancy and how to treat it?

There is an emotional disorder known as psychological pregnancy that usually appears in women with an intense desire to have children, although it has also occurred in women with a phobia of becoming pregnant. It manifests itself with the presence of all the symptoms of a real pregnancy, but no fetus grows in your uterus.

Pseudocyesis or psychological pregnancy is a somatoform disorder (from the Greek “soma” which means body), in which the body expresses through different manifestations those obsessions, concerns or problems of the mind. In the case of psychological pregnancy, this occurs when a woman who feels pregnant produces all the symptoms of pregnancy and really is not.

It is a strange syndrome in the branch of psychology, which has been studied by many specialists. It can be generated in very young women who are afraid of becoming pregnant, in those with an excessive desire to be pregnant, not being able to get pregnant or in those who are close to the menopause stage. 

What are the symptoms of psychological pregnancy?

It is possible that the woman who suffers from this psychological disorder presents the same symptoms of pregnancy in the first days of gestation, even when there is no baby in formation in the uterus, these being the following:

  • Amenorrhea or absence of menstruation.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Nausea and dizziness.
  • Breasts and belly grow.
  • Produces breast milk.
  • Cravings.
  • Sensation of fetal movements.

How to detect a psychological pregnancy?

To determine the existence of a psychological pregnancy in women, it is necessary to carry out real pregnancy tests, such as ovulation tests (here you can find some options to buy), blood test of the Beta HCG hormone or the tests that are sold in the pharmacy. All of these tests should be negative. But in any case, if the woman still has doubts about how to detect a pregnancy in these conditions, it is possible to perform an ultrasound so that she is convinced that there is no fetus in her uterus.

Psychological pregnancy and positive test

However, it could happen that the result of the pregnancy test is positive. This is because in some cases, there is an increase in the level of the hormone gonadotropin (which is the hormone of pregnancy) and for this reason pregnancy tests, both blood and urine, can give positive results. But ultrasound is the most reliable test to determine whether or not there is a fetus forming in the woman’s uterus. After establishing the non-existence of a baby, it is recommended that the woman receive psychological treatment to treat her problem.

Causes that cause a psychological pregnancy 

It is still not known exactly why these symptoms of a pregnant woman appear in those women with psychological pregnancy; however, the specialists who have been given the task of studying it explain that it is likely that the same psychological stimuli activate an increase in the production of hormones related to pregnancy, which causes the first symptoms of pregnancy to occur. In this sense, they relate this disorder to the following factors:

  • Couple problems. Some women consider that the solution to their marital problems is to have a child, considering that with this they will have the exclusive attention of their partners or would avoid a possible breakup of the bond.
  • Intense fear of getting pregnant. This is the case of young women or adolescents, who are beginning their sexual life, especially if they come from extremely conservative families, in which a pregnancy would be totally disapproved.
  • Desire to get pregnant. It is generated mainly in those women who have problems having children, either because they are in pre-menopausal stages, due to infertility, who have had recurrent abortions or loss of children.
  • Low self-esteem or depression. Some psychological conditions, determined by external factors in women, can generate low self-esteem, childhood and adolescence traumas trigger depression, so a vulnerable sexual life can contribute to the desire to have a baby.

According to specialists, the factors listed above could lead a woman to the somatization of the physical symptoms of a pregnancy , because her mind is convinced of the existence of a baby in her body.

How to treat a woman who has a psychological pregnancy?

The treatment to deal with this psychological condition is carried out with the following strategies:

  • Control of anxiety and the exaggerated desire to get pregnant. This is because anxiety about having a child is one of the first reasons that psychological pregnancy produces, either due to the woman’s own desire or due to family and society pressures. To control anxiety, it is recommended to visit a psychologist who could help you through therapy sessions for self-control of this problem. If the case is very serious, you could also see a psychiatrist to prescribe some medical treatment to control anxiety.
  • Solve couple problems. It is important that you learn to love yourself, resolve problems with your partner and leave the past behind can help you control your insecurities, fear of abandonment or separation. Keep in mind that a child is not going to solve the problem of love in your partner, nor can it be the reason to maintain a relationship.
  • Psychological therapy. In any case, in the presence of a psychological pregnancy already verified through the negative results of the pregnancy tests,  it is necessary for the woman to go to psychological therapy, so that the specialist, through his sessions, makes her understand her problem and help her determine the reasons why her mind turned to psychological pregnancy. In this way, the woman will be able to deal with that situation and cope with it, so that she can move forward and be happy.
  • Medical treatments for infertility and early menopause. In the case of those women who present problems of infertility or early menopause and who therefore experience a fictitious pregnancy, it is advisable to visit a gynecologist so that they achieve an effective treatment, depending on the case of their problem, which can be some therapy hormonal.

We hope that after all this explanation you have no doubts about this strange disorder that can affect any woman, because you already know its possible causes and the treatment that could be given to this condition. 

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