The psychological pregnancy , also known as Pseudocyesis, is a psychological disorder characterized by the belief that a person has to be on tape when in fact it is not. It is a response that the organism makes regarding an emotional state.
And this response of our body, as its name suggests, manifests itself through the symptoms that a totally normal pregnancy could contain.
In this article I will talk about this strange phenomenon, making a review about the symptoms, the causes and the treatment that can be done to remedy a psychological pregnancy, Continue reading if you are interested in the topic!
Characteristics of Psychological Pregnancy
You probably have doubts about whether this really exists or not, “This only happens to dogs” may have told you many people …. But no! Psychological pregnancy exists and happens to humans as well.
But beware: during the psychological pregnancy, the woman not only presents subtle symptoms, but she lives the belief of waiting for a baby in a totally real way, presenting the physical symptoms that she would present if she were really pregnant.
That is to say: women who suffer from pseudocytosis are so convinced of being pregnant that they have symptoms such as absence of menstruation and increased abdominal volume.
These changes that are experienced, evidently do not respond to an organic cause, since the person who suffers it is not pregnant, but psychological factors are causing these physical changes.
Put another way: the belief of being pregnant makes our brain activate those mechanisms necessary to create the symptoms of pregnancy.
And is that in cases of psychological pregnancy, the belief of waiting for a baby is so developed that the person who suffers is fully convinced of being pregnant, and our brain responds by activating the typical symptoms of this period.
Is it a psychosis?
The characteristics of the psychological pregnancy could make us think that the belief of being pregnant when it is not really indicates that the woman suffers some type of psychosis or delirium.
However, psychological pregnancy is not considered a psychotic disorder but a somatoform disorder.
And what are somatoform disorders?
They are a set of mental disorders that are characterized by the fact that the patient has physical complaints (pain or changes in their body) which do not obey any pathology or identifiable organic cause.
These physical complaints usually respond to some hidden emotional need, such as anguish, anxiety or lack of affection, since it is the psychological component that causes them.
Thus, pseudocytosis is a peculiar type of these disorders in which the symptoms of pregnancy are caused by some mental disorder, instead of by physical or organic causes.
Symptoms of psychological pregnancy
As we have already mentioned, the symptoms that can occur during psychological pregnancy are practically the same as those that occur during a normal pregnancy.
Let’s see them:
Menstruation disappears. In some cases it may not disappear completely, but the flow is drastically reduced, presenting what is known as amenorrhea.
The size of the breasts increases through the same hormonal changes that occur in this part of the body during pregnancy, to prepare the woman for breastfeeding.
In some cases, a woman’s breasts may secrete milk.
The pains in the breasts and surroundings are usually common, as well as the increase of the mammary halo.
The cervix softens as if it were preparing for childbirth.
The size of the abdomen increases as if an embryo were actually contained in the belly.
Increases the weight of the woman, more noticeably than in a normal pregnancy.
There are psychological and behavioral symptoms such as lack of sleep, increased appetite, cravings, anxiety or nausea.
These physical and psychological symptoms often have very negative effects on both the physical and psychological state of the woman.
Differences between psychological and normal pregnancy
The main difference will be quite obvious: in a normal pregnancy there is a zygote in the womb and in the psychological pregnancy there is no.
Thus, a doctor can easily differentiate one from the other through tests that demonstrate the absence or presence of a fetal heartbeat.
However, among the symptoms that may occur a woman who is on tape and a woman who suffers psychological pregnancy other differences are connoted:
- During normal pregnancy a hormone called Coronary Gonadotropin is secreted, whereas a woman with pseudocytosis does not produce this hormone.
- The belly of a woman in tape grows causing the hole in the navel to disappear (the skin comes out), in a psychological pregnancy this does not happen.
- The weight gain that occurs during a psychological pregnancy is much more exaggerated than that of a normal pregnancy.
How can I know if I have a psychological pregnancy?
It is usually common among women to present at some point in their life symptoms characteristic of the period of pregnancy when in fact they are not on tape.
In fact, you may have ever been able to say, “I think I’m pregnant”
These symptoms can be very diverse as thoughts about pregnancy, cravings, emotional susceptibility, physical sensations of being on tape …
However, the presentation of these symptoms does not have to indicate the presence of a psychological pregnancy.
Sometimes they can be previous symptoms to discover that you are really waiting for a baby and sometimes they can be simple worries or wishes to be a mother.
So, let’s see what those diagnostic points are so you can clarify in a simple way if those symptoms you present are part of a psychological pregnancy or not.
1. First of all you must go to a specialist doctor to perform a pregnancy test, a physical examination and an ultrasound to rule out that these symptoms are part of a real pregnancy.
2. You must present all or most of the symptoms related to psychological pregnancy mentioned above. If you present only some of them but do not show absence of menstruation or amenorrhea and you have not increased your abdominal size, it is unlikely that it is a pseudociesis.
3. Low levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) usually occur in psychological pregnancy , so if you do not present these results it is practically impossible to suffer a psychological pregnancy.
4. Similarly, in pseudocytosis, prolactin levels are usually elevated. If you present symptoms related to psychological pregnancy but have normal levels of prolactin, it is unlikely that it is a psychological pregnancy.
Because of how strange this disorder may seem, you may be wondering what causes psychological pregnancy. Lets go see it:
1. Uncontrollable desire to get pregnant
It must be borne in mind that the bodily changes present in pseudociesis, like most somatoform disorders, respond to some need or emotional destabilization.
Thus, a woman with high aspirations of being a mother, may not adequately manage the frustration that causes her not to be able to fulfill her desire and develop a psychological pregnancy.
2. Depressive states
This factor can be closely related to the desire to be a mother or to have a hypersensitivity with maternity issues
Thus, witnessing a depressive picture linked to pregnancy or being a mother can precipitate a psychological pregnancy.
It should be noted that, like most psychological disorders, pseudociesis usually precipitates when a person does not have the necessary resources to overcome a personal situation or a psychological state.
In this way, the fact of having a lot of desire to be pregnant or presenting depressive symptoms related to motherhood, can lead to a disorder if the person presenting it is outweighed by their personal circumstances.
3. Panic to become pregnant
It is usually typical among adolescent women who begin their sexual life, have a romantic relationship for the first time or just get married.
Pregnancy is a delicate time for any woman, so certain situations such as those described above can lead to an excessive fear of becoming pregnant.
If the woman who is involved in these situations is not able to adequately manage the fear caused by the idea of staying on tape, the over- vigilance that this fear can cause each time she has sex may end up becoming a belief. immovable of waiting for a baby and triggering a pseudociesis.
4. Couple problems
Sometimes, when you have problems with your partner, the idea may arise that the perfect solution for all difficulties to disappear is to become pregnant.
When this happens, the predetermined idea of becoming pregnant to improve marital life can develop erroneously and become mismatched ideas of being on tape.
How many people do you have?
Psychological pregnancy, despite its apparent popularity, is a very little prevalent disorder in the current population.
It can be presented by women from all parts of the world at any age, although the most common is to present it between 20 and 40 years.
However, although the symptoms of pregnancy may be common, it is estimated that only 0.005 of the women who present these symptoms have pseudociesis, which is why the psychological pregnancy is very rare.
Can men have a psychological pregnancy?
Oddly enough, yes, men can also present pseudociesis.
However, in men it usually occurs because of feeling very identified with your partner when she is pregnant.
The need to feel protective, to share with your wife the moment of pregnancy or to try to get involved in the woman’s suffering, are usually the most common causes.
Should you tell the truth?
A recurring question about this disorder is whether upon detecting that a woman suffers a psychological pregnancy it must be clearly stated that she is not pregnant and that the symptoms are fruits of her imagination.
My advice in this situation would be not to do it, or at least not directly confront the person who suffers pseudocies if their belief is radically opposed to the evidence that confirms the absence of pregnancy.
And it is that from the outside it can seem very simple, the woman is told that she is not pregnant, she is taught the tests that confirm it and the problem is finished .
However, psychological pregnancy is a fairly complex disorder and understanding is indispensable.
For the woman who suffers the fact of being pregnant is not an option, since for her it is a reality, so that overcoming this dilemma must be made little by little and with the appropriate treatment.
How is it treated?
What usually happens is that a woman who suffers a psychological pregnancy goes to the doctor to review her pregnancy and at that moment she is notified through the tests that she is not really on tape.
At that precise moment, the woman’s most common reaction is to deny the doctor’s tests and find another professional to review her pregnancy.
At that time, it is vital to understand the problem that the person is suffering, not adopt a radical position denying at all times the reality of pregnancy and convince him to go to a therapist to help manage their situation.
The therapy carried out with a psychotherapist specialized in these problems will be based on the patient gradually learning what happens to her and what is a psychological pregnancy, so that in this way she can modify her belief of being pregnant.