Also know as pseudociesis , the psychological or utopian pregnancy is a condition that includes authentic characteristics of a real pregnancy, but there is no fetus in the embryo sac.
This makes a woman think she is pregnant and presents the symptoms that support this presumption, including discomfort, absence of menstruation and even increased abdominal volume. These symptoms could last weeks, the 9 months that the pregnancy lasts and even years.
However, there is no pregnancy, it is a very interesting psychological disorder. The reason is that it is not a woman pretending to be pregnant, or simulating it. But your conscious and subconscious desire is so strong that it ends up translating into what a pregnancy looks like but it isn't.
In this sense, it would be very interesting to know how common psychological pregnancy is, what are its causes, its specific symptoms and how it can be treated.
It is important to note that not only women have these types of symptoms, it has also been evidenced in dogs and less commonly in men.
How common is a psychological pregnancy?
It is not a common condition , but it could happen to any woman.
The statistics are inconclusive, some establish that only 1 in 22,000 women They suffer from this condition. However, others say that 1 in 30,000 Women suffer from it.
Whatever the incidence among these numbers, it happens in absolutely extreme cases.
In historical cases, the inc>. However, it has also occurred in older women and even in women with menopause. The common factor among all these pregnancies is women with very high levels of stress because they cannot conceive a child.
Historically, the number of psychological pregnancies has decreased over time. This is because there are now many options by which a woman can get pregnant, and these assisted reproduction techniques have greatly reduced stress in this area.
What causes a psychological pregnancy?
The first cause of a psychological pregnancy is pressure stress. This can come from many sources, a woman can be pressured by a group of friends, her relatives and external agents that make her feel that she must be pregnant to be accepted.
The pressure may come even from your partner who wants to establish a family quickly when getting married.
It can even be presented in guilty cases>. There are cases in which a girl has become pregnant for fear of pregnancy or because of guilt after having had unprotected sex. That is, it develops so much "paranoia" because of the sexual relationship that the woman could claim to be pregnant and this is reflected in her body as such.
The cause is also taken as amenorrhea . This is when a woman does not have her menstrual period or has it irregularly and is the symbol of other more serious and worthy of study conditions.
It is correct to assume that a woman who has no control of when her period comes and has constant sexual intercourse may believe that she is pregnant at any time. By exerting this pressure on your mind, you can get a psychological pregnancy.
Pseudociesis is a totally mental condition . It is in a woman's brain and is caused only by this. There are no biological causes that can trigger a pregnancy of this type.
The Assisted Reproduction Organization calls "Absent pregnancy" to this condition and establishes that it usually occurs in reproductive age in women who have some type of psychological problem and who suffer anxiety because they cannot conceive naturally or artificially.
Many sterile women have presented this type of pregnancy after many times of trying to get pregnant without success.
Other possible causes are related to the main one, however specific facts can trigger the mental attack that develops the psychological pregnancy. These facts could be:
- Low self-esteem
- Sexual abuse during childhood
- Great foci of emotional stress
- Proximity to menopause
What are the symptoms of a psychological pregnancy?
As mentioned, the symptoms of a pseudociesis are similar to those of a normal pregnancy. Among these symptoms are:
1.- Absence of menstruation or amenorrhea:
It is one of the main indicators that a woman is pregnant. It is characterized by the total or partial disappearance of women from conception. It is in this way that women suffering from pseudociesis are alerted that they could be pregnant.
2.- Morning sickness and cravings:
Just as when a woman is really pregnant, a psychological pregnancy could lead to nausea and even vomiting as a symptom and also cravings for eating habits. In this way, the woman can also have a headache, heartburn and a feeling of heaviness in the legs.
3.- Increase breast size and milk production:
The whole organism of a woman suffering from pseudociesis is preparing to have a child, so her breasts are preparing to breastfeed the baby, even if it is not real. The reason is that the condition modifies the mammary glands in such a way that can secrete milk and colostrum . This is why her breasts grow and produce breast milk just like in a normal pregnancy.
4.- Subjective sensation of fetal movements
Psychological pregnancy can even generate the impression that the baby is growing inside the mother's womb, and it kicks and moves. Of course, many women with this condition have expressed that they feel the baby move inside .
However, no external person who touches your belly feels the baby. This is a movement generated in your mind that gives a feeling of hyperrealism.
5.- Increase in abdominal volume
The belly of a woman with a psychological pregnancy is distended by modifying her posture. The accumulation of certain fluids, including the amniotic, makes this strain possible. This occurs months after the psychological pregnancy is diagnosed, just like in a real one. The distension of the muscles of the abdomen has allowed surprising growths in a woman's womb even though there is no baby inside her.
6.- False positive in pregnancy tests
This is specifically in home pregnancy tests. It is common for the utopian pregnancy to result in positive tests at home. The reason is that these tests measure the gonadotropins in the body secreted in the urine. Depending on the pressure exerted mentally on the body, it is possible that this hormone housed in the hypothalamus is triggered in large doses.
7.- Weight gain and lordosis
This increase has proven to be even greater than in real pregnancies. The belly can even take a form similar to that of a pregnant woman's belly and it is possible that the weight causes the lumbar spine to bend inward due to the weight, this phenomenon is called lordosis
8.- Intrauterine contractions
In the same way, a woman with a utopian pregnancy may believe that she is about to give birth. This is because the contractions are as strong as in a natural pregnancy. The difference is that these are not accompanied by the breaking of the source and the delivery itself.
9.- Sleep disorders
The most common of them is insomnia, this is also a product of their state of anxiety. In the same way, they can develop serious paranoias by caring for their state of pregnancy or the need to get rid of it.
10.- Hidden emotional needs
The common denominator in women who become pregnant in this way is a hidden emotional need that is expressed in physical symptoms. These women respond to a profile of profound lack of affection, need for social acceptance, fear and insecurity regarding sexual relations and pregnancy or depression due to deep loneliness.
Depression itself is usually the basis of all psychological pregnancies. And although being depressed is quite common among people, prolonged exposure to these types of feelings and behaviors lead to more serious conditions.
Secondly, anxiety and anguish They can make any woman "create a very real lie" and end up having a pregnancy of this type. This is why it is important to review the causes behind the condition, because When treating the symptoms, the effects disappear.
How is a real pregnancy different from a psychological one?
Actually, it is easy to confuse a utopian pregnancy with a real pregnancy, but there are certain signs that can rid this confusion:
- In a real pregnancy the Chorionic Gonadotropin hormone (BhCG) , while in a utopian one this hormone is not present as such. The reason is that this hormone is produced by the placenta during pregnancy, if there is no placenta, the hormone will not be present.
- When the belly of a pregnant woman really grows the belly button hole disappears, that is, the belly button “goes out”. This is a product of the pressure exerted by the embryonic sac in the navel, which does not happen in a psychological pregnancy because there is no sac that exerts pressure.
What to do if you suspect a psychological pregnancy?
If a woman suspects that her pregnancy could be psychological, the first step to follow is to observe the characteristics of her pregnancy and see a doctor immediately.
Following this, a pregnancy test should be performed in a laboratory. Specifically a blood test that is the one that performs the count of the BhCG and defines if it matches the hormone levels present in the body of a pregnant woman
The woman should also have an abdominal ultrasound to show if the uterus is empty or if the pregnancy is indeed real.
You should also check the side effects of some pills. It has been confirmed that some drugs can stop or inhibit the production of dopamines and this can generate the symptoms of a false pregnancy that a woman could confuse.
Finally, women who have milk secretion in their breasts should perform studies in their breasts that rule out the presence of a tumor in the pituitary gland. This is responsible for the production of milk in the breasts.
What is the treatment for psychological pregnancy?
After the psychological pregnancy is diagnosed, the woman should be immediately referred to a psychiatrist to treat her psychological symptoms and deal with her anxiety and depression. Accompaniment is essential at this point, since women who suffer from this type of disappointment tend to make their symptoms worse.
The treatment itself consists in first of all convincing the woman that she is not pregnant and that everything has been a product of her imagination. This is really difficult because pseudociesis is simply a mental escape mechanism for a constant state of psychological stress and adversity.
Second, progressive psychological therapies are performed. In addition, women who suffered utopian pregnancies are recommended to attend aid groups and individual therapies as well as share their emotions and experiences with friends or family. This is due to the need for support from other people so that the symptoms of depression and anxiety are no longer aggravated.
Experts reflect that rather than attack the psychological pregnancy, the disorder in the personality of the woman should be treated so that the symptom stops presenting. That is, pseudociesis is seen as an end to a long anxiety and depression disorder.
In many cases, women are given a hormonal treatment to control the disorder that is generated after the body thinks it is in a state of gestation. Likewise, the woman can perform physical exercises to recover her usual figure while the fluids that generated the growth in the abdomen are naturally discarded by the body.
Is it possible for a man to become psychologically pregnant?
According to experts, there are cases that describe "psychological pregnancies in men" due to the same stress that their partners live.
Among the symptoms have been nausea, cravings, weight gain, and in rare cases secretion of some hormones and belly growth.
According The most common pres> is for men to mimic their partner's situation. That is, your wife is pregnant and they have similar or common symptoms with pregnancy. “If one is nauseous, the other too. If one vomits, the other goes behind. If one gains weight, man also. And so on until she gives birth ” , he explained during a conference. This disorder is called the Couvade syndrome
The reason for this is that many men have serious personality disorders. Therefore, it is necessary to copy characteristics of others to reaffirm their position. This means that if the woman (logically) receives more attention than he, then he could unconsciously get her symptoms to recreate this attention.
Pregnancy in dogs
This disorder is much more common in animals, specifically in bitches, although cases have also been seen in cats and rabbits.
It has been shown that at least 6 out of 10 sterilized bitches suffer from this type of pregnancy. This is not a disease as such but it is a hormonal mismatch usually caused by the castration of the dogs and how the heat develops after that castration.
In the same way as with women, the symptoms of female dogs that have pseudociesis are similar to those of real pregnancy. These symptoms include the arrest of menstruation (and therefore the heat), the production of milk in the breasts and the growth of the belly of the animal.
In addition, several unknowns can be presented regarding the utopian pregnancy in female dogs:
When does it occur?
It usually occurs between one and two months after the dog's heat even though there has been no fertilization as such, that is, it is not necessary that it was mounted by a dog.
Unlike women, bitches do not suffer anxiety of the same type as they do, therefore the fictional pregnancy occurs because the hormones that their ovaries make make the body behave congruent with its appearance.
How long does it last?
It could last only a couple of days. In most cases, bitches suffer the symptoms of pregnancy and then they disappear. The most common of these is breast growth as a product of pseudo management . This is because the hormones of progesterone and estradiol They increase and make breastfeeding possible.
It is advisable to observe the animal carefully and if the symptoms persist it would be necessary to take the animal immediately to the doctor
Changes in pet behavior
It is also common that during this type of disorder, the animal comes to think and behave as if it were pregnant or already had the puppies.
Among the behavioral alterations is the adoption of rags or dolls that care as if they were their children, in addition, they can be tired or anxious, as well as wandering around the house trying to hide or looking for a place to give birth.
What to deal with the fictitious pregnancy of a dog?
First, the animal should be taken to the veterinarian to verify the assumption and see if their breasts produce too much milk. This because the production of milk without being consumed could cause mastitis and other disorders in animal behavior.
The veterinarian will determine the treatment. Usually none are used, but the symptoms are expected to disappear eventually.
In more serious cases the mastitis and if the animal's behavior becomes aggressive or extremely depressive It is treated with anxiolytics under expert supervision.
Experts recommend certain measures:
- Remove the objects that the animal may have adopted so that the idea of procreation is not strengthened.
- Reduce or restrict water intake reasonably. This would reduce milk production, always taking care of the necessary hydration of the animal
- Avoid self stimulation of the breasts. Do not allow the animal or others to stimulate the breasts with licks, this will stop the mechanisms of secretion and milk production through them.
- Increase the amount of physical exercise
- Accompaniment and distractions. Usually the dogs reflect decay and hypersensitivity to suffer this type of pregnancy, so it is also advised to pamper the dog and distract her with other activities.