What Is Meant By Phantom Pregnancy? Symptoms And Treatment

Phantom pregnancy or pseudocyesis or false pregnancy is a very rarely seen condition. In a phantom pregnancy, the woman is convinced that she is pregnant. Some or possibly all the symptoms of pregnancy may be present – nausea, vomiting, tender breasts, no period and even a blooming abdomen. Given the woman’s conviction of her pregnancy, the endocrine system is influenced and starts secreting pregnancy specific hormones – oestrogen and prolactin.

In some cases, it is not until she goes into false labor and no baby is delivered that the phantom pregnancy comes to an end.

The exact cause is very unclear. It usually occurs in those who are desperate to get pregnant and wish for a baby. There seems to be a complicated series of factors for the incidence of phantom pregnancy. There is a strong association between hormones and psychology. A permutation of physical and emotional factors all contribute, along with her pregnancy ‘symptoms’ and the secretion of hormones sustains her belief. Stress on certain segments of the brain which govern the release of pregnancy-related hormones also has a say in the condition.

Signs And Symptoms Of Phantom Pregnancy

  • The woman strongly and honestly believes that she is pregnant and going to have a baby.
  • She has an enlarged abdomen, tender breasts, and nausea.
  • Menstrual irregularity or absence of period.
  • Some even feel the baby moving, even though there is no baby present.
  • There are certain food cravings and aversions as well as a bigger appetite.
  • Nausea, vomiting, heartburn, and constipation.
  • Blooming belly.
  • Some even go in to phantom labor. They will arrive at a hospital and think they are going to deliver a baby.

How To Get Rid Of Phantom Pregnancy

  • Once the pregnancy tests have been done – testing the blood and urine as well as a pelvic exam and ultrasound are conducted and the investigation are negative; you need to confer with the OB/GYN and health care provider regarding the disorder. She may even enlist the help of a counselor / psychiatrist.
  • When no baby can be visualized on the sonogram, no heartbeat and no delivery occurs, then it is verified that the woman is not pregnant. It is not until these factors are clarified that the diagnosis of phantom pregnancy is made.
  • By and large, your health care provider will prescribe anti-depressants or anti-psychotic medications to help you.
  • In case of an absence of periods, your OB/GYN will give you hormonal drugs to help bring the cycle to normal. You may also need to follow certain dietary and lifestyle medications to help with the hormone imbalance better.
  • It is an important aspect of the treatment plan to show the woman the sonogram so that she assures herself that no baby is present. Urine and blood tests do not give the same level of substantiation, as some women infer the findings as wrong.
  • For women who have been convinced that they are pregnant, but they actually aren’t, when told of this, it can be really upsetting. Sympathy and compassion are very crucial to handle the case and counseling is always needed. Family, friends as well as professional support are essential.
  • For those who are eager to conceive, fertility support is required too.