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Psychological pregnancy: symptoms and treatment

Psychological pregnancy, also called pseudociese, is an emotional problem that can occur when symptoms of pregnancy are present, but there is no developing fetus in the woman's uterus, which can be confirmed in a pregnancy and ultrasound tests.

This problem mainly affects women who wish to become pregnant very much or in those who have a great fear of becoming pregnant, as it may happen during adolescence, for example. In addition, psychological pregnancy is also frequent in domestic animals, being very common in neutered dogs or who have lost their young.

Psychological pregnancy symptoms

The symptoms of psychological pregnancy are the same as a normal pregnancy, although there is no baby developing, such as:

  • Nausea;
  • Somnolence;
  • Food desires;
  • Absence or delay of menstruation;
  • Growth of the belly and breasts;
  • Sensation of feeling the fetus move;
  • Production of breast milk.

These symptoms are due to psychological stimuli that generate an increase in the production of pregnancy hormones, such as prolactin, which results in the same symptoms as a true pregnancy. See the first 10 symptoms of pregnancy that can also appear in a psychological pregnancy.

Pregnancy symptoms, but without a fetus
Pregnancy symptoms, but without a fetus

Can psychological pregnancy originate a positive pregnancy test?

If a woman has a psychological pregnancy the pregnancy tests, both urine and blood test Beta HCG, will always give a negative result, which can also be confirmed by an ultrasound, which will show that there is no developing fetus in the woman's womb.

However, sometimes the results of the tests are not enough to convince the woman that there is no real pregnancy, and in these cases psychological counseling is necessary to treat the problem.

Learn what are the best days to do a home pregnancy test.

Main causes for a psychological pregnancy

The most frequent causes of psychological pregnancy are:

  • Intense desire to become pregnant and difficulty getting pregnant;
  • Great fear of becoming pregnant;
  • Depression and low self-esteem;
  • Post hysterectomy period;
  • Intense desire to have a partner or to hold a boyfriend.

In addition, marital problems, can make a woman believe that pregnancy can save their marriage.

Psychological pregnancy also affects men

Although it is more frequent in women, psychological pregnancy can also occur in men, usually as a result of an intense connection with the partner's pregnancy, this is called couvade syndrome.

If you are trying to get pregnant, but you are not yet pregnant, see:

How to deal with a psychological pregnancy

The treatment for psychological pregnancy can be done with the use of hormonal medication to regulate menstruation and to stop the production of breast milk, but it is also essential that you are followed by a psychologist or psychiatrist to eliminate the causes that led to the development of this problem.

Therefore, some of the medication that may be indicated by your doctor may be the contraceptive pill to regulate menstruation and Dostinex to stop the production of breast milk. In addition, Amitriptyline may also be recommended for mood management and treatment of depression, if appropriate.

The duration of treatment depends on the understanding and collaboration of woman and the family, but it can take months for the problem to be completely overcome. It is important to remember that an essential part of the treatment is the support of friends and family, which can help create a safe environment in which women feel loved even without having a baby. Psychology sessions can also be helpful in helping you cope with this situation.

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