What Is A False Pregnancy?
What Is It?
False pregnancy is a condition where a woman believes that she will be having a child based on the early signs of pregnancy that they have. Many women will have the signs of pregnancy in just about all forms expect that there is no baby. This condition is actually very common in mammals like cats and dogs. When this happens in those situations, it allows the animal to provide nourishing milk to the group’s offspring even if it is not her offspring.
In humans, the condition is much rarer. Many of the symptoms of a true pregnancy are seen in women that have this condition. They may have morning sickness, tender breasts, and emotional symptoms of pregnancy. Cramps during pregnancy are normal as is the normal discharge during pregnancy that many have. The women even gain weight during pregnancy to match the normal occurrence of a child.
False pregnancy is thought to be a combination of physical symptoms but also emotionally brought on as well. The buildup of weight in the abdomen, which happens in between 60 and 90 percent of the cases, is believed to be a buildup of gas, fat, urine and feces. Once a doctor releases these symptoms, the women’s abdomen will return to its normal size.
Another area in which false pregnancy resembles a regular pregnancy is through the loss of menstruation. In normal pregnancy stages, a women does not have a menstruation period during the 40 weeks she is pregnant. In false pregnancy, the menstrual cycle can become irregular. Doctors believe this can be the case because of a number of situations including emotional and physical conditions.
Other symptoms of false pregnancy that mimic those of real pregnancies include the feel of fetal movement, which is called quickening. Although there is no actual fetus, this symptom is thought to be a phantom or emotional creation. Additional symptoms of false pregnancy include gastrointestinal symptoms, a softening of the cervix, labor pains, uterus enlargement and even changes in the feel and shape of the breast.
What Causes It?
There is no one theory of the cause of false pregnancy that is accepted by everyone. Doctors do believe that the condition is mainly a cause of emotional conflict or concern. Some believe that women that suffer from this condition actually have a strong desire to become pregnant, or even an intense fear of becoming pregnant, such as in teenage pregnancy linked to false pregnancy. That desire triggers their body’s to change, especially in the endocrine system.
In many situations, false pregnancy is misdiagnosis initially by doctors because of the outward physical signs. Yet, today, with the risks of having tumors and other conditions, doctors often will not say an individual is pregnant until a thorough exam is completed. Home pregnancy tests are often negative for false pregnancies as well because of the lack of hormones in the body that they work from.
Those suffering from false pregnancy should seek medical attention to resolve the underlying problems for the condition. There are no after effects physically of being in this condition, though emotional trauma is likely for many.