A false pregnancy refers to a situation when a woman has all the signs and symptoms of being pregnant, yet this woman is not pregnant. It is not common in humans, yet it does happen. However, it is mainly psychological. False pregnancies have been reported all throughout history. Hippocrates wrote about 12 women who he encountered as early as 300 B.C. Mary, Queen of Scots, is one of the most famous examples in history that reported that she was pregnant on several occasions and when the truth was discovered, she wasn’t pregnant at all.
It is hard to distinguish the signs of a normal pregnancy from the signs of other medical conditions, which is why some women may actually believe they are pregnant. It is quite common for women to have irregular menstrual periods and to have some of the pregnancy symptoms as part of pre-menstrual syndrome. This includes having headaches, tender breasts and a bloated feeling in the stomach. If this continues on for any length of time, a woman could actually convince herself that she is pregnant, even to the point of having morning sickness. In this case the pregnancy is psychosomatic and exists only in the mind. At one time, before the age of ultrasounds and other advanced diagnostic tests, doctors would diagnose a woman as being pregnant based on the symptoms she reported. When the urine test turned out to be negative, the doctor often thought that perhaps the lady was not far enough along for the pregnancy to show up.
In many women, the abdomen actually grows in size so that they actually look pregnant. It is believed that this is due to a build up of gas or fluid. Through surgery or other medical treatments once this situation is resolved, the abdomen goes back to its normal size. Women who are desperately trying to conceive and who have a history of irregular menstrual cycles often think that they feel life inside the womb, very similar to that of fetal movements in a normal pregnancy. This movement is the normal bowel movements of gas throughout the body and sometimes it can be mistaken for a fluttering if you are not sure if you are pregnant or not.
Psychologists say that women who do have the notion they are pregnant are often going through emotional turmoil. It could be the result of a desire to have a baby or an intense fear of being pregnant. It could be wishful thinking when the woman thinks that having a baby will resolve the conflict she and her partner are experiencing in their relationship and will help to keep them together as a couple.
Because there is no underlying physical reason for a person to believe she is pregnant, there is no one medication to help resolve the condition. In the case of irregular periods, medication can help regulate the menstrual cycles. However, in most other cases the only treatment is counselling from a psychotherapist trained to deal with such a situation. The one treatment that is successful is for the woman to have an ultrasound where she can see the screen and will see that there is no baby in the womb.