A 37-year-old woman, who claimed to be 41-weeks pregnant and in pain, was given an emergency C-section in Brazil—then doctors discovered she was never actually pregnant! She had what’s called a phantom or false pregnancy, where women have all of the symptoms of being preggers, including an enlarged abdomen, loss of menstruation, nausea, fatigue and even engorged breasts. So when doctors couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat, they immediately went into baby-saving mode, hence the C-section.
Phantom pregnancies are quite rare only occurring between one to six times out of every 22,000 reported pregnancies. According to the Guardian Express, “For some women, a medical condition unrelated to pregnancy may be to blame for the signs and symptoms associated with a phantom pregnancy. Ovarian tumors can account for some of the symptoms associated with pregnancy as can severe depression in rare cases.
For most women with a phantom pregnancy, however, the cause is strictly psychological. Women who have suffered previous miscarriages and infertility are much more likely to have phantom pregnancies, as are women in their thirties and forties who have been unable to have children and may perceive that time is running out for them to do so.”
Talk about mind over matter—it is thought for many of these women, that they want to be pregnant so badly that their minds actually trick their bodies into believing they are, and the pregnancy symptoms kick in. The really sad part is that the woman’s husband reportedly told doctors that this was her second false pregnancy within a year. The only thing that got me through the intense morning sickness, foot swelling, back pain, and heartburn was knowing that in the end, I’d have a beautiful baby to make all of it worth it. I can’t even imagine how difficult it would be to go through nine months of pregnancy symptoms only to be told that there never was a pregnancy at all. If you didn’t have psychological issues before that, you certainly would in the end! I hope this woman gets the treatment she needs.
TELL US: Have you ever thought you were pregnant only to find out you weren’t? Can you imagine that feeling on this grand of a scale?
Image of pregnant woman courtesy of Shutterstock.