The most important thing for any woman to do if they suspect they’re pregnant is to take a pregnancy test, or two. A third opinion from a physician may not be a bad idea either, seeing as if you are pregnant you’ll be visiting them frequently anyway.
In some cases, the symptoms of pregnancy persist after receiving negative results and the woman experiencing pseudocyesis continues to believe that she is pregnant. This includes tests from the physician who has likely assessed the patient through ultrasound.
Delusional pregnancy is a condition in which a woman refuses to accept the fact that she is not pregnant, according to Dr. Idries J. Abdur-Rahman, an obstetrician and gynecologist.
“I have patients who’ve come into labor and delivery saying ‘Oh! My baby’s not moving. I’m cramping’ and [I] look at the medical chart and [realize] they’ve been in a couple of times already, having been told that they are not pregnant, that an ultrasound was done,” said Dr. Ramos.
The rejection of a negative pregnancy test is common among women who strongly desire to conceive and/or suffer from a mental illness, possibly due to sexual abuse or trauma.
“Treatment for pseudocyesis centers around counseling to address the underlying stressors that lead to the development of this condition as well as the emotional issues that will result from having experienced this condition. As the stressors resolve and the patient’s acceptance of the condition increases, the symptoms resolve,” Dr. Idries J. Abdur-Rahman wrote in his article on pseudocyesis.
Women who trust the negative pregnancy test should turn their focus to other possibilities based on the symptoms they are experiencing. Increased urination could mean a urine infection. Nausea could be dehydration. An irregular period can be a sign of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Feeling “fetal” movement could be intestinal contractions, a sign of constipation.
“It’s important to go see your health provider because everybody’s medical history is different. You want that health care provider to give the recommendation based upon your medical history. You want them to do the work specifically for you,” said Dr. Ramos.