What Is Hysterical Pregnancy?

Hysterical pregnancy is also called pseudocyesis, imaginary pregnancy, phantom pregnancy, or spurious pregnancy. This is not a real pregnancy, but all the symptoms of a normal pregnancy are present. This is seen in mentally ill women who have a strong desire to conceive. Their desire to become pregnant is so strong that they convince themselves and others that they really are pregnant. Their imagination is so strong that the cerebrum also believes that the woman is pregnant. The brain does not have the power to differentiate between reality and imagination. This can also be a result of depression and delusion, which alters the activity of the pituitary gland that causes hormonal imbalances. This can lead to hysterical pregnancy symptoms.

Symptoms of Hysterical Pregnancy

The signs and symptoms include:

  • Breast tenderness
  • Menstrual irregularity
  • Uterine enlargement
  • Softening of the cervix
  • Positive pregnancy test
  • Changes in appetite
  • Weight gain
  • Morning sickness
  • Abdominal Bloating
  • Sensation of movements in the abdomen
  • Labor pains
  • Lactation
  • Changes in the cervix
  • Mood swings


The method of treatment differs because the base of this problem is psychological. Treatments include:

  • The physical symptoms, such as missed period, weight gain, and bloating, can be handled by a regular physician.
  • The most important treatment is the psychological help of a mental health care professional.
  • An ultrasound can be taken to show that there is no fetus in the womb.
  • Methods like hypnosis, laxatives, medications, and massage therapies are used to treat a woman with hysterical pregnancy.

Counseling sessions are necessary to help the women express her agony over not having children.

If a woman suffers from hysterical pregnancy, they may need to be hospitalized and treated depending on the severity of the disorder.


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