Pseudocyesis also known as false pregnancy, can cause many of the signs and symptoms associated with pregnancy, and can resemble the condition in every way except for fetal presence.
Signs and symptoms
The symptoms of pseudocyesis are similar to the symptoms of true pregnancy and are often hard to distinguish from such natural signs as amenorrhoea, morning sickness, tender breasts, and weight gain may all be present. Many health care professionals can be deceived by the symptoms associated with pseudocyesis. Research shows that 18% of women with pseudocyesis were at one time diagnosed as pregnant by medical professionals.
The hallmark sign of pseudocyesis that is common to all cases is that the affected patient is convinced that she is pregnant. Abdominal distension is the most common physical symptom of pseudocyesis (60– 90%). The abdomen expands in the same manner as it does during pregnancy, so that the affected woman looks pregnant. This phenomenon is thought to be caused by buildup of gas, fat, feces, or urine. These symptoms often resolve under general anesthesia and the woman's abdomen returns to its normal size.
The second most common physical sign of pseudocyesis is menstrual irregularity (50–90%). Women are also reported to experience the sensation of fetal movements known as quickening (medical), even though there is no fetus present (50%-75%).Other common signs and symptoms include: gastrointestinal symptoms, breast changes or secretions, labor pains, uterine enlargement, and softening of the cervix. One percent of women eventually experience false labor.