Hysterical Pregnancies

Women who think that are pregnant, or who are sure they are pregnant, but who really are not have a condition called hysterical pregnancy. The wide availability of pregnancy tests that are quite accurate has made this condition less common, but we do see hysterical pregnancies occassionally in our practice. The word hysteria was coined from the word for uterus. Original gynos applied pretty much all female aliments of a psychological nature to the uterus itself. This was long before we recognized that it was the ovaries, not the uterus that produced hormones and thus could be the source of behavior changing circulating secretions. And one of the oddest manifestations of a hystereical pregnancy is when a woman is so sure that she is pregnant she gets all signs and physical symptoms of pregnancy. It is known as a hysterical pregnancy. We see these cases in our practices, but rarely. Now that we have so many tools for accurate diagnosis, like visibly showing a woman her uterus with the ultrasound machine in a test called a pregnancy sonogram, it's not likely to have a diagnosis like this missed.


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