By Vishakha Sonawane, Parent Herald | December 18, 8:57 AM
A Brazilian woman underwent emergency Cesarean section only to find out she was not pregnant.
The 37-year-old woman complained of extreme abdominal pain and thought her pregnancy was at risk.
Simone Carvalho, spokeswoman for the Health Department of the coastal city of Cabo Frio, said Tuesday the woman told doctors at the city's Woman's Hospital she was 41 weeks pregnant and in pain. But after the C-section it turned out to be 'phantom pregnancy.'
Carvalho said that doctors might have believed that she was pregnant just because "she had the symptoms associated with pregnancy like an enlarged abdomen and nausea," reported CBS News. "Doctors could not hear the baby's heartbeat and feeling its life was in danger ordered an emergency cesarean after which they discovered it was a false pregnancy," she said.
Carvalho further said that the woman "was so convinced she was pregnant, that she altered her prenatal tests that showed otherwise because she was convinced the results were wrong."
The woman's husband reportedly said that this was her second 'phantom pregnancy' of 'false pregnancy' within a year. She was discharged and referred to psychiatric care, reported the Daily Mail.
According to health experts, women experience 'phantom pregnancies' in their thirties and forties. Women believe they are pregnant.
WebMD describes 'phantom pregnancies' to be rare. Clinically known as 'pseudocyesis,' false pregnancies shows most of the symptoms of pregnancies such as weight gain, enlarged breasts, nausea and back pain. Although the exact causes are still unclear, doctors say that there might be psychological and physical reasons behind it. A woman may face phantom pregnancy out of "intense desire to get pregnant," that makes the brain to misinterpret those signals as an actual pregnancy, and release hormones that lead to real symptoms.