It is unclear why some may experience this phantom pregnancy, although predisposing risk factors include history of miscarriage, infertility, and loss of a child, as well as coexisting mental conditions. Other potential factors include psychiatric medications that may induce amenorrhea or elevated prolactin levels as a side effect as well as ovarian tumors.
Cases tend to occur more often in populations where there is a specific focus on childbearing as central to a woman's existence. It is thought that stress from that burden, in conjunction with other pressures, can spur on an episode.
F44.4 – Conversion disorder with motor symptom or deficit
424601002 – Physiologic pseudocyesis
Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls
- True pregnancy (do a pregnancy test / ultrasound)
- Delusion of pregnancy (the insistence of being pregnant despite not having any pregnancy signs or symptoms)