The Ghost of Phantom Pregnancy


Not long ago, a Canadian woman went to the hospital intending to deliver quintuplets. But it turned out she had never been pregnant at all, despite her bulging belly. Cristen and Caroline look into the mystery of pseucocyesis, better known as phantom pregnancy.

Episode sources:

"All the Signs of Pregnancy Except One -- a Baby" by Elizabeth Svoboda. Dec. 05, 2006. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/05/health/05pseud.html?_r=0

"Couvade syndrome: Is sympathetic pregnancy real?" by Todd B. Nippoldt. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/pregnancy-week-by-week/expert-answers/couvade-syndrome/faq-20058047

"Doctors Perform C Section and Find No Baby" by Susan Donaldson James. April 02, 2010. ABC News. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/ReproductiveHealth/pregnant-mother-section-doctors-find-baby/story?id=10262881

"False Pregnancy (Pseudocyesis)." Reviewed by Mikio A. Nihira. July 05, 2012. WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/false-pregnancy-pseudocyesis

"Woman Has Phantom Pregnancy With Quintuplets." March 26, 2014. ABC News. http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/woman-phantom-pregnancy-quintuplets-021913478--abc-news-health.html

Academic insights:

"Pseudocyesis" by Robert N. Rutherford. New England Journal of Medicine. 1941. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM194104102241505

"Pseudocyesis: A complication of anti-psychotic-induced increased prolactin levels and weight gain" by Sandeep Grover et al. Journal of Pharmacological Pharmacotherapy. September 2013. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3746308/

"Pseudocyesis Versus Delusion of Pregnancy: Differential Diagnoses to be Kept in Mind" by Tarun Yadav, Yatal Pal Singh Balhara and Dinesh Kumar Kataria. 2012. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3361851/

"Psychodynamic and Socio-Cultural Perspective of Pseudocyesis in a Non-Infertile Indian Woman: A Case Report" by M. Makhal et al. http://www.mjpsychiatry.org/index.php/mjp/article/view/234

"Psychosocial and cultural aspects of pseudocyesis" by PC Ibekwe and JU Achor. April 2008. Indian Journal of Psychiatry. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19742215