Denial of pregnancy, you are sure to have heard about it before, either in films or maybe it has happened to someone you know. However, specialists have said very little about this mysterious pathology, and it still seems to be a relatively taboo subject. Because being pregnant without realising it is certainly a little worrying. Here are some explanations.
What exactly is denial of pregnancy?
It is a particularly « spectacular » pathology that many people find it hard to believe is real: being pregnant without knowing it, and without having the usual symptoms, and suddently giving birth, without ever having had a pregnancy bump. An impressive case that is often linked to psychological factors.
A primarily psychological pathology
Even if denial of pregnancy is still not very well understood, it affects around 3 women in every 1000 every year. These women’s brains seem to want to unconsciously forget that their body is carrying a child. This is a kind of defense mechanism, often protecting the woman from social or psychological turmoil, for example, in the case of rape. There is also such thing as partial denial of pregnancy which can be identified once the person’s doctor or mother start to notice the symptoms of the pregnancy (which is common with adolescents). From this moment on, the brain lets go, and the bump rapidly begins to grow.
What are the symptoms of denial of pregnancy?
The problem with diagnosis is that denial of pregnancy is characterised by an almost complete lack of « symptoms » of pregnancy! Your periods don’t stop, you don’t gain weight or develop a bump -nothing gives away the pregnancy, making it impossible for the affected individual or their loved ones to realise their condition. The woman may start to notice symptoms just before giving birth, a few days beforehand in the best cases. In the case of a total denial of pregnancy, the woman, even during labour, will not understand what is going on, thinking that it is digestion problems or gastroenteritis, and they often go to hospital presenting with strong pains.
Watch the testimony of a woman who has lived through the experience here: