20 Critical Signs That It’s A False Pregnancy

There is nothing like the joy and excitement of finding out about a pregnancy. However, even when it comes to pregnancy, sometimes the mind can play some tricks on people, and the body can respond to a certain way of thinking in some cases.

Therefore, as a result, you would end up having a false pregnancy, or pseudocyesis. Whenever you hear of a false pregnancy, you would automatically think of pseudocyesis in dogs and other animals since it does happen frequently. However, in regards to animals, their thought processes are not advanced enough to have their minds trick their bodies into thinking they are pregnant. This is a phenomenon that happens to animals more than it happens to humans.

However, pseudocyesis can most definitely happen in humans. And once you read up on what the signs of pseudocyesis happen to be, you will see that they are the same as an actual pregnancy. However, there are also other factors that could be a reason behind some cases of pseudocyesis. Let's find out what these signs of a false pregnancy are.

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20 Aunt Flo Stops

Most of the time, the first symptom of pregnancy that shows up is a missed menstrual period. That is really the telltale sign of pregnancy. And, according to Parents Magazine, a missed period also applies when it comes to pseudocyesis.

However, the difference between missing a period due to an actual pregnancy and pseudocyesis is that once the baby is born, menstruation will resume – especially when breastfeeding either stops or is not as frequent. According to the same source, a period can be missed for months or even years. Having a false pregnancy that lasts for longer than nine months can happen, and it is unfathomable.

19 Crippling Nausea


A large percentage of pregnant women deal with morning sickness of some sort. Even if that means there is only nausea present without any vomiting. That is also a known fact. However, according to Parents Magazine, nausea and vomiting can also happen when there is a case of pseudocyesis.

If that was the only symptom, then food poisoning, reaction to medication or a stomach virus would be the first thought. When nausea happens during a false pregnancy, then most of the time other pregnancy symptoms are present. However, if a woman believes she is pregnant even if she is not, she will frequently have morning sickness.

18 Overwhelming Fatigue

During an actual pregnancy or a false one, one symptom that is common is fatigue. And the fatigue can be quite overwhelming as well, according to Parents Magazine.

Fatigue alone is not an indication of pregnancy, as it can signify other medical issues that are happening. But when it comes to a false pregnancy, fatigue is one of the symptoms that these women who are affected will experience. And, the fatigue can be so extreme to the point that just getting off of the sofa would be a major ordeal.

That said if you are so sure you are pregnant because of having extreme fatigue, and yet the tests you take indicate that you are not – then it is quite possible that pseudocyesis is coming into play.

17 Distended Abdomen

When you know you are pregnant and you are coming towards the end of your first trimester, your abdomen will be distended, and the rest of your body will be expanding. Therefore, that is when it will be time to start shopping for maternity clothes.

However, according to Parents Magazine, in many cases of pseudocyesis, a distended abdomen is one of the key signs. And, what makes this symptom different is that the abdomen will become larger quite early on – even long before the second trimester would be nearing. Now, that can happen to women that are carrying multiples.

But, if a woman believes she is pregnant and her abdomen becomes large quite early while there is no evidence of her actually being pregnant – that is most definitely a sign of a false pregnancy. The cause for that is usually excess gas being built up.

16 Sensations Of Movement

I clearly remember when I was 14 weeks pregnant with my daughter, I am sure I felt flutters which got stronger as the pregnancy had progressed. But on the other hand, feeling your baby move at 14 weeks is quite unusual. I mean, I might have felt the flutters because I am sensitive. Yet, at the same time, I may have been imagining it.

However, it does not matter whether I imagined feeling the flutters or not because I was indeed pregnant. According to Today’s Parent, one key symptom of pseudocyesis is feeling fetal movement – especially if the phantom movements are happening too early in the supposed pregnancy. If a woman has only missed one period and is feeling fetal movement one week after the fact, then it very well could be a case of pseudocyesis.

The only time a situation like that is a sign of an actual pregnancy is if not only the pregnancy has been confirmed, but implantation bleeding as well as spotting due to the placenta coming through would be mistaken as having two periods.

15 Back Pain

Back pain is most definitely a sign of pregnancy, whether it is real or false. And, according to Parent's Magazine, back pain can start as soon as pregnancy is suspected or it could show up months later when it comes to pseudocyesis.

Most of the time, when there is a false pregnancy, any back pain would be a symptom that would accompany other pregnancy-related symptoms. It usually does not appear on its own. Nevertheless, if there is no evidence that a woman is pregnant yet she is insisting that she is due to having intense back pain, then that is most definitely a sign of a false pregnancy.

14 Leg Cramps

Leg cramps are a very common pregnancy symptom that can start in the second or third trimester. What is usually to blame for that is the fact that there is a magnesium deficiency. However, leg cramps do not usually start in the first trimester.

According to Parent's Magazine, when it comes to a false pregnancy, leg cramps are definitely one of the symptoms. And it can happen right after the other pregnancy symptoms show up in pseudocyesis cases, or it could happen a few months after the fact. But just like other pregnancy symptoms that happen during pseudocyesis, leg cramps is another one as well.

13 Mood Swings Or Irritability

There are plenty of reasons why a woman would be irritable. That is a common PMS symptom and that is most definitely an early pregnancy symptom. In fact, the irritability due to fluctuating hormones can last throughout the entire pregnancy- and it most definitely sticks around after the baby is born.

According to Parent's Magazine, women who have experienced a false pregnancy have reported that one of the first symptoms that they had was being irrational and irritable. And it is not a surprise really, considering that hormones will fluctuate in false pregnancies as it happens during legitimate ones. That being said, irritability can most definitely be a sign of pseudocyesis.

12 Going To The Washroom More Often

Whenever PMS rolls around, doing #1 a lot more is a common symptom. Having to use the facilities often also results from being pregnant. And, according to Parent's Magazine, frequent urination is a common sign of a false pregnancy as well.

Between the abdomen that is distended and hormones fluctuating all over the place can most definitely explain the frequent trips to the washroom. Therefore, if a woman is having to go to the bathroom all of the time, it can explain several situations. Either she may be pre-diabetic, or had a lot of water or soda to drink, is expecting her period, is actually pregnant, or she could be having a false pregnancy.

11 No hCG Detected

If a woman is having pregnancy symptoms and yet her tests keep coming back negative for hCG detection, which is the pregnancy hormone, then that is proof that she is having a false pregnancy, as Parent's Magazine states.

However, she would have to have blood work done to detect whether or not she has the pregnancy hormone in her body. Even though most HPT are quite accurate, in order to have a pregnancy confirmed, blood work will have had to be done in order to detect the levels of the pregnancy hormone. Not to mention, hCG in blood is detected earlier than it would be through an HPT.

Therefore, if a woman is having pregnancy symptoms for a month or more, and her blood work does not show that there is a presence of the hCG hormone, then it's a false pregnancy.

10 The Girls Are Tender

A large percentage of women that experience PMS symptoms will have tender and swollen ta-tas. The same applies when you have a positive pregnancy test. However, when it comes to them being enlarged during pregnancy, the tenderness can come and go, especially in the second trimester.

But when it comes to pseudocyesis, one of the symptoms is that feeling of tenderness, and them seeming to be larger than usual. According to Parents Magazine, the tenderness can last for a long time even once it has been established that there is no pregnancy present at all. In rare cases, however, they can leak colostrum during pseudocyesis, according to the same source. However, that is quite rare.

9 History Of Inability To Get Pregnant

If you really yearn for something, and if you have yearned for something for many years but you have not received what you have been hoping and praying for, your mind could be playing tricks on you into thinking that you had finally gotten what you wanted even if that isn't the case. 

According to Parent's Magazine, many women who have battled years of infertility have also experienced having false pregnancies. That is because they want more than anything to achieve a pregnancy, and they can actually think that any pregnancy-related symptom they have is a sign that they had finally gotten what they had wanted. Sadly, many times that just turns out to be nothing more than a false pregnancy.

8 Issues With The Ovaries

If something is physically wrong or off in a woman's body, odd symptoms can come into play. According to American Pregnancy, pregnancy-related symptoms can manifest when in fact there are ovarian tumors.

That is because when these tumors are present, it can cause the woman to think she is pregnant based on the fact that she may miss a period, have major fatigue or nausea. However, after numerous tests have been done that have indicated that there is not a pregnancy at all causing these crazy symptoms.


Your mind can play tricks on you and some of those tricks it can play on you are downright cruel. If you have been through trauma in the past, and if you are unable to handle grief, then that can be behind instances of pseudocyesis.

According to American Pregnancy, women who are facing post-traumatic stress in general, and are grieving due to a loss of a child or of any loved one–that increases their chances of having a false pregnancy. That said, if you know of a woman who has been through unimaginable situations and she believes she is pregnant, but the evidence points to that she is not, then the PTSD is behind the false pregnancy.

6 Losing The Baby In The Past

If a woman has repeatedly had failed pregnancies, then that in itself is emotionally difficult to handle. And the fact that she has been trying to get pregnant can put her at risk for experiencing a false pregnancy, according to American Pregnancy.

Now, there are plenty of women who have had a history of this sad circumstance that finally do end up with a healthy pregnancy. However, if a woman who has had many failed pregnancies in the past that is having pregnancy symptoms but there is nothing indicating that she is actually pregnant, then this is most definitely another case of a false pregnancy coming into play.

5 The Ultrasound Shows Nothing

false pregnancy ultrasound

The two first things that are done to confirm a suspected pregnancy are taking blood work to measure hCG and doing an ultrasound. That said if a woman has every pregnancy symptom in the book and yet she goes in for an ultrasound that shows nothing- then she is not pregnant.

According to American Pregnancy, in order for a false pregnancy to be assumed would be when the ultrasound not only shows up with nothing in the uterus but it would also indicate there is not an ectopic pregnancy in the picture. That would be incredibly sad to look forward to seeing your unborn baby on the ultrasound screen and then nothing ends up showing up.

4 A History Of Depression

Whenever you are dealing with a serious thing like depression, it can trick your mind into thinking that you are dealing with other physical medical conditions. According to American Pregnancy, pseudocyesis has been noted to happen among many women that have a history of depression.

Since depression is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain, it is not surprising that other unusual effects can happen within the body as a result. That being said, if a woman who has suffered from depression believes she is pregnant even though the evidence of it is not there, then she is having a false pregnancy.

3 Pregnancy Symptoms When You Haven't Been Active

I am a firm believer that miracles can indeed happen, however, they have to manifest through reality. And, if a woman does not have one-on-one time at all, then it is impossible that she could be pregnant.

However, if a woman who hasn't been with someone for a long time all of a sudden believes she is pregnant because she has pregnancy-symptoms, then that would be a clear indicator that the pregnancy is false. According to Mind Disorders, women in this particular situation would be longing to have a steady relationship and to become a mom. Therefore, it is another case where the mind would be playing some cruel tricks.

2 Pregnancy Symptoms In Postmenopausal Women

The definition of menopause is when a woman has not had a menstrual period in a year, and it usually sets in when the woman is over 50 years old. Sometimes menopause sets in earlier, especially if there is a medical condition that she has that would cause that to happen.

However, according to Mind Disorders, postmenopausal women who believe that they are pregnant may be experiencing odd hormonal fluctuations, or they could be yearning to be a mom again, or if they have lived their lives childfree, they may be regretting that decision. Therefore, it is not hard to imagine how a woman in this situation could be dealing with a false pregnancy.

1 Pregnancy Symptoms In Men

This is the strangest situation involving a false pregnancy, and that is when a man has pregnancy symptoms. Of course, we all know how Thomas Beattie became pregnant and gave birth, but that was a trans man.

According to Mind Disorders, when it comes to men who believe they are pregnant because they are facing pregnancy symptoms, then it is easy to know that this is a bizarre case of pseudocyesis.

And even though it is possible that men can have sympathy symptoms due to the fact that their wives or girlfriends are pregnant, this is not the same situation. If a man who is not going to be a dad experiences this, then many tests need to be performed to detect as to why he is having pregnancy symptoms. It may once again be due to a chemical imbalance in the brain being the cause.

Sources: Parents.com, AmericanPregnancy.org, MindDisorders.com

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