Denial of pregnancy,
(also called pregnancy denial) is a rare form of denial exhibited by women to either the fact or the implications of their own pregnancy. One study found that women who denied their pregnancy represented only 0.26% of all deliveries.
Signs and symptoms
Denial of pregnancy can be divided into three distinct types which are distinguished primarily by the severity of the denial experienced by the woman:
This type of denial is characterized by a lack of the typical maternal bonding that is felt by most women during pregnancy. Although they are aware of their pregnancy, women with this disorder continue to behave as if they were not pregnant. They do not alter their clothes or lifestyle, nor do they make any preparations for the baby's arrival.
In this form of pregnancy denial, the women suppresses all awareness of her pregnancy for extended periods of time, up to, including and even after childbirth. This psychological suppression is combined with a lack or lessening of physical symptoms of pregnancy. Women may, for example, experience little to no weight gain, or they may continue bleeding vaginally (similar to that experienced during menstruation) throughout the duration of their pregnancy.
This is a form of denial that is so extreme as to fall under the category of delusion. While physical symptoms of pregnancy do usually occur they are misinterpreted in ways that are usually considered quite bizarre. The sensation of something growing inside the woman can be interpreted as cancer, or a blood clot, and fetal movements as the woman's organs coming loose inside her body.