Pseudo- means false, un-real, a lie
Origin: Formed within English, by compounding. Etymons: pseudo- comb. formpregnancy n.1
Etymology: pseudo- comb. form + pregnancy n.1 Compare earlier pseudocyesis n.

 1. Med. A condition in which some of the symptoms or signs of pregnancy (such as amenorrhoea, nausea, and abdominal swelling) are present in a woman who is not pregnant; an instance of this. Also called false pregnancy.

Illustrative sentence using the word-
An intense desire to get pregnant can cause women’s brain to trigger certain hormones that lead to actual pregnancy symptoms and thus causes pseudopregnancy.
Earlier and most recent examples of its use-
1860   T. H. Tanner On Signs & Dis. Pregnancy i. 7   The term pseudo-pregnancy is also sometimes applied to diseases which simulate pregnancy.
1893   T. M. Madden Clin. Gynæcol. xl. 463   In cases of pseudopregnancy we frequently find all the general symptoms of pregnancy counterfeited with an exactitude that might well seem marvellous if we did not take into consideration the circumstances.
1979   Post (Frederick, Maryland19 June b11/2   A false pregnancy is also called a pseudopregnancy… A woman undergoes all the changes we customarily expect with a normal pregnancy.


1993   Acta Endocrinologica 129 Suppl. 38   The underlying mechanism of such a psychosomatic reaction, a typical example of which is pseudopregnancy, may be an extemporaneous activation of a neuroendocrine ‘maternal subroutine’ characteristic of pregnancy.

1970   W. B. Yapp Introd. Animal Physiol. (ed. 3) viii. 293   In those animals, such as mice, in which there is scarcely any pseudopregnancy, the corpora lutea develop very little and soon degenerate unless copulation occurs.

1981   J. Halliday & J. Halliday in K. Thear & A. Fraser Compl. Bk. Raising Livestock & Poultry iv. 94/2   Goats occasionally have pseudopregnancies, commonly termed as cloudbursts. The goat, either mated or unmated, will consider that she is in kid.

Gurleen Kaur, Team Venus

One thought on “Pseudopregnancy

  1. Interesting find! I can see how a woman’s mentality can influence pseudopregnancy. Especially in cases where a woman has a miscarriage or cannot have a baby, their hormones can trigger the feelings of being pregnant. Pregnancy scares can also be a factor to a woman’s psychical response to the symptoms of being pregnant. I wonder if there are any psychological studies that research how a woman’s mental health can induce or inhibit pseudopregnancy?


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